Apple CEO: Our Competitors are “Confused”

by Matt Klassen on October 23, 2013

Largely devoid of customers one could almost imagine the crickets sounding loudly and the tumble weeds rolling by outside Microsoft stores across the country on Monday, evidence, sadly, that no one is interested in the company’s new Surface 2 tablet series. While some may chalk up this paucity of paying customers and apparent lack of consumer interest to the fact that Microsoft doesn’t really do ‘hype,’ perhaps its enough to lend credence to Apple CEO Tim Cook’s controversial statement during his company’s own tablet rollout yesterday, when he noted that Apple’s tablet competition are “confused.”

“The competition is different…they are confused,” Cook said. “They chased after netbooks. Now they are trying to make PCs into tablets and tablets into PCs. Who knows what they will do next? I can’t answer that question, but I can tell we have a very clear direction and very ambitious goals. We still believe deeply in this category and we are not slowing down on innovation. We have been really hard at work on the Mac and we have exciting new products.”

While of course Cook didn’t name names, he really didn’t have to, as its clear that he had Microsoft and its bevy of PC vendors in his sights, and whether he statement is accurate or not, its at least good to see a little bravado back in Apple’s product rollouts.

At first blush one can’t help but agree with Tim Cook, with the iPad Air being the latest tablet from the Cupertino tech giant to take the world by storm, it still seems that every other tablet maker is waiting in the wings, unsure of how to dethrone the product that effectively created the tablet market and has dominated it ever since. Everything Apple’s tablet competition does seems confused from that perspective, until you realize that perhaps they’re not trying to compete with Apple at all.

In comparison to the iPhone, Apple’s iPad line is still relatively fresh, meaning it still has considerable momentum in the consumer market. People want iPads like they used to want iPhones. As we’ve seen in the mobile segment, the best way to combat Apple’s dominance is flood the market with comparable cheaper alternatives, a strategy that has allowed Samsung to dominate with its Android-powered Galaxy franchise. Soon the same will happen to the tablet market, as its really just a matter of time before making the iPad lighter, or improving its camera, or incrementally upgrading its features just doesn’t cut it.

Looking deeper, Cook’s dig at Microsoft and its PC brethren seems misplaced. Microsoft isn’t trying to compete with the iPad with its own Surface series—at least not directly—its trying to create its own market niche, the PC/tablet hybrid, producing a tablet that has the functionality of a PC. Whether its confused for trying to eek out its own segment of the tablet space I can’t really say, all I know is that had Microsoft attempted to compete directly against the iPad we would be using a different adjective to describe its endeavours, “stupid.”

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Written by: Matt Klassen. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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