in Considerations, Mobile Phones

Is Apple The New SPECTRE In Technology?

Do you remember SPECTRE in those James Bond movies and novels?

SPECTRE stands for SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion.

Have a look at the Wikipedia article about SPECTRE:

It should be noted that the goal of world domination was only ever stated in You Only Live Twice..

and more

Organizational discipline is notoriously draconian with the penalty for disobedience or failure being death. As quoted by Blofeld on several occasions: “This organization does not tolerate failure”. Furthermore, to heighten the impact of the executions, Blofeld often chooses to focus attention on an innocent member, making it appear his death is imminent, only to suddenly strike down the actual target when that person is off guard.

Well, somehow this reminds me of Apple.

We all know what they have done in the mobile phone market. Since the launch of the iPhone Apple almost killed any other handset in the high end segment, especially for those carrier who use to subsidize their hardware.

If you are a customer walking in an operator store and you find that you can get an iPhone with zero upfront and a two years contract and another high end phone, whichever it is, at the same pricing what do you think you will buy?

Apple is leveraging two critical aspects of their strategy. On one side there is the market that is eager to have their products. People out there want an iPhone. That’s it.

On the other side they have contractual agreements with operators worldwide and operators committed with Apple on volumes that they are obliged to purchase.

The combinations of these two factors are killing high end mobile phone sales for the vast majority of operators.

At the very same time you, as an operator, cannot bring in money from your value added services like music and ringtone sell since they are going into Apple pockets through iTunes.

Yesterday I was kidding with a colleague about the upcoming Mobile World Congress, and I said: “Wouldn’t it be funny if all operators CEO would meet in a room and agree not to buy any more phones from Cupertino?”

It was a provocation and a joke, obviously.

They all have the scars and that would never happen in the real world.

Last week Apple announced the iPad and since then I have read hundreds of posts on the subject, tons of videos and lot of coverage on tv.

It seems that the iPhone story is going to be repeated.

So, is Apple the new SPECTRE?

Well, I would say yes. They definitely want to dominate the mobile world and if you don’t do as they want you will be killed (i.e. taken out of the opportunity to sell their products)

Is there an option for other hardware manufacturers?

I definitely think there is one but there is something they need to understand.

  • First: Do not copy.

Every single manufacturer out there has tried to come out with some iPhone killer product in the past years. Everybody has failed. You cannot be like an iPhone. Full stop.
This will be less difficult on a tablet since you do not have many options to work on those kind of devices. They all will be a big display with a bezel.

  • Second: Price

Try to place your product at least half the price of the iPad.

  • Third: Innovate

Do not try to copy the Apple model. Stay away from everything that will be sold trough iTunes or if you want to pursue the same strategy work with operators to integrate with their billing.

  • Fourth: Be fast.

If you will leave six months to Apple on that segment, you will be dead.

I will leave to a future post the description of what I think can be an alternative to the iPad.

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