What I love about Apple’s Strategy

on January 3, 2014

I see many headlines cross my twitter stream that say something along the lines of what Apple should do in 2014. I always find these to be entertaining ramblings that never amount to any useful information about Apple’s strategy or yield market insights to back up the writer’s opinion with valid data as to why such a move would make sense to Apple.

In summary, the big moves for Apple in 2014 people seem to think “Apple” needs to do are:

  1. A TV
  2. A smart watch
  3. A bigger iPhone
  4. A bigger iPad

Let me just say, don’t be surprised if Apple releases none of these things in 2014. Pundits and critics will hoot and holler that Apple has gone stale and other non-helpful online banter. Getting to the crux of why pundits errors reveals what I love most about Apple’s strategy. [pullquote]Apple has customers not competition[/pullquote]

The broad claims that are made about what Apple should do are almost always based a round competitive reasons. Folks claim that because Apple’s competition is doing something that Apple should also or they will lose. Yet what I love about Apple’s strategy is that it is never around what the competition is doing. Apple marches to beat of their own drum. This is fundamentally mis-understood by so many. In fact, Apple’s strategy is best understood within the view that internally they literally believe they have no competition ( I personally believe this also but that’s the subject of a much longer essay.) Apple has customers not competition. The decisions they make as a company are not based around what their competition is doing but around what is best for their customers. Like it or not, this is their strategy.

Entering markets simply because perceived competitors do is not Apple’s strategy. If entering a new market is the best way to serve Apple’s customers needs then they will do it but not because someone else is doing it. Execs at Apple may take a deeper look at competitors strengths and weaknesses but I am convinced their strategy is developed and set as if they have no competition. What is good for Apple may not be good for others and vice-versa.

Apple May have a bigger TV strategy up their sleeve. But their efforts will be defined by the needs of their customers not by what their competition is doing. Apple may launch a wearable product of some kind but not because their competion is but because it serves the needs of their customers. The same is true with a bigger iPhone and iPad. All the things Apple does strategically is intended to meet the needs of customers and round out their ecosystem. Trying to think about Apple in the same way of any other tech company is to instantly think about them wrongly. Their strategy is uniquely Apple

It’s bold. Some may call it arrogant. But it works.