We all wrote about the Apple iOS and Google Android warfare that is brooding in the tablet world. We all wrote how Apple is losing market share to Android. Yet, we also acknowledge how difficult it would be for any company to dislodge Apple from the top seat of coolness and class. Apple products are legendary and they do great stuffs.
But as we look at iCould from Apple, it is obvious that another war has started. Apple has taken an idea that existed for ages and just polished it and made it better. That is the Apple way of doing things. And they seemed to have nailed this. They put a lot of emphasis on the customer interface and Apple is way ahead of the curve.
Tekedia thinks that within 8 months, many will think that Apple is a pioneer in this iCloud category of business. The tech ecosystem business is very competitive. Dell, HP, and Intel, besides the usual Amazon are all competing for the soul of cloud. Intel wants to lock customers to the x86 architecture and the cloud is a good way of doing that.
But why should a hardware company like Apple even compete with a software/online company like Google? Google is expected to own this turf, but Apple is certainly amorphous. You do not know what shape it has. It comes online it will rule just as it has ruled over the hardware world.
This business is going to be about user interface and anyone that figures that out will win. The likes of HP and Dell will go for scale while Apple will look for the cool simple and ergonomically redesigned user feel that separates it from others. That is what will win this game for them, as always.
Apple is coming up with incremental innovation. They have done it right now in the cloud through the iCloud. They have redesigned the MobileMe and lumped it within the iCloud. The iTunes Match is an unbelievably understanding of the customer needs. It helps automate the process through which users can get all their music from any service in one place. This has value because no one wants to have that music scattered all over the place.
As our Founder wrote in Harvard Business Review on why Apple wins by focusing on customer perception, we are seeing how Apple model is going beyond the expectation of customers to meeting what they are not even imagining. He described as meeting the Perception – giving you what you did not even know you needed! Who knew about iPod before you saw one? Apple is razor focused on customer and that user interface is legendary. It takes customer very seriously.
While expectation can help you stay in the game, top firms meet the perception of customers. Perception is the king of business. Unfortunately, few firms get to that level. Perception is providing to customers what they never expected or imagined they needed. But the day they see the product or service, they will embrace it en mass.
Apple plays at this level. Did you think you “needed” an iPad before you saw one? Apple provides products that exceed expectation; customers rarely ask for them. They just arrived and we all embraced them. Why did Verizon reject the iPhone? There was nothing to benchmark iPhone with. Products that create a new category do not need focus groups or surveys during development because those insights make no sense. Unless the product is ready, many customers cannot imagine it.
But we need to say that Apple has lost one big game though it is still making a comeback. The Mac vs. Windows war was won by Microsoft. Though Apple controls all the design side of its business – it makes it software and hardware, finding how to win in the desktop market remains tough. It is scratching market share, but it is not a winner there. It competitors focus on one area and partners for other areas. Microsoft is a software company and depends on Dell, HP, Intel, etc to get the PC running.
So, now the iCloud has opened another battle ground, we cannot give it to Apple by default. We will have to wait to see how this plays out to know the winner. But from the business model of Apple where it looks at premium for its hardware, the business of the web does not have that structure. To store your music in cloud, all you care is the best in cost. Why will it not be free to start with? So Google that users armies of open developers could offer a better cost advantage than Apple that creates all internally. But we have to see who wins this thing.