My Photo

Ordering Information

Tomi on Twitter is @tomiahonen

  • Follow Tomi on Twitter as @tomiahonen
    Follow Tomi's Twitterfloods on all matters mobile, tech and media. Tomi has over 8,000 followers and was rated by Forbes as the most influential writer on mobile related topics

Book Tomi T Ahonen to Speak at Your Event

  • Contact Tomi T Ahonen for Speaking and Consulting Events
    Please write email to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com and indicate "Speaking Event" or "Consulting Work" or "Expert Witness" or whatever type of work you would like to offer. Tomi works regularly on all continents

Tomi on Video including his TED Talk

  • Tomi on Video including his TED Talk
    See Tomi on video from several recent keynote presentations and interviews, including his TED Talk in Hong Kong about Augmented Reality as the 8th Mass Media

Subscribe


Blog powered by Typepad

« So What Do We Learn From the Nokia N1 Tablet on Android? | Main | Bizarre Stat of the Day: Microsoft (and Nokia) have only achieved 50M Lumia activations? Seriously? Out of 76M shipments? What happened to the other 26M? Seriously! Tossed into garbage by retail? »

December 23, 2014

Comments

Tester

@John F:

Yeah, sure. Samsung certainly has done some serious missteps in the past year, and they also got burned by the Chinese offensive. They still made good profit this year. They will certainly analyze what went wrong and work on it.

If there's something Samsung is not, it's being short of money. Most importantly, Samsung is creating lots of different products, they can afford some section to underperform for a year or two.

If this came from Apple, things would indeed be different, because iOS is Apple's major source of revenue and profit. If that tanked, Apple would be in serious trouble because they are far, far less diverse than a huge conglomerate like Samsung which can cross-finance their divisions if some run into temporary trouble.

In that regard, Apple is a lot closer to Nokia, with a very narrow spectrum of products to offer, and far, far more sensitive to problems with these products.

RottenApple

It says a lot that the ones who claim that Samsung is in trouble are all staunch supporters of Apple and its insane profit machine...


Let's be clear: A company is in trouble when it makes losses over multiple quarters.
Samsung just had a decline of profits. That decline was inevitable, considering that the entire smartphone market will have to adjust to lower prices. Samsung had to be the first 'victim' of this development by default, because they offer devices in all segments of the market.

I just wonder what will happen with Apple, once the rest of the market firmly establishes itself in the sub $250 segment, even for phones that are currently considered 'premium'. If we have a look at the PC market, yes, Macs cost more than Windows PCs - but not THAT much more. For a good model you pay maybe $200 more.

If we translate that pricing to mobile it's quite clear that Apple's current pricing of $100-$150 about the Android premium segment is just in the same range. But I have my serious doubts that they can afford for this to grow larger. Buying a $700 phone that's on the same level as a competing $250 phone is hardly a compelling offer as the price difference easily overshadows the migration costs.

So what should we conclude from this:

Apple cannot afford that the premium Android segment dries out. If it does, the price difference just becomes too steep that it may sway those customers who are not too thoroughly locked into their 'ecosystem' (or, as I prefer to say: 'poison pond'! :D )

I think that this is something that gets grossly overlooked by many iFans. Apple's products still need a baseline to compete against - if their prices have no bearing compared to the rest of the market, the product will be of less interest to some of their current customers.

I think premium phones only sell so well because many users haven't realized yet how good lower mid-range phones have become by now. Two years ago this was a night-and-day difference in performance and I think we can safely assume that this same assumption is still being made. But as it stands, many of these phones my company has bought over the last year for application testing are really getting close to more expensive models. So this has to initiate a downward spiral in pricing rather sooner than later, but if that happens, Apple's phones will suddenly be twice as expensive as all the competition - and that's just not going to work out unless these costs are hidden in convoluted contracts with subsidies - which we all know are a dying business model in most parts of the world.

Gonzo

@John F.

You are comparing apples to oranges, but there is some truth in your comparison.

Like Microsoft, Apple is an ecosystem approaching a billion devices ( Microsoft build the empire with around 1.3 billion ), from computers to services, hardware and software, payment systems and interlocked devices and even now apparel and fashion ( Tag Heur calls the iWatch a Tsunami, the people who KNOWS calls it a Tsunami ).
It took 30 years for Microsoft to shake a bit and now they are re inventing themselves, Apple is not going away anytime soon but it is very little understood as a company because people compares them to Samsung ( of all companies !)

