Tony Poulos Tony Poulos Market Strategist - TM Forum

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Patently predictable response to iPad success

  • Let me admit up front that I am a confessed Appleholic.  I have three Macs in my house, three iPhones and one Apple Airport Extreme. I wouldn’t call myself a an Apple evangelist but I like all the products I have bought from Apple over the years, especially the software. I don’t have Windows running on anything but I do use Microsoft Office for Mac because I have to comply with a number of work contracts that insist on it. I much prefer to use Apple’s own iWork products because they are basic, intuitive and any idiot , like me, can use them and produce excellent documents, spreadsheets and presentations.

     
    However, I was not planning on rushing out to buy an iPad.  When it was first mooted it looked just like an e-reader on steroids. I don’t read many books but I read countless RSS feeds, emails and news wires each day plus a smattering of magazines which I have delivered directly to my Mac via Zinio, brilliant. Of course, this means that I have to have one of my Macs going all day which also means sitting at a desk. Apart from that, it’s all email responses or writing blogs.
     
    Hey, hang on a minute, I can do all of that on an iPad! Plus I can read lying down! Maybe I should rethink my decision, which brings me to the point of this blog -
     
    It seems, once again, that Apple has created a new market segment, single-handedly that will soon be crowded with ‘wannabees’. If news reports are correct, after seeing the phenomenal success of early iPad sales everyone else seems to be planning their own iPad killer. Nokia, Samsung and Hewlett-Packard are amongst the contenders mentioned already with devices running everything from Android, Windows Phone, Linux, Chrome, etc etc.
     
    This begs the question - why didn’t they think of it first? Maybe if they spent a bit more on R&D or even bothered to ask consumers what they wanted occasionally they would come up with something revolutionary. It can’t be a coincidence that Apple does it consistently.
     
    And while I’m on the subject of creativity, am I the only one that doesn't understand the never-ending patent battles that seem to crop up every time something becomes successful in the market place? Don’t get me wrong, I understand that innovation needs some protection for its creator, but why do patent offices grant really basic processes to be patented, thus creating an environment for constant litigation.This diverts funds from R&D to the pockets of lawyers.
     
    I remember a landmark case a few years back where a patent had been granted for ‘access and delivery of emails via a mobile device’ or something equally ridiculous. The patent basically outlined what had been happening via a PC and replaced it with the humble mobile phone. Sure, it was granted many years before it actually happened but was so generic the owner of the patent was able to sue anybody that even looked like they were handling email via mobiles. Get my gist?
     
    If technology vendors want to be technology leaders they should be investing in the creation of new ideas and new technology instead of waiting for somebody else to do it then buying them out or suing competitors that do make the investment. What a novel concept!
    Tony Poulos
    About Tony Poulos Tony Poulos works as Market Strategist at TM Forum
    More information : www.tmforum.org