Web strategist Thierry de Baillon suggests Apple’s continued ability to surprise the world with simple products — often without the complex add-ons that tech enthusiasts hunger for — is because it focuses on what people do and not what they want. We responded with this:
In terms of strategy, Apple reminds me of Michael Treacy’s “Discipline of Market Leaders,” in which Treacy proposed there are three basic focal points for business: product innovation, customer service, or operations/low cost. Companies in the same industry can take different positions; IBM, for instance, in the 1970s was customer service-focused, trying to be all things to all people (Dell has taken the customer position since the 1990s with customizable computers and products aligned with consumer segmentation). Apple is all about product innovation — and to hell with focus groups. This is not right or wrong, smart or stupid; it’s merely a focused company strategy that helps Apple lead in a certain area.
Apple leads because it really is not a technology, software or computer company — it’s a design company. It makes tech products pure enough that people lust for them, and for that Apple can charge a premium. A lot of people whined that the tablet missed features (webcams etc.) and cost too much. Of course. Apple will gradually reduce the price while adding feature upgrades as it pushes that device into the broader market masses.
For Apple, innovative design wins. It’s not for everybody, but it certainly is a focused market position.