With the market power that comes with success, can Apple keep its friends?
by Idris Mootee
When a company acquires significant market power and becomes super successful, it will have fewer friends. It is more so in software and hardware business as they try to push each other around to get certain standard or platform adopted. Apple used to have many friends and little enemies, Microsoft being the bug common enemy for them and alliances. But the wheel has turned; Apple is now a threat for many, from Adobe to Nokia.
The battle between Apple and Adobe Systems over Flash is a typical example. And Apple will act more like Sony from now on. They are launching a technology called Gianduia, introduced last summer at its World of WebObjects Developer Conference, “a client-side, standards-based framework for rich Internet apps.” The use of a standards-based technology makes sense for Apple, considering its position on Flash.
And Nokia is trying to fiercely fight back to win back the smartphone market loss to iPhone. They’ve just unveiled details of its first phone with new Symbian 3 software designed to challenge the iPhone and Blackberry at the high-end of the market. Called the N8, it’s Nokia’s first phone using a rewritten software platform designed to improve usability. The top model will have a 12-megapixel camera and 3.5-inch touch screen. Do I need a 12-megapixel came phone?
Nokia is eyeing the touch screen iPad market/tablet market. An IPad “killer” is scheduled to launch this year. It’s likely that we’ll be seeing the touch-based Meego platform powering the Nokia. And even with Google, tensions started to emerge in early 2007 when Google announced plans to develop Android for mobile phones. Apple had unveiled its iPhone in January of that year, and it was clear that the two companies would spar in the smartphone business.
Even Satoru Iwata (president of Nintendo) has dismissed that Sony as its competitor and labeled Apple as the “enemy of the future”. Yes, successful companies have few friends.
Idris Mootee is the CEO of idea couture, a strategic innovation and experience design firm. He is the author of four books, tens of published articles, and a frequent speaker at business conferences and executive retreats.