If I was running Apple, that’s what I would be doing…
A radical shift and need for innovation and software platform dominance
History repeats itself
I watched the so awaited Apple WWDC event on September 10th of 2019. Like many of my friends who expressed their disappointments following the event, in a part of me I feel abandoned by the brand. I love Apple, its history, its aura and the values it conveys. This time though, I really feel something was missing.
Considering how fast the market is moving and current Apple positioning I think Apple should:
- Fork Android and make the Apple store available on Android to increase it s reach in markets where it doesn’t have presence
- Move faster and advance their AR and VR business, as mentioned in my next point they should purchase more startups in the field.
- Use their cash to buy startups.
Maybe what’s happening at Apple today is exactly what Steve Jobs was saying in an interview about process versus content (See interview below):
“Companies want to replicate their initial success… and a lot of them think somehow there is some magic in the process, of how that success was created. They start to try to institutionalize process across the company. And before very long people get confused that the process is the content. That’s ultimately the downfall of IBM…IBM has the best process people in the world. They just forgot about the content. And that’s what happened a little bit at Apple too.”
Apple Music is already available on Android…
With the introduction of Apple Music for Android phones and the production of Shows and TV Series for Apple TV+ service, it is clear that Apple is looking at growing its revenues coming from content.
Why not go all the way to making this content available to the largest number of people?
We can see how for the first time the revenues coming from the iPhone are declining. They no more represent the main revenue stream for the company either.
Apple iPhone revenue by quarter 2019 | Statista
Industry-specific and extensively researched technical data (partially from exclusive partnerships). A paid…
Maybe it is time to acknowledge the limit of such a strong hardware and iOS play and start to democratize access to Apple content and software platform to a much larger audience. Apple content play is confirmed by the recent decision from Disney CEO Bob Iger to leave Apple board of directors the same day as the Apple keynote but I believe that most of the potential innovation will come from the Apple software platform if it is leveraged efficiently.
Why democratizing access to Apple software and content could increase long term performance and innovation
They are many reasons for Apple to do so:
- Keep on increasing revenues coming from Apple software suite and platform
- Increase the audience of Apple content would also increase revenues
- AI is a key driver for future innovation. AI requires to have access to a lot of data, it is a race happening now between Google, Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba, Apple. Opening Apple ecosystem to a broader audience would improve the whole suite of Apple services and its software platform and enable Apple to compete better against Google.
- Apple has a dominant presence in the US on mobile with iOS but it is not the case in the rest of the world. By marketing an Apple version of Android that would include Apple software platform and content, Apple would enter market where its presence is limited.
- There is little risk of cannibalization of its own sales of iPhones since the “Apple iDroid X” (a fictional name for the Apple fork of Android), could only be made available in geographies outside of the US.
- Having presence on a larger number of smartphones could only improve the whole reliability and usability of Apple software platform. Also worth mentioning the potential improvements for Maps.
Apple advancements in AR and VR are all relative
There is a lot of speculation about the Apple AR glasses that indeed would nicely complement the Apple Watch accessories. We are all waiting to see it coming. The reality is this may require more time as more miniaturization and more new augmented reality tools will be necessary to create a seamless and disruptive user experience.
Why is Apple not using its pile of cash to acquire more startups?
Apple has around a quarter trillion US dollars cash on hand. Instead of trying to develop everything in house it should use its cash to bring great teams and great products under its umbrella. At the end, it is worth remembering that among the things that saved Apple in the past, buying NeXT enabled the company to come up with whole new operating system, the Mac OS X.
One would think that considering this large pile of cash, the value of its stock and the urgency to keep the level of innovation high Apple would have interest in acquiring teams and new fast growing startups. The reality is different, among the big five: Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook; Apple is the one that spends the least on startups acquisitions.
It is worth reading the 1997 Wired article that published this long list of the 101 Ways to Save Apple. Even if history often repeats itself, Apple just announced it was again one of the most valuable company in history. Apple shares keep on rising and, last Friday, on September 13th 2019, Apple valuation crossed again the $1 Trillion bar, hitting $1.02 Trillion.