If time is money, then a brand is big money. Apple works in many ways to protect the brand and keep customers in the highly valued ecosystem. Look at how sticky it is to be an Apple customer.
How many iPhones, iPads, Macs, or Watch or AirPods does Apple sell every year? Only Apple knows. Any other numbers you read are guesstimates. One recent guesstimate says that Apple and Samsung make up more than 90-percent of all smartphone sales to major cellphone companies in the good old U.S. of A.
That sounds about right, right? Samsung may sell a few more but thanks to high prices Apple makes the most money. What other company’s sell smartphones?
Again, according to the guesstimates on a per-cellphone company basis, Google Pixel came it at #3. At about 2-percent of all sales. Somebody at Google needs to ask why they’re in the hardware business.
It must be pride. It ain’t money.
The problem that hardware makers face these days is obvious. The war is over but the battles continue. It should be the other way around. Everyone who doesn’t want an iPhone already has something else. Everyone who wants something else already has an iPhone because Android devices are shockingly similar.
The war is over. The brands have won. Apple and Samsung are the big winners, each battling here and there, but there will no longer be many prisoners of war that switch from one side to the other because the war is over.
Over? Yes, as in finished, ended, history.
Each brand has a platform embedded with little elements of stickiness which makes it difficult for average customers to switch sides; to leave the home team and bat for the out-of-towners (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Look at the stickiness that each hardware maker breeds into their gadgets.
iPhone has apps and Messages and iCloud and Photos and Calendar and Contacts and Notes and Reminders– all of which work across each major product in the Apple ecosystem. Moving off Apple to go anywhere else is a significant undertaking– for the average customer. The same holds true for Google apps on Android devices, Windows apps on PCs.
Yes, geeks do it. Tech writers, too. I’m sufficiently techno-literate that I could probably do it, too, but it isn’t worth the effort– that’s likely the conclusion most of us would come to.
Brands are designed to keep customers locked into an ecosystem. Apple’s, obviously, is less fluid and mobile than Google. You can avoid Apple’s ecosystem almost entirely by just using Google’s apps. Or, you can use both, but Google’s just makes it easier for an iPhone user to move to an Android device (and back again).
What I find interesting about all these competing brands is how different they are. Samsung and Apple are similar in that both are hardware manufacturers. They are different in that Apple designs, builds, and maintains the software side, while most of what Samsung uses comes from Google.
Google, as a cellphone, tablet, or Chromebook maker, is much like Apple– controls both hardware and software– but instead relies on third-party components from CPU to display to battery and everything in-between. Generally speaking, PC makers don’t do smartphones, and most smartphone makers don’t do PCs. Apple does both. Samsung does both. Google does both, but is minimalist by comparison.
Then, look at all the hardware accessories that Apple makes for its own products and not for Samsung, Google, et al. Every one of these techno-gadget makers does business differently, but they use the same processes. Build a platform, promote the brand, capture customers to the platform with stickiness for the brand, make it difficult for customers to leave the platform.