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Murray Gordon Flash a-ah! Savior of the universe...

This isn't really a problem for me, since, in the foreseeable future, I don't have a use for an Apple. But this does present a marketing hurdle in promoting adoption in the marketplace. It CAN become a problem if the tide turns and people move to open formats because products like iTunes are dependent on network effects.

There are three trends in marketing that I've been paying close attention to for the last few years:

  1. upgrading – moving up the ladder of benefits, or creating products and services that break the traditional price/value curves and offer excellent values at lower costs;
  2. divergence/specialization – which is why niche pubs can even exist, why hybrid pickup-truck/SUVs don't sell (like the Cadillac Escalade with the stubby, useless pickup bed), and why I didn't like the multi-tool iPhone. As a Darwinist, this one's a no-brainer. Species don't converge. They diverge, or die out. Species get better at doing one thing. Whales don't walk for shit, and penguins can't fly. Agencies that specialize in web design tend to do a better job on the design of a site. And you don't go to a general practice to get your brain surgery. Software that integrates is great (this is called an ecosystem). Software that's all-in-one don't do anything well. See: Corel.
  3. freedom/open networks – the reason why Firefox is the number one browser people CHOOSE to use and develop in. YouTube, blogs, the decline of dead-tree media are all tied to this.


The iPhone clearly violates 2 of these 3 trends.

Apparently, Cingular has closed-rights to the iPhone. You can't switch out of Cingular to a different carrier.
<http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,2082059,00.asp>

BoingBoing (very fun site) has a round-up on some problems (<http://www.boingboing.net/2007/01/14/iphone_the_roach_mot.html>), including a link to the New York Times op-ed bashing Apple's DRM software: <http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/14/business/yourmoney/14digi.html?ref=technology>

There's an old adage that companies promote free-markets until they become the dominant player. Then they promote monopolistic (or at least oligopolistic) behavior.

"Think Different," my arse. Let's welcome Apple to the blue chips. It's now just like everyone else. Only more hip.

(Thanks to Grayson Hill)

Posted on Sunday, January 14, 2007 7:42 PM | Back to top


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