Michael Mace posted an excellent article questioning if Apple is too powerful. With the recent announcement of the iPod Nano and it’s new camera functionality, many wondered why Apple is doing incremental upgrades vs. revolutionary ones they are known for. It seems Apple wants a piece of the cheap camcorder market, or the Flip market. It may be a sign that Apple has achieved it’s goal as the dominate trend setter for the mobile market. With no real threat to their portable music market and their sheer dominance in the mobile phone app market, they are no longer the beloved underdogs of the tech industry. Now that they are on top, innovation is becoming stagnant, not an uncommon problem for those who dominate a market. What makes this terrifying as Michael Mace states is that Apple is not trying to create a new market but trying to take over an established one. Sounds familiar? This approach is not all that dissimilar to why the tech industry gives Microsoft the evil eye. Apple’s response:
Steve Jobs -“We’ve seen video explode in the last few years,” he said, showing a picture of a Flip video camera. “Here’s one, a very popular one, four gigabytes of memory, $149, and this market has really exploded, and we want to get in on this.”
Think about this for a moment, Apple controls the portable music player industry and fought hard to control pricing. Apple also built a very successful digital delivery system and quickly establish themselves a leader in the mobile app community. The key element is that all of this goes through iTunes, it is the central media hub for everything Apple. iTunes is quickly becoming a bloated all consuming slug, aka Microsoft Windows of the recent past (hey I like Windows 7). Can you imagine when (not if) the new iPod Nano becomes successful? Apple could quickly create a new tab in iTunes to distribute user generated video. Should Youtube be worried? Apple is a marketing machine and now they are looking like the video game, Katamari. The tech community is worried, do you think consumers should be too? My wife always called Apple the collective. I never realized until now how right she was.