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Apple’s getting the Nokia treatment and doesn’t like it

Stop all the clocks!

Have you read what Mr Apple himself has published about Apple? John Gruber has published a decent set of rebuttals relating to the Samsung launch last week. All well and good. This is to be expected and it’s perfectly good analysis provided you recognise that he’s a super-Apple-fan.

The last paragraph of the chap’s rebuttal is simply shocking though. Shocking in the reality that it clearly and accurately betrays.

Have a read:

But that’s how news reporters increasingly are treating the state of the industry. The desire for the “Oh, how the mighty Apple has fallen” narrative is so strong that the narrative is simply being stated as fact, evidence to the contrary be damned. It’s reported as true simply because they want it to be true. They’re declaring “The King is dead; long live the King” not because the king has actually died or abdicated the throne, but because they’re bored with the king and want to write a new coronation story.

This, my dear Mr Gruber, is what happens when you lose the moral authority of the marketplace. If you’d like a specific example — Maps. It’s whats-his-face standing on stage in front of millions telling us Apple Maps are the best ever. When the reality is clearly the total opposite. And when we — the waiting masses — had to find this out to our own expense.

You could have lifted John’s text from Mobile Industry Review circa 2008. When I was complaining about the fact the market wasn’t giving Nokia a chance. Or Samsung. Or anyone, really. The only show in town was increasingly Apple.

I had a good time reading the perspective over on MondayNote about “Apple Losing The War – of Words”.

Here’s the summary quote from that post:

Besides its ads, Apple says very little, confident numbers will do the talking. This no longer works as others have seized the opportunity to drive the narrative


Just like Nokia.

“We ship a million phones a day,” wasn’t enough to help Nokia when Silicon Valley reviewers were opening the latest Nokia N97 handset and wondering why (paraphrasing) it sucked compared to the iPhone.

Can Apple afford another “meh” iPhone launch this year? Yes is the answer. Folk will still keep buying them and the margins are likely to stay broadly similar so the company’s unlikely to tank tomorrow.

I’ve always commented that I have wanted to see Apple come under hard and sustained pressure. The Maps fiasco was a really good example of perception management when the resulting product was seriously flawed. How could they have allowed that chap to seriously tell the world that the Maps were brilliant? Facetime is *brilliant*. So when you use the same terminology, I’m expecting the same results. I’m not expecting to read news stories of Australian police forces insisting people don’t use Apple Maps as it could well threaten their lives. Ridiculous. This kind of screw-up was not ideal at all and helped chip away at the company’s reputation in the eyes of the Great Unwashed.

Fast forward a few quarters and goodness me. It’s been so bad — Apple’s felt so threatened — they’re wheeling out senior executives to pop up and try and distract attention from Samsung’s launch. This… THIS… from a company that is famously too busy to even publicly attend tradeshows like Mobile World Congress because they’re “too busy making great products for their customers”.

Phil from Apple wasn’t too busy last week, was he, when he was trying to stick the knife into Samsung. It didn’t translate at all well in the media.

I think it’s fair to say that Apple is concerned by it’s mindshare position. This is good. Instead of messing around trying to criticise Samsung (or anyone else) for doing something new, it’s about time you got on with making some great products, Apple. Let the innovation, the products and the resulting delight do the talking for you.

What a fascinating time it is in the marketplace.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

6 replies on “Apple’s getting the Nokia treatment and doesn’t like it”


BTW Their comments last week about having to sign in to numerous services from Android was just wrong. And people know that now.

Apple will always be Apple, and because of that, will always have their customer and fan base regardless of what Samsung, Blackberry, or Microsoft come out with. Others may indeed put out better products, but Apple will always have their day for the foreseeable future. Their fan base is just too strong. And their products, though with faults here and there, still define luxury and ease and top of the line…and still gain the “oohs” and “ahhs” from normobs…

The issue with Apple is that they still believe there’s a reality distortion field in place, but that was Steve’s RDF and it stopped with him. Now they have to conduct themselves like other companies.

Actually things change quite quickly in mobile telephony. It’s only 6-7 years ago that Nokia and Motorola seemed unassailable. The objective of the first iphone, a real game changer, was very modest – ie sell something like 1m phones in 18 months. Look how things snowballed from there. Apple have become a little lazy and a bit arrogant. They need to work harder but there has been a faint whiff of panic recently so I don’t know what to expect from them this year. I bought an iPhone last time and I am happy with it but I am not sure I will do so again.

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