Apple’s future moves depend on forging and nurturing partnerships

“It’s sometimes easy to forget how momentous 2006 was for Apple Computer. Options backdating scandal aside, the company converted its entire Mac lineup to Intel processors with barely a hiccup, it introduced software to let users run Windows on their new Macs, and it kept sales humming for its hit iPod lineup with evolutionary, if not revolutionary, product updates,” Cliff Edwards reports for BusinessWeek.

“Apple remains king of the kill in digital music and has won a slew of converts to the Mac. But now it must step into a bout with a slew of heavyweights in the digital-home and cellular-phone markets. It’s a sure bet that the move out of its comfort zone will be hotly contested every step of the way by the likes of Sony, Microsoft, Samsung, and others,” Edwards reports. “That’s not to say Apple doesn’t have its own big guns for the battle. The Cupertino (Calif.) crew has rarely missed a beat in figuring out how to delight the consumer with easy-to-use products. It has a virtual monopoly in digital music players—helping to spawn nearly a multibillion-dollar business in accessories.”

Edwards reports, “But with the iPod, Apple helped create a new product category from one that barely existed, with few big-name competitors. As it wades further into the digital home and into cellular phones, it faces entrenched players with their own set of rabid fans.”

“The challenge becomes even more significant because for the first time in years, Apple’s continued ascendancy won’t rest solely in the hands of Steve Jobs & Co. While the company can help influence the shape of the digital home, phones, and even PCs, those areas require more finesse and a get-along attitude, something that’s not been apparent in Apple’s DNA over the years,” Edwards reports. “Success will rely on how well it can forge and maintain relations with key software, content, and retail partners.”

Full article here.


  1. “As it wades further into the digital home and into cellular phones, it faces entrenched players with their own set of rabid fans”

    Do mobile makers have ‘rabid fans’?
    Do people get RAZR tattoos?
    Do people camp out at Verizon stores to be the first to get a new family plan?

  2. Very well stated.

    The article seems to lean towards the fact that Apple may have missed a few primary factory in success. Remember the HP branded iPod? They were used to help get onto the Windows platform. Remember the iTunes enabled phone, ROKR? They’ve also been used. While neither company had any incredible success or anything other than “that” next gadget to keep their product line fresh, Apple did have plenty to gain. Business is an interesting game, specially if you don’t know you’re getting played.


  3. Typical drivel.

    > As it wades further into the digital home and into cellular phones, it faces entrenched players with their own set of rabid fans.

    How about disgruntled users looking for something better ? How about the “rabid fans” not being important in this case?

    > Competitors and analysts believe there could be a big backlash against Apple if the device, which most people expect to be dubbed iPhone, fails to deliver a good, seamless experience.

    How about if they do deliver? What’s he saying here? They’ll do good with a good product and bad with a bad product?

  4. Over the years, I have marveled at the utter stupidity of journalists and pundits who write these worthless “I think Apple should do this” and “I think Apple must do that” articles. If these twits are so smart, why are they not running a large corporation instead of living from paycheck to paycheck? If Steve Jobs simply obeyed the assertions given by the Hiawatha Brays and Rob Enderles of this world, Apple would have shut down a long time ago.

    Articles like these are the evidence of little minds striving for mediocrity. Why they aren’t snuffed out is proof that the art of copy editing died a horrible death years ago.

    Turning to Enderle, I find it fascinating that he even gets quoted. He’s a reject from Gartner, and a fourth tier analyst, who likely subsists solely on handouts from PR firms working for a certain software company based in the Seattle area to kick up dust. He’s ONLY TOO available to be quoted by the media – really good analysts don’t have time to waste on things like that.

    There is news and there is noise. Sadly, 98 percent of what we read falls in the latter category.

  5. If apple comes out as a MNVO (I think that is the acronym) or sells iPhone handsets unlocked in the retail market, they don’t even have to play nice with others to succeed. Me personally, I think Steve will sell the iPhone unlocked and carrier unspecific. That would a true Jobsonian move and really shake the market landscape up.

  6. There is nothing to recommend the products of Apple’s entrenched competitors…they are all engaged in incremental obsolescentism and have no vision.

    Apple has not even begun to develop new and nifty products. Just send them a good idea for free and you will get a response from their legalperps that they don’t take input. For example, a portable that has a screen the size of a video iPod, or even better, connects to an ipod screen, and which has a projector so as to put Keynote on the wall so that a presenter need not take both a computer and a projector along on the plane. Or a teevee with an ipod built in and integrated with Apple’s software, not just a little box sitting alongside, as if there aren’t already too many little boxes doing this and that. None of this will happen since Apple has got its mind made up already…it can’t focus on too many things at once, and if it were to adopt a cooperative strategy with other (loser) companies it would be even less focused and less successful.

    Less is more.

  7. ”a get-along attitude, something that’s not been apparent in Apple’s DNA over the years”????!!!!

    I think Apple computers are the only computers that realy “get-along”, atleast with other computers (and most people)

  8. >I think Steve will sell the iPhone
    >unlocked and carrier unspecific.
    >That would a true Jobsonian
    >move and really shake the >market landscape up.

    Yup….This is how you change the paradigm. I only buy unlocked phones, and I think Apple sells a gazillion of them tomorrow if you can pop in your SIM card and then pop in your music. Slam dunk. Tie it to something like a carrier (who people HATE) or .Mac (who a lot of people can’t see the value in – sorry Apple), and then your brand name gets tied to the negatives of the provider. And can you see the first day these things ship and the whole world goes into their Cingular store to talk to Zippy behind the desk…

    Sometime in the near future..

    “I don’t know how to get my phone to sync with my computer.”

    “What kind of computer do you have, sir?”

    “Oh, it’s a Mac….that’s why I got the iPhone.”

    “Sorry, sir…our phones don’t work with Macs.”

    “But….it’s an Apple phone!”

    “Well, there is a workaround….go to the START menu…”

    You get the point…. I promise you I know more about their phones than the Cingular sales people do, and Apple expects the people who sell their products to be experts. They have never liked relying on others to sell or support any part of the widget (recall Best Buy, Office Depot, Power Computing, etc., etc.)

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