It’s official – Apple management finally got wind of my “IPhone Killer” series of posts, and that proved to be the last gallon of “gas” needed poured on the already “burning bridge”to spur them to action. A great day on so many levels – nothing like alittle bit of self-recognition, albeit delusional – but I’ll tell youwho wishes they were dreaming – AT&T folks. They are so not happy this morning…
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The blogosphere was buzzing about this last night – it came through on my Twitter streamfastand furious, but I was dead tired after a weekend of ”backyardconstruction” (or destruction) activity. So I let it go until thismorning, but the buzz is even louder now with the mainstream press now taking hold of the story.
The rumour - if we can still call itthat with a straight face – is that Apple is in talks with Verizon tocarry two new phones for Apple — a lower price point ”iPhoneLite” (thought Jobs would never callit that would he?) and a “media pad” (think mini-Tablet) device thatwould be more of an “entertainment” hub and target the need many havethat is less ‘phone’ centric and more ‘media’ focused.
As I’ve written about previously,this market is not ideal for “premium players” as the value propositionbecomes much more cost-conscious than in better times. This is not aparadigm shift unique to the tech world – it is happening everywhere -so offering more “value-centric” devices with the same “Apple-esque”experience, makes a lot of sense from a strategic perspective.
Apple has also pretty much said itdoes not care to enter the “netbook” market, so it would be just likethem to take a market “like the tablet” and do to it what it does sowell – redefine it, focusing on outcomes the customer is looking for(think they are reading Malcolm Gladwell?) – and do what predecessorshave been unable to do – make it a “must have” that itself defines thespace. I love the potential of tablets – I mean what“Star Trek affecionado” wouldn’t? It’s just that the implementations upto now have been pretty weak.
And then there is AT&T and this news is not good for them. The IPhone is largely responsible for AT&T subscriber growth, andrecenly released Verizon growth numbers show that even with thesole-vendor lock on the IPhone, AT&T is still a distant second inthe growth category. Many also applauded the AT&T win 3 years agonow, when they “partnered” with Apple and agreed to keep their “handsoff” the device from a branding and application perspective. This isin contrast to Verizon’s style of “strong branding” and application“infusing” into platforms they carry.
For me, this is another example ofSteve Jobs and the “art of negotiation” – AT&T left themselves wideopen because at the end of the day, they are just a “dump pipe” reallynot adding any value to the IPhone experience. Does an IPhone user“care” that they are on AT&T? Do they even “know” apart from theinvoicing relationship they have with AT&T? And that’s *not* arelationship, that is a “transaction”. I’m not an MBA graduate, buteven I know this is not a solid brand strategy.
So Verizon will swoop in – with Apple is “clearly tired” of all thisIPhone bashingKiller talk – the “Steve Jobs Management Team” is taking no prisoners. They are going to hit this hard, on the heels of their phenomenaliTunes App Store Success – and they want to make sure that neither a Pre nor an Android will stand in their way!
Sounds a bit like this “Blogging Idol” too around this competition. Bottom line – competition is good. (Thanks Chris!)