The other day Michael Gartenberg, one of my all time favorite people who I’ve yet to meet, and I were having an exchange on twitter about an article he wrote for Engadget regarding the iPhone’s ability to be both a tool for work and play leading to it’s success. Our exchange, eventually lead to my asking Michael “If Motorola came out with the iPhone, would it be as well loved?” Michael’s response was, “if they did the same job as apple with hardware and software. Of course.” This got me thinking. It got my brain working overdrive. Here’s what I think.
- Apple love and fan-boyism catapulted them forward. They provided the loyal fan base that would have bough the iPhone if it were priced at $1,000.
- Their massively large built-in audience of iTunes users made the iPhone a logical, if not the only, choice for people who wanted to sync their media library with their phone. Keep in mind iTunes as 69% of the digital music market in the United States and 25% of all music sales. As we’ve seen with the back and forth between Palm and Apple, the folks at Apple are not going to allow other devices to sync with iTunes. Essentially, if you manage your music and media with iTunes, the iPhone was the ONLY option. That’s huge.
- There have been lots of example of companies offering a more superior product than Apple, but Apple still winning the war at retail. There’s certainly a lot of factors that influence the cash register ringing, but it can’t be denied that products like the Zune offer more features at a cheaper cost, yet still gets crushed by Apple’s products. Why? First mover advantage is certainly 1 big reason. But, consider, Creative Labs had many other MP3 players on the market before the iPod, yet Apple still dominated. I tend to think the reason the Zune has failed is the brand perception of Microsoft. If Microsoft had opted not to brand the Zune, the Microsoft Zune, and instead simply branded it as “Zune,” would there have been a big difference in sales? I think so, but still not to the level of the iPod.
- Let’s look at the Droid. It’s an amazing product. But, people weren’t lining up in mass to buy it, like they were for the iPhone. Let’s call the Droid a product on parity with the iPhone (I actually think it’s a better device) for arguments sake. If that’s really the case, why didn’t it soar to success? What if the Droid, was the Apple iPhone Droid? My guess is, it would have sold like hot cakes. In short, it’s the Apple name that matters, not the product.
Apple, isn’t perfect. Apple, in many ways is more flawed than Microsoft and other large companies. But, Apple has passionate followers (bullet point #1) that continue to offer a baked-in audience ready to create a Groundswell of support for any Apple product. It’s that reason why I think if Motorola had created the iPhone, it would have flopped.
What do you think?