Why doesn’t anybody copy Apple?

“Apple’s products are the envy of the world. They have been spectacularly successful and are widely imitated, if not copied,” Horace Dediu writes for Asymco. “The expectation that precedes a new Apple product launch is only matched by the expectation of the replication of those products by competitors.”

Dediu writes, “This cycle of product mimicry was succinctly summarized by Marc Andreessen regarding a rumored Apple TV product: ‘And once the television launches, everyone will scramble to copy it. ”There’s a pattern in our industry, Apple crystallizes the product, and the minute Apple crystallizes it, then everyone knows how to compete.'”

Dediu writes, “This idea that the basis of competition is set by Apple and then the race is on to climb the trajectory of improvement is so well understood that it’s axiomatic: “It’s just the way things are.” Apple releases a product that defines a category or disrupts an industry and it becomes obvious what needs to be built. But what I wonder is why there isn’t a desire to copy Apple’s product creation process. Why isn’t the catalyst for a new category or disruption put forward by another company? More precisely, why isn’t there another company which consistently re-defines categories and repeatedly, predictably even, re-defines how technology is used. Put another way: Why is it that everyone wants to copy Apple’s products but nobody wants to copy being Apple?”

Much more – highly recommended – in the full article here.

27 Comments

    1. Having a vision, a strategy, a talent for innovation, and skill for execution, and stop thinking that the most important things are profits and market share.

      What company understands and has got those treats? Not many.

  1. I agree with alanaudio. It is much easier to copy that innovate. I also think it has to do with the software and hardware being made by the same company. Apple has very elegant software to go with very elegant hardware. Google has a second rate software platform being whored out to second rate hardware. You have the same thing on the PC side. How elegant can Dell hardware be when it is running Windows. Apple’s notebook trackpads and Magic Trackpad are unparalleled in the industry because OS X is built around their use. It is very hard for me to use a mouse now that I have a Magic Trackpad. If Dell would take a Linux distribution and build something on top of it, they could be more innovative and maybe they wouldn’t be in the shape they are in now. Same thing goes for HP. I have said on here before, that they should have treasured WebOS as the gem it was and done something meaningful with it. Google now has a golden opportunity to take the Motorola hardware and turn Android into something beautiful. Time will tell if they do that.

  2. I think it’s because Apple is run by people who design, use, and enjoy tech products, whereas, other companies are run by accountants. And this problem extends well beyond tech companies.

  3. To: Samsung, Google, Microsoft,

    Copying isn’t innovating. Figuring sneaky ways to copy is also not the same as innovating. You are big companies, be like the big company and make something that is equally as big. Apple is relatively a small company that is kicking your asses because you are too dumb or arrogant to think for yourself. Also, know that Apple isn’t competing directly against you. They are creating their own market with their own inventions. They aren’t the company that looks to compete with similar looking products. You create the copies and then compete against Apple. It is good to have diversity instead of everything looking like an Apple copy. That’s why Ferraris don’t look like Porches and why Jaguars don’t look like Chryslers. If they did, it would be one messed up auto industry.

  4. How much would it cost to be another Apple inc.?
    Does any company out there have the money to spend to be an Apple inc.?
    If they have, and do spend their money to be another Apple inc., who will buy their products?
    Will they sell enough products to justify the title of being another Apple inc.?
    Will they be able to price their products competitively to compete with Apple inc.?
    The point I hazard to make, is that the thought of how much money it would take to take on Apple’s monopsony is very appalling to any sane business proprietor.

    1. Yet, Apple did it. Replace ‘sane’ with ‘lazy’ and I agree with you. The Achilles heel of Capitalism is a failing patent system; it allows the cheat to steal the reward of research and development by copying without compensation to the inventor (company or person).

      Competition has withered to a ‘race to the bottom’; the cheapest price at the minimum level of quality — or in Microsoft’s case, a shabby but high price product (Office) protected by predatory business practice.

      The strength and intention of the patent system has to be restored so that the small innovator can be assured that that they are rewarded in revenue by the (usually bigger) adopters of their ideas. That would benefit everyone.

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