20090909

Crouching Snow Leopard, Hidden Booklet

According to GfK, Apple knocked Nokia out of the second spot in France last July : Samsung still led with 27% of the market (in value), but Apple reached 25%, leaving Nokia far behind with 16.9%. In volumes, the Samsung - Nokia - LG trio (36.1% - 21.7% - 12.1%) remains well ahead of Apple (8%).
As we saw earlier (ie "
Nokia's Ovi Store - a follower-leader"), the Cupertino brand's rise as a power player in smartphones met surprisingly little resistance from the Finnish giant.

But Apple is not neglecting its original business. Snow Leopard upgrades come for as cheap as $29, sending the right message to people stuck to Windows or considering Windows 7 : don't think of it as just a one shot operation but a completely different customer experience and value proposition, guys. We're cheaper, upgrading is cheaper with us, and guess what, upgrading can even free some space on your laptop !

It would be cruel to mention Nokia's $850 Booklet 3G Netbook after that but I have to. Maybe it's a good product. It has all the connectivity and security you can dream of, but it's very expensive.

So is this asymetrical war over ?

No : Nokia has the global power to refresh parts other manufacturers cannot reach, and enough brain to consider hiring new marketers. Furthermore, Apple is enjoying the success of one line of devices, very much the way it did back in the eighties. It is not fit to lead in technology, design will pass away, and the Apps editor / retailer dimension is becoming less and less differentiating. Differentiation itself is getting more and more challenging. Besides, Apple will not win the OS war, and this time he will not be defeated by a quasi-monopoly : the industry shall settle for commoditization on a more open basis... preferably not Google's Android but some may go for the quick fix, anything to get outta here.

That said, in the short term and medium term, Apple's position remains definitely more comfortable than rivals who keep planting seeds everywhere, bracing themselves for the next champions from China.



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