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Apple iPhone Naysayers Seek Irrational Refuge
Thursday, March 6th, 2008 at 3:00 PM - by John Martellaro
Apples iPhone SDK announcement yesterday is being met with a mixture of glee and trepidation. If it werent for continued problems in the subprime mortgage crisis, AAPL would have shot up $20. The fact that it didnt and the fact that Apple has had enterprise problems in the past is leading to a false sense of confidence by the naysayers that Apple cannot succeed fabulously. Its an irrational wish.
The Fake Steve Jobs said it best:
"BackBerry is dead. Microsoft is dead. Windows Mobile is dead. Amazon is dead. Kindle is dead. Nokia is dead. Motorola was already dead but now they are even more dead. Googles Android is dead. Samsung is dead. LG is dead. Sony is dead. UTStarcom is dead. Weve thrown $100 million into an iFund so people can build iApps to sell on iTunes and give us 30% of their iMoney. The coming onslaught of new applications will make iPhone the only smart phone that anyone in the entire world will ever want to use."
Dan Dilger at Roughly Drafted took a typical, thorough look at the iPhone business model and compared it to the rest of the players. Clearly, Apple is in a much better, smarter position than Microsoft and most of the other players.
Theres a lot of inertia in the PC community that is accustomed to being able to count Apple out in the enterprise and in the home PC market. Basically, theyre living in a comfortable past of Microsoft good fortune and Apple blunders during the Sculley and Spindler era. The one thing thats left now is to hang onto the idea that Apple isnt so good at enterprise sales because the Mac hasnt succeeded brilliantly in the enterprise. Jason Perlow made that argument today at ZDNet. He claimed that if Apple were more open about things, corporate clients wouldnt be turning instead to Linux servers in the data center.
Another final refuge is the idea that since the iPhone was targeted, for the sake of market success, at consumers who have sole discretion and purchase authority, that the iPhone is forever marked as a consumer toy that cant check the enterprise boxes. And even if it can, businesses will never allow such an adorable device into the hands of their slaves. They might actually watch a movie. I suspect, from what Ive heard, that Apple may be able to deal with that by allowing businesses to profile the functions they want to enable. I wouldnt underestimate Apple here.
While iPhone naysayers will continue to find "killer" yet phony issues that disqualify Apple from the enterprise mobile phone market, there is one aspect of the iPhone business model that cannot be overlooked, and thats the explosion in development thats going to happen with a state of the art, Xcode, OS X, OpenGL, and Cocoa development environment. No other manufacturer has been able to invest in a remotely similar technology because they were strapped for money -- thanks to being ripped off by the carriers in subsidy deals that diluted their brand, profits, and imagination.
In a note to investors today, Gene Munster absolutely nailed it. He said: "The platform with the most active developer community will likely win the battle in the mobile computing arena." By Labor Day, there may well be 1,000 native apps for the iPhone.
As some people are fond of saying, you can take that to the bank. Thats where Apple will win, and businesses that still want to hold the iPhone at arms length may do so for emotional or political reasons. Theyll do it with fanfare, and the usual publications will write profile stories on them proving that the iPhone isnt for everyone. Meanwhile, Apple will just keep on making big money, gain market share, and cleverly leverage its competitors right into bankruptcy and obscurity.
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