Apple’s Platform Strategy: Consumer Champion

Apple’s Platform Strategy: Consumer Champion

I’m trying to read the tea leaves on Apple and it seems they have devised a unique.. brilliant platform strategy around securing consumer data. I think of it as the anti-Google strategy.  As we see so much commonality between the functionality of IOS and Android.. along with the associated legal wrestling, what could Apple do that would be something Google never could?

Per my previous blog Apple and Physical Commerce, Apple has an unmatched level of trust with the consumer, and ability to change consumer behavior. I also outlined how Apple is completely reworking the role of authentication in the platform (see this great article from Networked World), this work, combined with Apple’s efforts to limit ad tracking are frustrating advertisers (see Tech times ). But there is hidden genius in all of these mechanizations.  Apple seems to be making a bet that there will be a tsunami of coming issues with privacy and anonymity. In this they are turning themselves into the ultimate consumer protector… both online and in the physical world.  They are the gatekeeper… the only entity that can know what a consumer is doing.

How can they monetize this role? In hardware sales…  Don’t look at them as an ad business.. (although they could build it later).. but right now protecting your consumer from data leakage and loss is a VERY big competitive differentiator, a feature that is particularly well aligned to Apple’s demographic. It is also a very hard one for Google/Android to match.



5 thoughts on “Apple’s Platform Strategy: Consumer Champion”

  1. Apple has ALWAYS been customer-first. The reason it’s hard for other companies, analysts, Wall Street, etc to understand is that everyone says that as part of their marketing. It’s de rigueur corporate BS. But Apple actually lives it.

    In 2006 everyone knew cell phones sucked wind, and technical people knew one big reason was that carriers are not software shops (and thus by limiting apps in an attempt to monetize them made their platforms inhospitable to innovation). So Apple found a way to convince one company (Cingular/ATT) that they could profit in a new way by selling what they were (sort of) “good” at (data) and letting Apple drive what they were good at (software/hardware integration). All that great hardware and software design was DEPLOYED in the service of improving the product from the customer’s perspective.

    But still today, virtually no one gets it. A good exercise is to watch the Steve Jobs interviews at the various D conferences run by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, at the time arguably the best journalists in tech:

    In the 2010 video there are numerous examples where he emphatically talks about making the best products for customers.

    11:56 – Answer about Flash on iPhone
    23:33 – Answer about PC platform wars
    28:19 – Watch his expression regarding a question about removing Google apps from iPhone: Incredulous they would think Apple might make a worse customer experience on purpose out of spite for Google.

    People think this is the corporate marketing/PR BS but he’s telling the core truth of their decision-making.

    Your post it right on. Apple has “devised a unique.. brilliant platform strategy” — and they have done this from the start. Apple is far from altruistic, but if you view them as a customer advocate with refined taste and high style you can take the thesis much further.

    Remember, they’re a California company started by a hippie, failed when the suits took over, and succeeded again when the hippies returned. I’m not sure why hippies, peace, love, and understanding get such a bad rap — if you apply those principles to operating within capitalism you can do pretty well over the long run. If a business focuses on profit alone, cost-reducing the product, service, or customer experience along the way, then you get the current clusterf*ck of of the banking / payments system, most of retail, and most of consumer packaged goods.

    1. Fantastic contribution. Thanks so much for taking the time. This kind of comment exemplifies what I would love to create here.. the reason I’m doing this blog in the first place. Too many of my friends have invested (and lost) capital in pursuit of ideas that would have changed if they had a better informed view of the environment. G2 surrounding payments, mobile, platforms and networks is too closely held…. we need MORE experts.. lets stop building the SAME tinkertoy designs over and over again. I’m so excited for Apple, what a tremendous team. I sure do hope they don’t let the banks lock up their platform in a bank box (or wrap it in one).

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