Lessons Learned Don’t Apply To Apple, But Should They

If you’re familiar with Apple, you likely know it as a multi-billion dollar computer retailer who hurdled obstacles and revolutionized the technology market with their Apple laptops, desktops, tablets and innovative iPhone.

What you might not know, though, is that Apple is zigging when it should be zagging, in several key areas.

What’s Apple Missing?

One of Apple’s most notable missed opportunities is refusing to make iMessage a cross-platform application that could work on iOS, macOS, Windows, Android, Chrome, and more.

While Apple has always been about end-to-end control of its products, this move has been tried and has failed before in the technology community. Consider BlackBerry, which thought BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) was a sticking point to entrench users and make them feel disconnected from their social circles if they were not on a BlackBerry device.

Because Apple refuses to extend this service to their other platforms, they’re missing out on a huge potential for data gathering and information mining. Since only a small amount of people are able to use their products and services, they’re neglecting to gather information about people outside those circles.

If they could gather this data, they’d be better equipped to upsell other Apple products/services. They could also mine and sell data on a larger audience, beat the competition and win the messaging industry, in both the consumer and enterprise sectors.

The Future of Messaging

With messaging becoming more and more commoditized each day, it’s going to become harder and harder to beat other prominent platforms, such as Facebook (FB Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp), Google (Hangouts, Allo) and Microsoft (Skype).

Most of us have heard the saying, “what doesn’t bend breaks,” and I believe it’s becoming dangerously applicable for Apple. While there’s no doubt that Apple is one of the most innovative companies in the world, it also has a tendency to get stuck in a rut, and to miss opportunities that might be more obvious to companies with less of a loyal user base, or with fewer brand evangelists.

At the end of the day, I think Apple takes an “if it ain’t broke” approach, which works for them, but isn’t always the most growth-focused method of surviving in the modern world. A uniquely exclusive and cliquey brand, Apple has created a dynasty on the ideals of “thinking different” and “going against the grain.”

While this has helped them grow into the most valuable company in the world, it’s also kept their market share remarkably small — about 13.7 percent — while companies like Samsung have continued to grow.

If Apple wants to turn the train around and succeed in the long-term, I believe it needs to avoid doing what BlackBerry did. While BlackBerry only released a cross-channel BBM when it was too little, too late, Apple has seen that mistake before and should have the foresight now to route around it. If they don’t, they’ll miss out on a larger potential user base and a broader network of interested customers.

Even the most popular kid in class can’t afford to let his or her social skills become too rusty, and I fear Apple’s resistance to creating a cross-platform app is akin to just that. A company as innovative as this one should be able to apply the lessons learned by other companies. The only thing that could derail this world-changing brand is if Apple itself makes the mistake of believing it’s “too big to fail.”

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