Three years on, Apple’s iPhone ‘competition’ still struggling to figure out what hit them

“Apple produces game-changing devices, and competition that can’t keep up will go the way of the dinosaurs,” Bob Faulkner writes for Minyanville. “Yesterday, we had the all too frequent admission by Nokia that the world has changed and they haven’t. But it hasn’t just changed for Nokia. On the contrary, every manufacturer of cellular handsets is now looking for relevance in a brave new world.”

“Most, like Motorola, Sony-Ericsson, Samsung and LG, have opted for some sort of Android-based strategy,” Faulkner writes. “Still others like Research in Motion are back at the drawing board hoping to develop a new device that will generate more sales than yawns… With the iPhone opening the doors to corporate networks, RIM is scrambling. Let’s say for the sake of argument that Research in Motion comes out with a fabulous new family of devices. They’d still likely be number-three in the battle for mindshare among consumers and software developers.”

“My gut feel [when Apple unvield the iPhone in 2007] was that it was a game-changer, and now a full three years later, its ‘competition’ is still struggling to figure out what hit them” Faulkner writes. “There’s an old saying in the technology industry that if you don’t eat your own children someone else will. In this case, someone else did because of the inability of the entrenched competitors to take risks and innovate. Their management preferred to make minor changes around the periphery and milk their cash flows. But when real change arrived, they were the proverbial deer in the headlights.”

Faulkner writes, “There once was a huge industry for companies like DEC, Data General, Apollo, Prime and Wang. They were the hot growth stocks of their time but they disappeared very quickly, just like the dinosaurs. Nokia, Research in Motion, Motorola, and others are the minicomputer companies of the current era. They just don’t know it yet — nor do their investors.”

Full article – recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: Ah, so it’s nice when the truth cuts through the FUD.

One thing is for sure: If the iPhone rumours do turn out to be true, it will crank up the heat even further in what is already a hotly competitive market, and companies like Nokia, Palm, Motorola, and Research In Motion could really start to sweat.Mathew Ingram, The Globe and Mail, December 07, 2006

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dow C.” for the heads up.]


  1. In theory only M$ has the “tools” to compete with Apple. The software, the problem here nobody has software + hardware combined. Of course Apple doesn’t offer yet a big variety of phones and the diversity of the world requires many choices.

    In order to compete with Apple you need Xcode, you need to offer developers an environment in which you can grow. The iPhone is more than a phone, it’s a walkman, a phone, a wii, a GPS and much more. Which phone maker had the idea to add an accelerometer, a compass, a GPS and now a gyroscope.

    iPhone hardware is way ahead of its league and the iOS 4 has no competition getting close. Google has no hardware expertise, they can’t rival Apple. Microsoft is the only one, and we saw with Zune how far behind their vision is. They only can copy and when they finally reach a close position, or what they think is close the puck is already somewhere else.

    I don’t see any competition coming close to Apple within the next 10 years. It’s the time it will take to build up a serious competitor to iOS.

    Probably Apple is already working on it… who else has the vision…and the cash.

  2. They are still looking at what hit them already and can’t see what is again coming up to pound them into the ground of antiquity. What do these idiots thing Apple is going to be doing with a BILLION DOLLAR CLOUD COMPUTING SERVER FARM that they finished up this year?

    Idiot speed bumps on the IT road to the future!

  3. The question is how does Apple maintain the edge and not become a DEC, Data General, Apollo, Prime and Wang or for that matter a MS? SJ, as we know, is a special individual. Can anyone think of another person like him? Or is the culture of innovation now so intrenched at Apple that SJ isn’t really required? Only history will tell the real story but meanwhile I am loving all of this!

  4. Rules of the game had changed. It is not hardware issue any more; it is a software war. It is either they have not figure that out yet, or basically can’t change their business model as it is rooted deep down in their thoughts and beliefs.
    To compete they have to completelly shift their business model.

  5. Googoid is the only true threat to Apple with their desperate move into the mobile space.

    Sad to see the new M$ version of we can do too, any crap version will do.

    Curtesy of Mr. Smithers the dark ages will continue.

  6. loloontheair, Apple has the software + hardware + the innovative people. Steve Jobs make sure to thank the engineers, programer, design team, … during his KeyNote speeches. It starts with the right people who build the foundation of everything else.

  7. RIM only got popular because Palm destroyed itself in the enterprise space.

    BSD/OS X is the foundation. Married to state of the art hardware design and extreme testing from one Mr. Jobs blurs the boundaries between APIs, metal and glass, and the final user experience are hard to duplicate.

    DEC is replaced by Apples new BILLION DOLLAR SERVER FARM.

  8. It’s the Software – Stupid

    It’s the Hardware -Stupid
    It’s the iPhone -Stupid
    It’s the iPad -Stupid
    It’s the Integration-Stupid

    It’s the Software – Stupid

  9. @ breeze, that’s exactly their problem. It’s not even a “phone” market anymore, it’s now a “mobile device” category. Apple has changed the very definition of the market they’re all playing in.

    Even if they could launch a decent “phone” competitor (like Android, or perhaps the upcoming Windows Phone 7), this not about the phone anymore.

    When the Zune came out, Apple was way past the MP3 market (“classic” iPods are now just a nice side-business).

  10. Innovation is born of struggle and strife.

    Apple takes its cues from a vast technological industry. Their six-o’clock perspective affords cherry picking those products with the most promise.

    However, once you have changed the industry to the point where everyone is following or copying
    you, who do you take your cues from?

    In other words, if all the players on the ice are wearing the same uniform, because everyone wanted to play for the same team, and no one would dare challenge them, competition is dead, at which time Apple becomes something like the Harlem Globetrotters, entertaining us with transformations of their greatest hits.

    Apple will be putting their greatest hits into every techno product out there, much in the same way we find cranberries encroaching into all our foodstuffs.

    The day that happens, people will begin to dream of a world without Apple, because it would be a refreshing change of pace.

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