Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Apple vs. Google vs. Microsoft: Apple’s success secrets and possible strategies Microsoft should take now
Apple’s iPod. Apple’s iPhone. Apple’s iPad. And now Apple ‘overtakes’ Microsoft. The picture of a fast moving company’s latest example. Looks like an apple does not fall on the ground due to acceleration due to gravity, but it can fly high in the corporate sky, too. But what’s the inside story?
Is it Steve Job’s magic that made it possible or is it the example of a good corporate strategy?
In my opinion, Microsoft has wrong strategy. It has always concentrated on software and operating systems. Although, Microsoft’s has vast business products, but it main business always revolves around software and Windows. There lies the wrong strategy. Let me discuss the wrong strategy of Microsoft and right strategy of Apple in detail:
Product: Apple’s iPad and iPhone are all tangible products and costs at a ‘reasonable price’ in developed countries and ‘high price’ in developing countries. Windows 7 or MS-Office is reasonably priced worldwide. But Windows 7’s pirated version is widely used and code breakers around the world feel a special fun to generate ‘crack’ or ‘patch’ of the original software developed by Microsoft. Compared to that, I wonder, how many enemies Apple has. How many people or organization have dared to ‘duplicate’ iPad or iPhone? I guess, none! That is the reason where Windows loose profit and Apple gains it.
Branding: all the terms iPod, iPhone, iPad seems like brand names. But ‘Windows Mobile’ does not sound like a brand. Tell me how many Microsoft’s tangible products (if there are any) are branded like iPhone or iPad? You will get less popular answers.
Target audience: Windows OS is targeted at all computer and laptop and Window’s mobile users. But iPod is targeted at music listeners. Apple’s iPhone is targeted at mobile phone users and iPad is made keeping in mind of laptop users, gamers, ebook readers etc. So you can see rather than product upgradation, Apple is more focused on launching different products for people’s varied needs. That relates to better understanding of consumer lifestyles.
Buzz: Everything Apple does, create buzzes. One can remember the long standing queues in front of mobile stores before the launch of iPhone. That happens because of buzzes. Buzz marketing is great for tapping the ears and eyes consumers. Before, launch of any great Apple’s products, you will see, television, web, radio, print media, everywhere Apple is in news headline (and such buzzes last for 1 week to one and a half months). Except the launch of Windows 7, how many times you have noticed buzzes around Microsoft.
Pricing: I use my Nokia phone. In
, the lowest price of a Nokia handset can be still under Rs. 5000/-. Because Nokia, Motorola, Sony has products for all income groups of the society. A good iPhone handset costs around Rs. 30000/-. So when six low-cost Nokia handsets are sold, the profit margin only covers the sale of one iPhone! This is the reason iPhone or ipad sales have such a hiking profit. Also, in India , upper class and middle class’ income is growing. And western country people hardly suffer from loss of money. They are buying Apple products frequently. That way, Apple sees no reason for their products’ price reduction. However, a large market in developing countries remains untapped by Apple. India
Has Apple conquered everything on web? Are they the new world leader in IT world?
I think there is no reason to panic. Apple’s does not possess biggest search engine (well, it is Google of course); Apple does not run incredibly popular portals like yahoo.com or MSN.com; Apple’s does not have any nice developing software like .NET or VB6 or C#. And cool graphic icons on iPhone can be designed in Adobe Photoshop or any similar image editing software. So the web world is commonly shared by many big companies. Nobody is actually the leader (not even Apple!)
Apple vs. Google?
Both the companies are extremely innovative. But again, while Google’s products are majorly web based ‘intangible’ applications, Apple is focused on iPod or iPhone like ‘real-life gadgets’. Google has launched its online store like Apple. But that does not mean these two companies should be compared unless they have similar identical products in web world and in real life.
What strategy Microsoft should take to regain its position?
Open new windows: No, I am not talking about new Windows OS (say, Windows 8, 9, 10…), I only mean new windows. That is new segments of business. It is time for Microsoft to have their own real life gadgets.
Buzzes: Consumers love buzzes. Before launching of any new Microsoft ‘branded products’, there should be buzzes. All types of media should be fully utilized. It is very essential in today’s world that when you are launching something, every newspaper should give your product a good rating in their product reviews. I mean reviewers New York Times in
, Daily Telegraph in USA and TOI or The Telegraph in UK must have similar words of applause for your product. That may create buzzes in consumer world and can lead to word-of-mouth marketing. Microsoft must think like that. India
Branding and pricing: If users of iPhone get a similar functioning phone with Windows
7 in it, they may give it a try. If Microsoft can innovate their product line with cost effectiveness, a number of consumers can try their products.
Hire lifestyle analyst: All the electronic fairs that are held around the world, bring new and changing consumer trends. If Microsoft and Google are planning to bring electronic gadgets in the market, they should hire some gadget savvy representative. I call them ‘Lifestyle Expert’. These lifestyle experts should attend gadget fairs and prepare reports. Companies should come up with new products based on that research.
Please don’t name your product in a dull manner. Look at Apple. Follow their way of naming the product. It’s not a mobile phone, it is an iPhone. It is not a ‘laptop-kind’ of device, it is an iPad. Position your brand like that.
Bring new faces: I have seen Bill Gates and Steve Jobs on television. What do you think, when you see Bill gates? And what comes on your mind when you see Steve Jobs? I see Bill Gates as ‘an IT guru, who is calm, soft-spoken, techie’. And I see Steve Jobs as my ‘SMART, next-door, tech-savvy neighbour’. These are two different approaches. Consumers always like to identify themselves within the demonstrators. They like the approach of Steve Jobs who demonstrates Apple’s products standing on the stage and interacting with audience. Microsoft has to catch this trend. They need to bring an excellent tech savvy guy, who is young, smart, wise and possibly good looking (Don’t take good looking as a silly phrase. That ever matters at times!)
According to my personal belief, these are some of the simple steps that Microsoft or any company of that caliber should take to stay on top.