Monday, October 17, 2011

Winning In Apple's World

Apple has dealt a one-two blow to both the communications and computing industries in the past 4-years, one which has radically upset the established order, and has rendered its competitors totally befuddled.

The incumbent tech brands have all felt compelled to scramble and "respond" to Apple's market successes. This has resulted in, first, a wave of touch phones to counter the iPhone threat, and next, a wave of tablets to counter the iPad threat.

Obviously, this approach is flawed at a basic level, as the only possible best result to be gained would be to seize the number two position in the new product categories that Apple has defined. One does not win by copying one's enemy.

The fatal flaw being played out again and again in board rooms and CEO suites across the industry is to perceive the game Apple is playing as a zero sum proposition; i.e, for you to win, Apple must lose. In other words, all of these companies are wrongly adopting Apple's new definitions of the game and are attempting to attack Apple directly within those very rules.

We consider this approach to be stupidity.

Accepting The Inevitable

Winning in today's market requires accepting and understanding the changes that have been wrought by Apple's successes, embracing those changes, and building a new strategy that is solidly based on where those changes are taking the industry.

Winning today is in the answer to this question: How does the new technology landscape being crafted by Apple's influence change the structure of the world around us? How does it make yesterday's approaches obsolete? How does it open new approaches and new opportunities?

You see, winning in the new world that is being defined by Apple is not a zero sum proposition. You do not need to attack Apple. You can win without Apple losing.

You win by accepting the new situation and cleverly aiming your strategy into the new world being created around you and your customers.

Winning In Apple's World

Apple's world has a sea of intelligent mobile terminals flowing around the globe in people's pockets and hands, each of which has WiFi, a modern browser, and a touchscreen UI. Because the rest of the industry has already accepted Apple's new definition for mobile devices, it is also building products to these specifications: WiFi, browser, touch. The resulting competitive environment has already begun to drive down component and product pricing, soon to a point where this product type (mobile, WiFi, browser, touch) will be affordable to the vast middle of the global market.

This product type will soon be sufficiently ubiquitous to assume that anyone who matters economically will have one on their person at any time.

You do not need to compete in this product category, as doing so will be profitless. You need to look at the way this new world will work, how this new situation impacts the infrastructure above the devices and the users below the devices.

Looking At This New World

Individuals will soon have these devices en masse. The cost and performance of these devices will make them extremely desirable to businesses and other commercial and institutional users. These commercial entities will need to connect to the devices their customers are carrying. All of which raises the profound questions we all should consider:

How does everyone having these devices and all commercial and institutional entities wanting these devices impact other elements of the technology landscape? What new uses are enabled? What new bottlenecks are created? What old approaches become insufficient? What new approaches open up?

And the mother of all questions: How can you win by enabling this new situation, not by competing with it — by not competing with Apple?

This is the question we have answered with DotGT.

It is the question every company in the computing or communications industries needs to be answering — but that, apparently, nobody is even asking — except for us.