Despite what you might read, Apple is worried about what Windows 8 means to their market share

Written by  Thursday, 01 March 2012 20:31 Published in Editorials

despdIn a recent article I published about Apple being nervous over Windows 8 I made the statement that Apple has never released a developer preview like this before and also that Apple does not do public Betas. Both of these statements were read incorrectly and the flood of comments from Apple fans came in. There were lists of the times that Apple has pushed out Developer Previews as well as a list of the times they have released betas to the public. It has been entertaining, but I think we need some clarification on these two items and also why Apple is nervous about Windows 8.

The first statement was due to a misunderstanding of a comment from Apple PR that they were going to be doing things differently now and getting the information out to the public in a new way. What this turned out to be was a handpicked group of the press that were given briefings by Phil Schiller, the senior vice president of worldwide marketing for Apple. This is highly unusual and very out of pattern.

Apple normally makes an new OS announcement an event, they do not have their senior PR and Marketing staff give the event show to 20-24 people individually and then send them home with the OS on a loaner MacBook air.

Next was the comment about Apple not doing public Betas; for the record I was talking about Operating Systems not general software. Apple has not released a public Beta for any OS (OS X or iOS). Normally they are very careful about any leaks of features on their new OS of any kind. However, this time seems to be very different. There have been several articles that detail features some complete with screen shots. This is also out of pattern for Apple.

So now that we have those cleared up; let’s get into a few more reasons why Windows 8 is making Apple nervous.

We will start off small here; Apple has already seen what one competitor in the tablet/phone market can do. Although Apple is the number one single manufacturer in the world of Smart phones (it is true they produce more than any other single manufacturer) they are still second to Android as the number one used phone OS in the world.  As of Q4 Android had 32.9% Market share and iPhone had 30.6%. On the tablet end Android devices surged quite a bit as well, their lower cost and additional functionality (like the USB and HDMI ports on the Transformer) have begun to make them attractive to consumers (and even 16-20 year olds are getting them). It is the rapid growth of Google’s Android that started many of the law suits by Apple. They seriously need to cut back the competition in the market place.

The next item ties right into the first; Apple is one company. True they can have Foxconn expand and work their … oh wait; they can’t really make the workers work harder to meet demand any more. They have to pay more for expanded manufacturing capacity at Foxconn and with the world watching that might not be all that easy. They are working on building a new plant in Brazil but that is months away and would not be online for full production before Q4 2012 or Q1 2013. This puts them at a disadvantage to the multiple companies that can build Android or Windows 8 tablets. Remember Windows 8 will come in both ARM and x86 flavors. This will fill multiple consumer spaces from enterprise to consumer. The iPad is not an enterprise product no matter how much Apple want’s to market it as one.

Although these two items are pretty substantial we have more; this one ties into what everyone has been sending me; Apple’s public release of Messages as a BETA. Messages is the replacement for iChat in Mountain Lion. Right now it will work on Lion. However, once the beta is over Apple has other plans for you…  “Thank you for participating in the Messages Beta program. With the inclusion of Messages in OS X Mountain Lion, the Messages Beta program has ended. To continue using Messages, please visit the Mac App Store and purchase OS X Mountain Lion.”

Why release new software that people will not be able to use? Well that is simple, so that Apple can say they had it first. Microsoft has been working on an integrated messaging system called messaging in Windows 8. This was first hinted at in the developer preview last year and talked about on the Building Windows 8 Blog.

Apple knew that Microsoft was finding a way to incorporate these items into an easy to use single interface that will work across multiple platforms (PC, Tablet and Phone). If this sounds familiar it is, it is what Messages will be doing for Apple.

Now to move onto other items that are not technology related that are of concern for Apple and make a strong Windows OS from Microsoft even of greater concern. Apple is having a crisis of identity. Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs. He simply does not have the personality to pull off the marketing events like Job could. He also does not have the strength of will, charm or charisma that Apple's late CEO did. People do not identify with Tim Cook the way they did with Steve Jobs. After all Tim Cook worked for IBM and Compaq, while Steve Jobs Co-Founded Apple. Since the passing of Steve Jobs Apple has come under greater pressure from both the press and the public for the way it does business and with whom.

Added to this are comments from Tim Cook like "I don't really think anything Microsoft does puts pressure on Apple," and my favorite when talking about the money that Apple has piled up “it's more than we need to run the company.". It is comments like these show that Tim Cook has little understanding of the role that Apple’s CEO plays. Steve Jobs made himself Apple; he was the face of Apple and ran the company. Tim Cook is not doing that and is even talking about opening up paying shareholder quarterly dividends; something that Apple has not done since 1995.

Cook has also changed the way they elect directors in the company allowing a majority vote to elect new directors. This goes into place next year and will change the leadership of the company dramatically by putting the power of the vote into the hands of the shareholders again.

So you can see multiple things going on behind the scenes and in the open at Apple that have them nervous about the way that Microsoft is presenting Windows 8 and what that OS represents to the market. After all I am sure that Apple did not miss the polls that showed the majority of people would want Windows on their tablet.

So when you hear that Apple is not concerned and they are not operating out of pattern; take a minute to look around and see what they are doing, you might find that the differences are there if you look for them. We said this day would come when both the iPhone and the iPad launched; both are great products and Apple has the best marketing teams in the world, but things are changing and they know it as well.

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Read 2925 times Last modified on Thursday, 01 March 2012 21:48