Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Good News, Walkman Beats iPod…

According to BCS, near-realtime provider of ITC and digital home appliances sales data, the Walkman—yes, the brand lives—beat the ubiquitous iPod in retail sales last month for the first time since BCS began keeping score almost nine months ago, in 2001 November. Bad news? The real winner was the iPhone, which appears to have cannibalized iPod sales. Plus, iPod is about to launch new models.

Never mind the new iPod models, how’s the Xperia doing?

8 comments:

Janne Morén said...

The Xperia seems to do fine, considering the sales since it was released.

I like mine :)

And with Android-based phones overtaking iPhone in the largest markets, I suspect we'll see a repeat of the PC wars, with the Apple offering becoming the rarer boutique brand. A role I suspect Apple and its fans are not too unhappy with.

Jun Okumura said...

A role I suspect Apple and its fans are not too unhappy with.

Its hardcore fans probably, Janne, but Apple itself? That would defeat the purpose of bringing back Steven Jobs, wouldn’t it?

Janne Morén said...

I don't think so. If anything, Jobs seems to be driving that line. He killed off all Apple's attempts at mainstreaming themselves when he returned after all.

And the lack of alternatives - you can have any model telephone as long as you pick the singe one we offer - seems also to point toward an idea of doing a very specific lineup for a specific subset of customers and doing it well.

Being the largest manufacturer isn't the only way to make money after all; being the exclusive, high-end one can be as profitable a niche, and possibly safer, than being the top maker. Safer, that is, as long as you can keep tracking cultural trends and keep delivering fresh designs.

Jun Okumura said...

Janne: If your point is that Jobs has always aimed at creating a cultish niche market for his latest innovations (I may have misunderstood you), then I strongly disagree. With him, I think that it’s always been about proprietary control under an overarching vision that is perfectly compatible with market domination. In fact, I would argue that a monopoly is the optimal outcome of Apple’s actions under Jobs. That this business model failed with his original PCs doesn’t mean that he hasn’t been laughing all the way to the bank with his iPods and iPhones.

Janne Morén said...

Not cultish, but an air of exclusivity. Which is not necessarily opposed to market domination, but which certainly doesn't need it.

Porsche would certainly not have minded becoming a dominant car maker (and they are dominant in the niche of high-performance sports cars), but their business and model design never aimed for that. Prices are too high, and the model variety too low for that.

Again, it's a good strategy, and one that complements the one of becoming largest and competing on size efficiency. In a way their current dominance in smartphones is accidental; they found and exploited a new niche - the non-business smartphone - and became largest in that niche by default. It's worth noting that despite the media exposure the iPhone was never close to becoming the most popular smartphone overall; RIM is still the largest maker by far.

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