Among other things, Steve Cheney had this to say about Apple iPhone business and market share:
Q: What’s your take on how they’re handling their expansion into China, India, and other emerging markets? Their recent 5C pricing decision seemed to be a commitment to the high-end of the market while leaving the low to mid end of the market to Android which you discussed recently in an August post.
A: My take is different than some people’s. The size of the mobile market is absolutely astonishing. It’s much bigger than personal computing ever was. Why is everyone so caught up on Apple needing to take a majority of worldwide share in order to be successful? Can’t they just accept that international fragmentation in other industries is the norm and that mobile and PCs have little in common?
Take cars. If you go to France you’ll see French people drive Renaults and Peugeots. Sometimes when you look around that’s all you can see. Somebody might say but wait, they have partnerships with Nissan and there’s ownership elsewhere like Daimler. Fine. But you see it across industries. Take fashion. If you go to Italy and walk around you’ll see Italian women wearing Gucci and Prada. But just across the way in France you just won’t see that. They’re wearing Louis Vitton and French brands, and they don’t want to be seen with an Italian brand.
Smartphones are an extension of us. Apple gets that at its core. They weren’t successful with colored iPods and iMacs randomly. People are unique and like to stylize how they act and what they wear. And I think you are starting to really see that in the smartphone market. Not in the way Nokia did a decade ago with 200 different phones, but a couple core platforms that can be extended and made to feel unique. Apple may never be successful in India. But does that mean smartphones are evolving like PCs and that Android is going to take over? Couldn’t be further from the truth.
The reason is because the PC market was a monopoly worldwide. You sat in front of a desk and put an ugly box underneath and tried to hide it. Two companies controlled the entire market and there was no choice in the industry. Smartphones have few parallels to PCs. People that keep talking about smartphones evolving like PCs are just so clueless. The supply chain is fragmented even for the most expensive components like baseband chips and processors. The software is free, and money is made on selling “experiences”, which are really integrated platforms running apps and services.
I’m more interested in part of what Steve Cheney said above is this – People are unique and like to stylize how they act and what they wear. And I think you are starting to really see that in the smartphone market.
I think he’s spot on with this analysis. And you can see Apple is clearly aware of this trend based on the following reports:
- Apple hired the CEO of Paris-based luxury fashion house Yves Saint Laurent to be vice president of special projects. Paul Deneve, who has been CEO of Yves Saint Laurent since April 2011, will report directly to Apple CEO Tim Cook.
- Apple® and Burberry today announced that iPhone® 5s is being used to capture and share beautiful photos and video before, during and after the Burberry runway show in London on Monday, September 16.
- Ballmer also took the opportunity to take a swipe at Apple and a couple of other competitors that have largely stolen Microsoft’s thunder in the new age of computing. Apple, Ballmer said, is about being “fashionable,” while Amazon is about being “cheap,” and Google is about “knowing more.” Microsoft, Ballmer said, is about “doing more.”
- Bringing together China and gold is a recipe for success. A recent decline in the price of the yellow metal has revealed immense pent-up demand for shiny trinkets in Asia. The volume of gold jewelry sold in Hong Kong was up 66 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2013