It’s been a rough few weeks for Apple.
First the widespread questions about the 3G handsets quality, which turned out to be an issue with the AT&T network. Looming problems with the quality of the iPhone 2.0 Firmware with crashing applications. Huge security flaw exposing private information at risk if someone gets a hold of your phone even if its locked. More applications pulled from the store sure to anger the users. Being called out for misleading advertising. More user anguish over the censorship of eBooks. This goes on top of the already anxious audience, angry developers and questions of how bad Apple is failing in virtually everything it does. And this doesn’t even touch MobileMe.
Now on the flip side, iPhone (and it’s 3G cousin) are the fastest and best selling smartphone on the market. It is taking clients from other handset makers and other networks at an alarming rate. In the enterprise where Apple doesn’t even have a story to tell the market share has quadrupled from about 1% to 4% and shows no sign of talking a break. It’s competition is fumbling at seemingly all steps: Microsoft has no answer for the iPhone and probably won’t for years – I’m convinced that Microsoft isn’t even looking for one – adopting the same ol’ Apple is not our competition, we give customers choice and our partners design the interfaces that we will steal when they become too powerful. Google for their part is being questioned about the launch time, about handset availability, about pulling features from the new SDK. Microsoft and Google are still struggling to bring together a single working collaboration environment in the cloud, so while MobileMe certainly leaves a lot to be desired it’s miles ahead of where Google and Microsoft want to be in terms of consumers and small business startups.
What really matters?
So in all this fury of triumphs and tragedies, what does really matter?
What does an entrepreneur look to in order to replicate success or avoid pitfalls?
There is the loser talk – success is what you define it, how you look at it and what makes you happy. Bull.
Then there is the reality – success is measured on a balance sheet and how much money you’ve made over how much money you were expected to make.
Is Apple, by all accounts, doing phenomenally better and far more than anyone expects? Is it not coming back from the brink of obscurity in the IT space, showing up in places where nobody expects them? Is it not bending the consumers over on DRM, privacy, reliability, pricing, flexibility and taking in more money than ever thought possible?
Always, always count the money. That is what business is all about.