Apple versus Google: No comparison

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Apple versus Google: No comparison
Am I the only one who gets annoyed by the never-ending doomsday articles that profile Apple as "struggling" to maintain its market share, and doomed to lose a "bitter battle" to Google's Android? Has it ever occurred to anyone that it's like comparing the proverbial Apples - no pun intended - to Oranges? Or rather, it's like comparing a Rolls Royce to a Toyota.

Unlike Google, which makes Android openly available to a whole host of handset manufacturers (most recently Amazon's Kindle), targeting a mainstream audience and wide distribution, Apple has taken a more controlled approach to capturing the smartphone market. Very much like Rolls Royce, which targets the luxury market, so too is Apple targeting a higher end of the market. Indeed, the new Apple iPhone 5, which will debut later today, reaffirms Apple's position in the market place. High-end at a premium price with features, content and an end-to-end user experience superior to that offered by the competition. But if Steve Jobs, Tim Cook & Co. wanted to, I believe Apple could easily introduce and flood the market with lower priced devices and new form factors (e.g. with keyboards, clamshell, candy bars, etc.) to capture a much larger market share. However, Apple would risk losing its mystique for having superior and exclusive products that deserve to be priced at a premium. In essence, just imagine how customers would react if Rolls Royce were to introduce a Fiat-sized vehicle at 10 percent of the price. Or even better yet, Rolls Royce could just license its brand name to a dozen other automobile manufacturers to produce whatever cars they deemed appropriate. Clearly, that's not Apple's strategic objective. So please, let's stop comparing Apple's to Google's oranges.

About the author: Andre Popov is a partner in Peppers & Rogers Group's Telecommunications, Internet and Media (TIME) practice. Contact him at andre.popov@peppersandrogersgroup.com.
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