The future for Apple: How many missteps before the ‘information machine’ turns against them?

I came across this rather insightful post from Haydn Shaughnessy over at Forbes today. Hadyn is contemplating the future of Apple and committing Silicon Valley heresy by pointing out that it’s not necessarily going to be bright and lovely.

It’s rare for me to find a commentator who recognises the importance and influence of what I’ve been calling the ‘media industrial complex’ that has been backing Apple and Google — and instrumental in killing the reputations of the likes of Nokia and most recently, RIM. I’m referring to the publications, influencers and cheerleaders such as TechCrunch, GigaOm, Venturebeat and so on.

Haydn collectively calls it “the information infrastructure”:

Part of this environment is also the information infrastructure, which turns out to be highly unpredictable. It has for the most part been supportive of Apple. In 2008/2009 I watched as the information infrastructure in mobile, at that time dominated by TechCrunch and GigaOm, utterly decimated Nokia’s reputation and its executives’ confidence.

There seemed to be no way Nokia could repair the damage, whatever time or consideration it asked for. Its hugely successful global footprint was totally ignored as its performance in the US market became the only benchmark.

Correct. Many disagreed with this reality. Disagreeing didn’t (and doesn’t) help though.

The concern for any company (just ask BestBuy) is: what happens when the new information machine turns against you. So far it has been very pro-Apple. But as Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook emerge more clearly in each other’s sites will it be given such an easy run?

Right. If this ‘information machine’ turns against Apple, that’ll be very bad news for them. But the company will need to make quite a few missteps before they get anywhere near failing. There’s a lot of love in the room for Apple.

Meanwhile everyone else competing in the global mobile market would do well to carefully recognise, monitor and deal with the ‘information machine’.

, ,

  • Bullshit. The media praised the Palm Pre, and Palm is now dead. The media said the iPhone 4S was “meh”, and Apple ended up reporting a record quarter. I’d like to think that I, as a member of the media, am somehow influential, but I have better things to do than blow hot air up my ass.

  • Timple

     Ewan – I thought until pretty recently you used to be one of those “Apple can do no wrong – Nokia can do no right” commentators – then I saw your MWC2012 comment – what brought about your conversion?

  • How would you react to a series of monumental failures by Apple?

  • Hello Timple, whilst I am a huge user of Apple products — I’ve got iPhones, iPads, iMacs, Mac Pros, laptops and whatnot — I am certainly not an Apple-can-do-no-wrong chap. Oh no. Just have a read of this example post:

  • Does it matter? And how do you define failure? If a new product doesn’t live up to your expectations, boo hoo. If Apple starts losing market share, ships devices with broken software, and misses sales targets, then I’ll join the rest of the internet in poking fun at the company.

  • Mike42

    +1 for Stefan. The media also praised the INQ Touch, often rating it 4 or 5 stars out of 5. Media is an important (but only one) part of the overall consumer-influencing machine.

  • Agreed — however it wasn’t the subject of sustained and continued passionate coverage from the likes of TechCrunch, GigaOm or Venturebeat though…

  • Mike42

    Damned with faint praise? They did cover it and the deep FB angle was the killer, but when they didn’t shift due to channels preferring to push HTC/Samsungs the attention dried up…

  • It’s the right idea, not quite expressed right. IMO.

    It’s not about products, it’s about fashion. At a certain ‘bigness’ the challenger brand becomes mainstream and loses its cool. See Facebook and Google – all popular but mired in mainstream use now and destined to have their own businesses disrupted sooner or later whilst popular opinion shifts from ‘cool’ to ‘creepy’.

    To me bloggers etc narrate the change, providing the detail to support this gradual fatigue, but they don’t control it… Popular media has always been popular by re-assuring people that their existing view of the world is right.

  • If TC’s MG Siegler had adopted INQ as his next Apple, things might have been different

  • Mike42

    I doubt even ecstatic TC coverage would have encouraged Dwayne in CPW Clapham High Street to push the INQ over an HTC to a mum with a pram asking about ‘the best phone for FB’…

  • Google stopped being cool when they started peddling their own services and stopped improving their search engine. Facebook stopped being cool when they opened it up to the public. Remember when it was just for students?

    Apple will stop being cool when they stop making shit that just works.

    Bloggers and other media outlets are simply entertainers, and they’ll say that X is cool or not cool just to stir the pot.

    Seriously, take it from someone who gets paid to stir the pot on a daily basis. I do it because it puts food on the table.

  • Agree with the last bit absolutely, but not the first.

    Plenty of firms make stuff that works well but isn’t cool. I think we invent reasons to justify the fact that really all we’re saying is that they’ve lost their novelty value.

    Of course that doesn’t mean Apple will fail – just that it will lose total domination the market’s attention / mindshare for a bit and then re-group and come back. Much as premium car / fashion / food brands have done before.

  • But it could have prompted two of the US Carriers to standardise on INQ

  • Timple

    Fair enough – it’s just when you started proposing subscription services that automatically refresh your apple kit every year etc – I got the wrong impression 😉

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes

Real Time Analytics