Tech CEO’s Resort to Bashing the IPhone

The IPhone is extremely popular, not only because of the technology present but also the feelings people associate with the IPhone. The IPhone is almost universally viewed as sleek, fashionable, and cool. When some people see others with a flip phone they look down on them and think it is strange. Flocks of middle school children go home to their parents and whine “Everyone at school has an IPhone, I need one or else everyone will laugh at me!” This is due to Apple building a powerful brand. A brand is defined, as we talked about in class, as the feelings that a consumer associates a certain logo or company with. Apple has built a brand that represents innovation, high status, trendiness, and style through their designing and advertising. Their advertisements are very stylized and recognizable, showing off some of the more unique and cool applications of their products, all with a catchy song playing in the background. Just look at this ad for the IPhone.

This success of the IPhone seems to be upsetting certain CEO’s of rival companies. Nokia’s Stephen Elop and BlackBerry’s Thorsten Heins in recent weeks have taken to the practice of bashing the IPhone instead of advertising their own products. This clearly shows that they are feeling the pressure from Apple. As you can see in the picture below, Nokia’s Stephen Elop appeared on a Finnish talk show, and grabbed the host’s IPhone, tossed it to the ground, and muttered that it was “embarrassing” how low tech the IPhone now is compared to Nokia’s new phones. BlackBerry’s Thorsten Heins declared in an interview that “The user interface on the iPhone, with all due respect for what this invention was all about, is now five years old.”

This causes me to wonder if these two CEO’s have a point, no matter how childish their antics are of insulting the IPhone. Or are they just grasping at straws and trying to be controversial in order to get back in the spotlight? It causes me to think about the ideas of brand that we spoke of in class the other day. Even if Nokia or Blackberry did have superior technology to Apple’s IPhone would it even matter? People would still buy IPhones because of the feelings associated with Apple products that make people feel cool, stylish and part of the “in” crowd.

Apple’s domination in the phone market has made me realize how much a brand can do for a company. The Apple logo is universally recognized and it brings up similar feelings about the company. If a company has a powerful brand it can spark longtime steady profits even if it is passed up in quality by another lesser known company, and I find this to be a very interesting and powerful thing to have.

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10 thoughts on “Tech CEO’s Resort to Bashing the IPhone

  1. I definitely do agree that Apple is associated with feelings such as innovation, modern, and sleek. I recently read an article commenting about how the IPhone’s IOS platform has not changed since 2007, while the android’s platform is constantly changing. Looking through specs of current cellphones, I would have to say that most smartphones are on par, if not better than the IPhone. Although I am not a personal fan of the IPhone (even though I am typing on my mac), I do understand the concept of brand loyalty. I have always been a fan of Samsung smartphones because they give a feeling of being a “renegade” through their commercials mocking Apple. Although I have heard the new HTC and LG phones are quite spectacular, I haven’t given them anytime of day because I already feel a loyal to Samsung.
    I think this is the same with fans of the IPhone, although it may not be a better device, the connection they have with the brand blinds them from seeing the lack of innovation the IPhone has seen through the years. The IPhone 4s was hardly an upgrade from the IPhone 4 and the screen size of the IPhone 5 is tiny compared to other smartphones. However, I do believe that the Apple products are still the product to beat; CEO’s bashing the IPhone just shows how big of a competition the IPhone is. Ultrabooks were created to go up against the MacBook Air, which makes the Air look like the frontrunner of the race.
    I understand the CEO’s frustrations, but I believe that bashing the IPhone will only create more publicity for the IPhone. Instead of trying to market their phones in a better light, bashing the IPhone makes it seem like their phones are still not good enough that they actually have to resort to snippy attacks.

  2. The beginning of this post connected most with me the most as it related brand loyalty with the double-edged sword effect of technology. Although this technology is having one of the biggest impacts on business, I feel that this new movement is equally affecting the population of children younger than us. People, and especially the younger generation, are becoming more connected and attached to their phones rather than to the peers around them. Additionally, the Apple brand, which as Mei Fan-Cui commented “is associated with feelings such as innovation, modern, and sleek”, only makes the iPhone and other Apple products that more popular.
    In response to the blog post and the competing CEO’s bashing on the iPhone, even though other smartphones may have an advantage with superior technology or a better user interface, I again agree with Mei that “Apple products are still the product to beat”. If rival companies are constantly putting Apple on a pedestal, like how Samsung mocks them in their commercials or even the CEO of Nokia who threw the host’s iPhone on the ground, then customers will also have the same mentality.

  3. Brand Recognition. First and foremost, it’s interesting how marketing and expectations can turn people into robots. And it’s been this way for a long time. But you walk into to a store, a store you’ve been to many times, and you know what to expect from them. Apple is no different. You expect the floor-to-ceiling glass doors and walls. You expect the nerdy tech geeks who know the answer to practically any question you ask. You expect Apple’s sleek, smart, state of the art technology. But it takes a lot less time for a brand to lose its immaculate reputation than it does to earn it. I think Blackberry and Samsung and Nokia are making interesting arguments against Apple’s products. Yes their interface hasn’t been updated in a while, so they have a right to take shots at them. Is it pathetic? Yes. Is it a business strategy to bring headlines to their own respective companies? Most Likely. But the questions they have raised haven’t been shot down by Apple as has happened in the past. Maybe they have a card up their sleeve. Maybe they don’t.

