A Quick Response to a Particularly Dumb Analysis on Apple

Ok, I admit it. No I proclaim it. I love Apple products. Tell me you enjoy putting in a calendar entry. I do on my iPhone. And I love my Mac OS and yes I hate using your PC. But that's not to say that Apple is above reproach. The search warrant and seizing of property was more than a bit much. It was a douche move. Apple is leveraging it's dominance in the ecosystem to eek out considerable revenues. It's pushing out 3rd parties from intermediating themselves (Flash dev tools as an example), although I generally agree with controlling the quality of your distribution channel. It's a monopolistic threat and I worry that they may push too far. But so far, the products are great, and one of the key reasons is control. I think early markets should be controlled before they are opened up. Starting off as the wild, wild west can be problematic. But I digress.

My friend, Janet, sent me this article because I am an Apple enthusiast. She thought of me.


Top 10 Apple marketing mistakes, but man this guy is way off. Apple surely made mistakes. Pricing low in an emerging market in early PC days was one. But it is also why even though Apple has well under 10% market share, it has 80% margin share. Hard to argue on that one. But overall, his biggest analytical mistakes are in this writer's top 5.

#5 Sleeping With Microsoft - This guy is dead wrong. I would not have a mac if I could not run Word and Excel. Period. A laptop needs to meet a generalist purpose. A lot of startups I know run on Apple. None would without Office. Google Apps is only beginning to provide an alternative.

#4 Treating Journalists Like Cockroaches - Dead wrong again. Yes there is some journalist bitching, mostly from the recent search warrant. Before that, it was journalists bitching, but not in the consumer eye which matters. Overall, Apple has a mystery that makes it much more interesting and widely talked about than competitors. Did you know Microsoft is about to release a new mobile phone? Nope. Because no one cares. Apple's new iPhone in June? Bet you know the whole story. Mystery, exclusivity add to the brand value. I'm not supporting the search warrant, that was a douche move. But secrecy breeds intrigue. Even journalists who get the good scoop. Just ask Gizmodo.

#3 Pretending Their the Underdog - Man this guy is getting dumber with each of these. Mac's share in the PC market is under 10%. Ummm ... that's underdog in the PC business. Comparing it's overall valuation that's based on iPod and iPhone business is stupid. It's like saying Microsoft is pissed because it's marketing itself as #20 keyboard manufacturer even though it has a multi-billion dollar market cap. Different business. Apple has to challenge the "Why status quo?" Check out the market share trend since these commercials launched. Check out the improvement in brand identity. Check out customer loyalty. I'm Apple. I'm different than the mainstream people who just take what they're given.

#2 Censoring the iPhone - What you don't get is that there is a value at controlling the quality and identity of your marketplace. If iPhones and iPads are kid friendly, which device is going to be a kid's first device (hint: they will use the parent's credit card). Gaming and education will be huge on these platforms. The porn stand limits short term revenue in favor of long term penetration. Yes, I said penetration when referring to porn.

#1 AT&T Exclusivity Agreement - Ok. That's it. This guy just reached my idiot of the week status. Apple just turned the entire mobile industry eco-system upside down. Walled gardens. Control of deck. Using the mobile carrier infrastructure. If Apple didn't grant exclusivity, they would have no grounds to make demands. Their amazing product is the sole reason for AT&T's increase in market share (look at the stats). They used their superior product to negotiate a superior business model that now every carrier has to adopt to play with the most popular consumer device. They couldn't have done this without exclusivity. What's that? A billion apps sold? An iPad platform for next generation tablets where they control media and software distribution? Treating the carriers like a pipe. Apple got everything for a couple years of exclusivity. In one market.

There are many reasons to be wary of Apple flexing it's muscles and stifling innovation. Right now though, they are the most innovative company in mobile.

Facebook Takes Over My iPhone

Not surprisingly, Facebook has taken over my iPhone. Not the apps, but the phone itself, and it's about time. Facebook is where we are social. It's where our friends are. It's a contact list that updates itself. It fills out profile information with substantive info. So as the dynamic system of record of my social contacts, why hasn't it merged with my traditional contact list before?

Well, not all my contacts are on Facebook, so the approach they took is simple, just Facebook enhance the contacts they recognize. Now Facebook is in my iPhone contact list and can add all that data when I pull up their contact info. I now know not to suggest steak for dinner because I see from your status you had a ribeye at lunch. Combine that with FourSquare data and I might know roughly where you are. Give me Google Lattitude Access and I will know exactly where you are.

The point is that there are so many services that provide info about your friends and what they have done. Facebook is the defacto standard. By extending their reach into my contact list, they strengthen that position and make it easier for all of the smaller apps to get to the contact list, just integrate into Facebook you see.

It's a major move that hasn't received enough attention in my humble opinion. Now of course, Facebook is abusing this permission and sending me a constant stream of notifications that I am going to turn off. But they just staked out some significant territory and I am better for it (barring some serious privacy concerns, of course).