Apple the World’s Most Valuable Brand

According to Interbrand Apple is the top dog brand for it’s innovation.  Makes sense to me since innovation at Apple is decidedly within its core of design leadership.

Apple Inc.’s brand value jumped 28 percent to $98.3 billion and Google Inc. GOOG’s rose in second place at $93.3 billion. The Coca-Cola Co. name slipped from the top spot after 13 years to third place at $79.2 billion.

via Apple Overtakes Coca-Cola as World’s Most Valuable Brand – Bloomberg.

I’ve had the opportunity to get inside knowledge of big brand companies such as AmEx. To say brand drives conservative marketing strategy more than any other factor is an understatement. Brands are costly to build and can lose value overnight. This will breed conservatism in management. Consider Apple whose brand is worth almost $100B. That’s a lot of clams to jeopardize. To expect wild experimentation, which is how the tech-blogosphere seems to define innovation as of late, is delusional. Risk-taking by real live managers is going to be centered around how a company sees itself. For example, AmEx’s Bluebird prepaid debit card is a risk to the company’s luxury image but it is clearly aligned with at least some of the core elements of the brand: safety, security, customer service.

Apple is a design shop. I look at the new Mac Pro and that beastie screams design: Apple’s knitting. All of the innovation is centered on cutting edge technology inside a beautifully designed package where form fits function.  And that’s real and actual innovation, despite tedious claims that Apple can no longer innovate because it hasn’t created a phone that reads your mind or cooks your breakfast.

Dirty Money

David Coldewey writes in his article Dirty Money:

Well, not all the cards. As I wrote once, the reason Apple does the things it does is to please us, the consumers. We demand a new iPhone every year that must be better and cheaper. We insist that a thousand dollars is too much for a state of the art computer. We want bigger TVs and external hard drives and slim cameras. And we, almost without exception, fail to care when our demand for more iPads drives Apple to double its orders, driving Foxconn to push more overtime, driving poorly-maintained ventilation systems to their maximum, driving a spark to ignite an aluminum-dust explosion. It’s not our problem, it’s Apple’s or it’s Foxconn’s or it’s China’s. Very reassuring. Continue reading “Dirty Money”

Take ‘Em to Church?

★ The Church of Market Share:

The truth is, the average Android user is not the same as an average iPhone user. iPhone users surf the web more, they’re more willing to buy software, they’re more willing to install and use apps

You can say that it’s elitist or arrogant to argue that iOS users are better customers than Android users. But you can also say that it’s the truth.

(Via Daring Fireball)

Apple has 2/3rds the share of industry profits while it has garnered only 5% in market share.  Why would I want to go after market share in this scenario?


In Ways that Seem Inconsistent

Apple may be using patent troll to do its legal dirty work:

It’s not clear just how complicit Apple is in Digitude’s business, but EFF staff attorney Julie Samuels told TechCrunch that if Apple was deliberately aiding Digitude’s patent trolling, “it would be horrifying.” And even if Apple were somehow coerced into settling with Digitude, Samuels doubts that “Apple didn’t have any other options.”

As we noted recently, Apple has a tendency to use its intellectual property in ways that seem inconsistent. For instance, an Opera developer claims that Apple has a pattern of using patents to slow down the W3C’s open standards process, while promoting open standards when it gives Apple leverage against its competitors. This situation with Digitude seems similar; Apple opposes the tactics of patent trolls when they come after iOS developers, but seems to support them if it aids its ongoing legal battle for dominance of the smartphone market.


Disturbing to say the least!

Dell drops Streak 7, backs out of Android tablets in US

Dell drops Streak 7, backs out of Android tablets in US:

Like HP, Dell is believed to be putting most of its faith in Windows 8 tablets for the US market. It won’t have this option until mid-to-late 2012, however, and will essentially concede its share of mobile tablets for a year.

(Via MacNN | The Macintosh News Network)

Why can’t PC manufacturers release a credible iPad competitor?  Execution of course has been lacking by announcing tablets so early the market had moved on to more advanced tablets, but that begs a serious question: Why is Dell behind?

Up in the iClouds

I recently was chatting over email with friend Mark Chandler over Apple’s release of iCloud and what it would mean for our personal music.  I lamented how Apple’s competitors seems to be making really obvious mistakes and with Apple’s solution in view, it didn’t seem like rocket science.  His response was great as always, post-worthy for sure.

Apple is a hardware company at the end of the day. They want to lock you into a model, and they have to make sure that they offer just enough to keep you hooked, but leave room for improvement in the next gadget that they want you to buy. In this case, they improved the service instead of the gadget, but the perception is that the “product” has been upgraded. User experience is also a core value at Apple. Regardless of whether or not anything they have trotted out was a success, the user experience was an integral part of the product.

The Amazon model was good enough, but they didn’t have the depth of offering. People using that service were using it to get music to put on their iPods for the most part anyway, so Apple still got a residual of sorts. M$ needs to clean out upper management (Balmer just needs to go the same way that Amelio had to go) and let some of what they have in research see the light of day. Courier was the best challenge to the iPad that never was . It had the potential to be truly disruptive since it wasn’t trying to copy the iPad, but instead bring a different paradigm to the tablet form factor. The music store model that Apple is trotting out is pretty similar to the Zune marketplace, but the device was the weak link in the Zune ecosystem. If M$ was really slick, they’d have supported other devices including the iPod with that store and laughed all the way to the bank.

Google needs to go see a shrink. They can’t figure out what they want to be right now, and with Oracle about to drag them over the coals over the JVM that’s part of Android, they are only further distracted. You’d figure with all the info that they have at their disposal they’d know exactly what people want and just deliver it. They are also suffering from what we all saw around MIT. A bunch of really intelligent people with zero street smarts that have a hard time accepting that they can and will be wrong at times. They nailed search, and expect to nail everything else with the same amount of ease. They need to hire the equivalent of an elementary school art teacher. Someone that knows when to take the construction paper away from the kid and hang it on the wall for everyone to admire, but also knows when to make the kid just start over with a new piece of paper. Google Wave is the best example of this. Unless you were an ADHD addled kid, that product was unusable. The idea behind it was sound, but the execution was lacking.

I’m not writing off any of the other players just yet, but they are going to need to come up with something that no one has seen before, or they are going to have to cater to high-end niche users.

Actually Rob, it is rocket science. One needs a bunch of smart people, a lot of money, and plenty of luck. You don’t get to the moon, much less stay in the air for any amount of time without all three.

I stand corrected.

Mark Chandler is a computer security professional, chef, and DJ.