  4. Apple certainly has captured the heart of consumers with their advertising. Apple has incredibly high brand loyalty. Furthermore, I agree that Apple has not had many truly awe-inspiring innovations on the iPhone. It certainly works better and faster, but new editions don’t seem to have anything ground breaking. Therefore, it may be in the best interest of CEOs to make fun of the iPhone, and make consumers feel foolish for their misguided love for it. Their new products are supposed to be incredible, but I have never considered getting one.

    There are, however, two important things to consider. First, the interface of other smartphones is different from the iPhone. This means that consumers have to adapt to a new interface if they switch to a new smartphone. Consumers have grown accustomed to the iPhone, so it is not surprising that they may be wary about a new product. Secondly, the iPhone has a network that goes along with its brand loyalty. By “network”, I mean that a lot of people own iPhones. Especially with imessaging, it is advantageous to have an iPhone if all of your friends also have iPhones. Therefore, other smartphone manufacturers have more then just brand loyalty to break through.

  5. It seems to me that Nokia and Blackberry CEO’s are fearful of how powerful Apple has become as a brand name. The majority of students on this campus, let alone most of the United States, are completely familiar with all of Apple’s products such as televisions, computers, phones, and iPods. These CEO’s aren’t oblivious; they understand that their businesses are not as successful due to this empire Steve Jobs had created. I understand that a CEO should be confident in their product and favor it over any others, but down-talking the iPhone without the main focus being on their own product seems quite desperate.

    I also find it kind of crazy that all of these corporations are worried about the popularity of Apple where in reality, Apple only owns 23% of the global smartphone market. In today’s world, Android owns approximately 56% of the global smart phone market, leaving them far above the rest. So, is Apple’s “empire” a real part of the market or just a distorted picture in our heads covering up Android?

  6. I must agree that brand recognition is a major force that can lead to the success of a brand. This fact alone is why companies spend significant portions of their time and money on marketing campaigns. Apple is a prime example of a company that has used marketing to excel and move past competitors. Their sleek and clean advertising makes their products desirable and portray their products as “user friendly,” a key factor in a customer’s decision to purchase a specific piece of technology.

    Though I can not predict what will happen in the future, I have been astounded by the number of Apple products that have been taking over the market in recent years. Once more of a luxury good, the iPhone is now the device that the majority of individuals in communities I am a part of now own. I am unsure of what will happen in the coming years but I do not believe that Apple will die quickly with the brand recognition it has built up. Now not only known for their sleek, user friendly products, Apple is also known to be reliable and innovative. For these reasons I can see why the CEO’s of rival companies are disappointed and aggravated with Apple’s resulting share of the market for smart phones. I am not an expert on emerging technologies, however, I would not hesitate to say that even if Nokia or Blackberry produce better technology than Apple, Apple’s strong customer base will stick around and Nokia and Blackberry will ultimately continue to be disappointed.

  7. I definitely believe that branding has helped Apple rise to the top, but I think another factor that has been instrumental in Apple’s success with the iPhone would be switching costs. We discussed in class the other day about how switching costs may cause a person to stick with one company, even if there are better alternatives. Because the iPod was the gold standard of MP3 players for years, many people, myself included, kept all of their music, movies, apps, etc on iTunes. When I finally decided to ditch my basic feature phone for a smartphone, I would have loved a Droid or Galaxy but decided to go with the iPhone 5 because all of my multimedia was on iTunes and could be simply uploaded onto my new iPhone in a matter of minutes with no hassle. I definitely feel that by dominating the MP3 market for years with the help of iTunes, Apple got a huge head start on all of its competitors in the smartphone market by establishing switching costs.

  8. First, I’d like to say that the most surprising part of this article is that Nokia is still around let alone claiming to have better technology than Apple. My first phone was a Nokia and even back then I hated it.

    I agree that Apple has branded there product in a way that they are universally recognized to have sleek and user friendly interfaces as well as loyal customers that tend to purchase Apple products. Personally, I’m a repeat Apple customer. I have an iPhone, a Mac computer and an iPod. My family collectively has 6 Mac computers, 6 iPhones and an iPad. The brand Apple creates loyalty in a customer. I’d be willing to bet that most people with iPhones have Mac computers to go with it.

    In terms of technology, it is very possible that Apple doesn’t have the “highest” technology out there. However, the normal iPhone user doesn’t necessarily need the highest technology available. They need an interface that is easy to handle and work with, something that is efficient and can handle all the tasks they require of it. This might not be the highest technology, and that’s okay because Apples branding and, more than anything, their user friendly interface that just seems to flow, will keep their customers coming back for more and out of the hands of Nokia and Blackberry.

  9. Branding is such a powerful force in selling a product. It seems like Apple has perfected it as seen by the way people think about their products. As you said when thinking of Apple the words “sleek, fashionable, and cool” come to mind. It has been engrained into us that Apple has the best products that you need to own which greatly contributes to its amazing success. I believe that these CEOs bashing the iPhone are not making the smart move as the iPhone is such a highly regarded product, thanks to branding. Bashing it might turn people away from them as it is such a beloved product.

  10. While bashing the iPhone may point out some valid flaws, these CEOs are missing the point. They will not tarnish Apple’s brand, they will only damage theirs. They need to fight fire with fire. Instead they are coming off as petty. They seem like sore losers who know they are getting beat, and will continue to lose.

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