Apple is doomed. No innovation, no market share, no new products, no Steve Jobs. Death — soon — is all but certain.
This is the consensus, at least, from mobile analysts, Nobel-winning economists and tech bloggers alike. It’s nonsense, of course, the product of a herd mentality tucked inside a middle manager’s vision. Apple has the best mobile computing products in the world, controls the most robust mobile computing platform, and operates the industry’s largest retail footprint. Apple’s near-term future is as secure as any company, ever. Indeed, with Microsoft now in the throes of long-term turmoil, and Google’s CEO placing bets on every square in hopes of once again hitting the jackpot, expect Apple to pull even further ahead of the competition.
That said, Apple attained its present lofty status by embracing “crazy” ideas — ideas that changed the world as well as the company’s fortunes. In that same spirit, here are my crazy ideas to make Apple even bigger, even better, well into the future.
Are you listening, Tim Cook?
Lay Down (Arms) With Google
Apple and Google are the superpowers of global tech and they do not like one another. Thermonuclear war, however, is of little value to anyone.
I propose a “cold war” solution: Apple and Google sign a long-term licensing agreement. Google will abandon Android, and instead optimize its mobile services, all of them, for Apple’s iOS. In return, Apple will offer nearly unfettered access of its iOS platform to Google engineers.
Under this scheme, Apple will sell vastly more devices, continue to earn sky-high profits on hardware, and provide its (billion plus) customers with the best mobile experience on the planet. Google liberates itself from the Android noose, which has cost it billions already. Since iOS users are far more engaged with their devices, Google also receives more and better data using my scheme, which enables them to offer more and better advertisements.
Lastly, this frees up Apple to focus on what it does best. After all, there is a very real chance that iCloud, Siri, Maps, Spotlight, Mail, Calendar, et al, will never be as good as the Google equivalents. Jettison them all.
Merge With Samsung
Not sold on a Apple – Google partnership? Challenge accepted. Instead, Apple should merge with Samsung, their only real threat for smartphone sales.
While many still view Apple as a “computer company” this is misleading. Imagine a pyramid with design at the top, software beneath that, retail below that, electronics and materials next, and supply chain management at the bottom. Samsung is similar, albeit with a far wider base and increasingly less skill as you venture up the pyramid.
Samsung makes some of the very best affordable washers, dryers, refrigerators and sundry other gadgets and appliances. Unfortunately, every one of them is needlessly complex. As everything becomes a “computer” and as the interface to every computer becomes our touch or our voice, we need Apple’s design and UI expertise more than ever.
Apple + Samsung equals the greatest global electronics design, development, manufacturing and distribution conglomerate in the world, ever.
Own F1 And Kill Cable Television
Apple TV remains a “hobby.” This may be fine for Tim Cook, but it sucks for the rest of us. Because the rest of us continue to pay far too much money for television content we do not want.
Why should we pay for 24 hours of ESPN, for example, if we only watch it 30 minutes everyday? Fox News dominates the ratings while MSNBC barely rises above statistical noise. Yet, we are required to purchase a “news” package that includes both. We want to watch a favorite series yet are forced to buy the entire channel’s programming line-up. This all seems terribly unfair and criminally outdated.
We need Apple. Before Apple can remake television, however, they will need to own top tier content.
I suggest Apple buy the massively popular F1 and the English Premiere League. Make these available solely via Apple TV. Fans of these sports will purchase Apple TV units in droves and quickly learn that the best viewing experience is the one that Apple already suggests (if not quite yet realizes): buy just what you want to watch, when you want to watch it, no matter where you are located, and no matter on what screen you prefer (TV, smartphone or tablet).
Speak Often And Kill The Bloggers
There was a time when Apple was left for dead. It was during these dark times when an Apple priesthood sprang up, discussing every new product, praising every minor change, and writing daily on the wonders of Apple — keeping the few believers securely within the flock.
Tiny pirate Apple is dead, yet the Apple blogger ecosystem, like kudzu, is everywhere now, and does more harm than good, I think. Apple bloggers, now bursting with readers and well-heeled sponsors, oblige both by touting every whiff of every rumor.
When Apple finally does release its newest product, we are instantly let down. We already knew. Our disappointment is further compounded because Apple inevitably fails to live up to many of the craziest rumors.
Apple should speak to the press and to the public on a regular basis. We shouldn’t need to get our Apple news from second-hand sources anymore.
Take Control Of Windows
To change the world you have to be crazy enough to believe you can. Case in point: Apple should buy Windows.
Microsoft’s generations-long hold on the personal computer operating system is in its dying days, laid waste by Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. The more Ballmer and his successors focus on protecting Windows, the quicker they accelerate the company’s demise. To survive, Microsoft must focus on applications and devices, not operating systems and bundled software packages.
That said, there is value in Windows. Or, at least, the Windows team. They built a platform that worked for well over a decade for well over a billion users. More impressive, they did this without controlling the hardware!
Apple will soon operate at least two platforms — iOS and iTunes — that will touch more than a billion users. This is foreign territory for the once small American company. But it is not foreign for Microsoft’s Windows team.
Stay Crazy After All These Years
I have many other crazy ideas, in fact. Buy Bloomberg and use ownership of financial data to swarm the enterprise, starting with banks and financial institutions. Go private, and use some of their cash for an “endowment” to keep the company alive forever (yes, literally).
Buy Tiffany’s and create a new line of premium-priced computing-based “jewelry.”
Integrate iCloud, fingerprint technology, and an open API. Touch any connected screen and it instantly re-calibrates itself to our preferred, personalized settings, ST:TNG-like. In this way, Apple becomes the company that manages every screen in our life, everywhere, all the time.
I know, I know. None of these make sense, none will work, they will never happen. But maybe Apple needs a jolt of crazy.
What are your crazy ideas for the company?