This is how it is:
And this is why it is like that:
Alan Deutschman, Reynolds professor of business journalism at University of Nevada-Reno and author of “The Second Coming of Steve Jobs” — the definitive unauthorized biography of the Apple CEO — notes that from his early twenties on, Jobs had a fascination with Sony that bordered on obsession.
“It was very nearly fetishistic, in fact — he even had a collection of Sony letterhead and marketing materials,” laughs Deutschman.
Boldfaced emphasis added by me.
“Deutschman laughs.” But what has he done other than write a book about someone he could never be?
How many people laughed at Steve Jobs? Probably not to his face, probably not with outright malice, but with a sense of “That poor guy won’t go far”?
There was Jobs. A college drop-out. No degree. Exactly the kind of person — and personality — the Suit World spurns.
In short, just like this guy, who is given the Suit Treatment here:
And yet who was the needy one in that relationship? The Suit: the King! The therapist had his business going before the King showed up and would have continued just swell had they never met. Again: Who was the needy one?
Hewlett-Packard once had the chance to own what became the Apple computer. They turned it down.
Now HP must compete against what they in effect created — just as Western Union had to compete against Alexander Graham Bell, just as IBM has to compete against former employee Larry Ellison and Oracle.
The biggest mistake is not seeing that despite your power, your company is actually the needy one.
IBM for one amazing moment understood that. When they visited the offices of Digital Research and a small outfit called Microsoft looking for an operating system for their computer.
More of why Apple is winning:
By way of example, Deutschman tells the story of how Sony entered the color TV marketplace, noting that in the Sixties, when color TV was going from 3% to 25% of the market, Sony was one of the few electronics companies that didn’t sell a color model. “People were telling Ibuka, ‘You have to come in to this market, everyone will take your market share,'” says Deutschman. “And Ibuka refused, saying, ‘No, we will only do great products. We will only do high quality goods. We will only do breakthrough technology.‘”
As a result, the company found itself in a precarious financial situation, losing out to its primary rivals — until it came upon the aperture-grille technology that Sony unveiled in 1966 as the core of the Trinitron TV. A full 25% brighter than its rivals, Trinitron became the best-selling color TV for the next quarter century.
“At the time, Sony was committed to not releasing a crappy product just because the market was there; they waited until they had a truly revolutionary innovation, combined it with great design and then profited from it for long, long time,” says Deutschman.
Boldfaced emphasis added by me.
That highlights the weak spots of both Android and HP.
Android is just a component within the larger Master Plan of Google. And as we’ve seen with Wave and other Google initiatives, there is no one in charge of everything. So things remain half-assed, constantly in beta, and contain inconsistencies across the board. Like a jigsaw puzzle left on a table, unfinished and neglected and with pieces that don’t even fit the damn puzzle!
There is not one chance in hell that any company using Android is going to threaten Apple. None. All of those companies are dependent upon Google to put in pieces their own — the licensees’ — clients ask for. Google will never, ever move as fast as those individual companies could if they owned the OS. Google doesn’t have to move fast to satisfy the customers of others. Why should they? So any licensee that introduces its own APIs to patch what Google left out will only further fracture the platform.
As for HP, it might be in an even worse position than Google with Android. HP spent over a billion dollars to acquire Palm. Don’t you think everyone in that company is now feeling the pressure pressure pressure to make that investment pay off? And not just pay off — but most likely pay off as quickly as possible? It would be the absolute wrong thing for HP to do, to succumb to that money pressure. But HP also answers to Wall Street, probably moreso than Apple with its sky-high stock does — does HP have the guts to take hits to its stock for the long term?
After seeing the stiff animatronic performances of both Bradley and Rubinstein, my confidence in their ability to deliver something amazing has been tempered. Bradley is Mr. Suit and Rubinstein thinks he’s not Suit, but he is. Someone has to have the grand overview of webOS. Someone has to have the final say in making sure it constantly improves — not only with me-too things to accommodate the external market, but creations birthed inside HP that will create new markets and get customers excited. Who is that person? Bueller? Bueller?
So, Apple seems unstoppable, no?
Look at Sony. Look at Microsoft. Two behemoths that once encompassed the world and that made everyone stare in awe and fear.
Today they are both just about pathetic jokes.
Microsoft is showing glimmers of waking up, seeing the potential of its Kinect device and the excitement it’s managed to generate.
Sony? Sony just might be a lost cause. It’s determined to sue into bankruptcy anyone who hacks its game console.
So, yes, it’s entirely possible for Apple to fall and fail.
My own opinion is that a crack in Apple’s invincibility has already appeared. Despite the bleatings of too many people, the 30% vig Apple is demanding for in-app purchases is just wrong, period. It ignores the needs of all of Apple’s partners — and yes, even those who compete are partners — and reeks of smug and self-defeating ego. It’s not the kind of stance anyone ever expected from Apple. It’s the kind of move a tinhorn dictator would pull. It is, in short, what we’d expect from a Suit.
Apple suddenly takes on the position of someone powerful, not understanding it’s actually the needy one in relation to its developers, its partners, and especially to outside publishers.
Every large company has repeatedly shown it’s never, ever a good idea to underestimate how fast a market can turn on you.
Borders had three years to save itself. And wasted that time.
What could happen to Apple in three years if it continues with its 30% vig greed grab?
I think this is a lesson Apple has forgotten:
Apple used to understand that. Jobs himself explained that’s how the original Macintosh wound up with typefaces! He made those connections no one else did.
No company stands alone today.
No company can afford to.
Not even Apple.
Everything is connected now.