The Apple and the Hare

written by Steve Barker

Apple vs Samsung! Microsoft buys Nokia! The tech press and blogosphere has had a great time blaming, praising, and falling all over itself to report the race called the “smartphone wars”. The fun part has been watching the tech companies jockey for position in this arena. And the most interesting one to watch has been Apple.

 

Well actually Apple has been the least fun one to watch. They started the war, so to speak, but as each of the challengers have grabbed market share or telecom partnerships and gotten massive press, Apple has remained steady and composed. As the style leader (and profit leader) Apple stayed the course. They knew their customer and their steady position. As the competitors fought for position near the bottom and grabbed share with a commodity position, Apple stayed steady.

 

Watching this in the blogs over the last few years, you saw Apple go from the darling of all tech companies, the best company EVER, to the last place chump, unable to innovate it’s way out of a paper bag. Samsung seemingly surged ahead and the press was dazzled. Samsung was the new heir-apparent.

 

How did Apple respond to this? They didn’t. (With the exception of good ol’ Phil Schiller) They kept on doing what they do. Their responses were careful and measured. They stayed within the style and manner of their well-established brand strategy. They knew their market and kept on producing products their market wanted and tailored their marketing to them. There was no panic with a sudden bevy of cheap products to shore up market share and cheapen their image. So in China, when the market was flooded with commodity phones, the companies like Samsung with less established brand loyalty lost share. Dramatically. Apple, on the other hand gained share.

 

So the moral is clear. Slow and steady wi. . . OK, that doesn’t really work here, but the point is that knowing your brand and sticking to it works.  Who knows how these companies will react to future shifts. They could both go the way of Blackberry and all but disappear. No matter who is running, the race will continue. But in the meantime it is sure fun to watch. Go A-Team!