This is a pro android and pro samsung/android blog, you have never seen and will never see any incendiary statement or headline about Samsung/android, even when things get red hot.

Now, in mobil, Samsung became just a commodity trader, their phones are already just that, a commodity and loosing that huge % in China just shows that the aspirational company the hoped to build is just not going to happen. Keep in mind that China is the largest market for everything, you might be number "last" in Portugal and Senegal, who cares, but China is critical, so the "some truth" in your statement is that Samsung, like Acer are just raiders of the android wave, who in reality rules and dictates and controls the ecosystem, like Microsoft did.

What people struggles to understand is that a billion user ecosystem is self sustainable and that the loyalty and aspirational branding of apple like that of Porsche ( even Tomi acknowledges that) is unique and has been around for over 30 years and counting BUT they are in their re inventing mode just for a few years.

Don't waste your time discussing that over here, it's like telling a BB user like me that the keyboard is outdated, hahaha !

RottenApple

@Gonzo:

"Don't waste your time discussing that over here, it's like telling a BB user like me that the keyboard is outdated, hahaha !"


For me that sentence translates to 'I am right and you are wrong, now shut up!

What you Apple fans fail to understand that Apple is in absolutely no position that can compare with Microsoft. Microsoft owned the PC desktop market - there just was no way to get around them.
That's not how mobile is. The only metric in which Apple is the undisputed leader is profits. Not market share, not app deployment and in most countries not even app revenue anymore.

All it needs to bring this down is for someone else to bring the next iPhone-like disruption.
That's entirely different from Microsoft. Even the mobile disruption did little to endanger their core business, all the problems they have come from getting sidetracked by some investors' wet dreams of infinite mobile riches.

Re. China:

Yes, it's the biggest market, but it's also the one where you are completely at the mercy of the government's whim. If they want you out they fix the game to get you out. End of story. I wouldn't draw any conclusions for the rest of the world from what happens in China. The Chinese upstarts will have enough problems to sell their product elsewhere. Their reputation is not really the greatest in countries where people have sufficient access to free information.

John F.

@Rottenapple

You mention

not app deployment ( 1 )

and in most countries not even app revenue anymore. ( 2 )

Apple is the ONLY company that reports numbers in such exact and detail way

( 1 ) December 10/2014 - The companies, Apple and IBM plan to introduce the first products of the partnership on Wednesday, an initial 10 apps of a portfolio that may eventually include 100 or more. The apps, delivered as a cloud service, are focused on specific tasks in a handful of industries, including airlines, banking, retail and telecommunications.

( 2 ) App Store Downloads Top 85 Billion, Revenue Up 36 Percent Year-Over-Year. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced today during the company’s FY Q4 2014 earnings call that Apple’s cumulative App Store downloads have now topped 85 billion up from 60 billion around a year ago. The number was announced alongside news of Apple’s massive quarter, and its record-breaking sales of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices.


Wow, that took me 2 minutes, the information is just there, it seems to me that there is a bit of bad blood towards apple in your statement, can u please document your claims with solid data.

Regarding China, you are right regarding the government but how do you explain Apple selling 20 million plus Iphone 6/6plus ? That one is a apologetic explanation showing again bad blood towards apple, you could have said that Apple appeal in China is on the raise and the Chinese went nuts for it while Samsung's fortunes were hurt by Xiaomi but choosing to blame the government of China for Samsung's fall is not correct.

Don't take me wrong, I am not defending Apple or Xiaomi, just want facts backed up by data, Asymco and Tomi are doing it but your comments suggest that you just need to contradict even what is factual, just look at the data regarding the apps ... App Store Downloads Top 85 Billion, Revenue Up 36 Percent Year-Over-Year.

Tomi mentioned a pyramid, in Apple's ONE and ONLY segment they have over 45% market share, another fact that you just dismiss with a "no market share"

A bit confusing they way you handle a discussion, as some facts are in this blog.

RottenApple

@John F:

"Tomi mentioned a pyramid, in Apple's ONE and ONLY segment they have over 45% market share, another fact that you just dismiss with a "no market share"


Yes, the pyramid is distorted. Yes, Apple is one of the reasons for it.

However:
Such a distribution is not normal. In any healthy market the premium segment features less strongly.
So my simple hypothesis is that this will correct itself over time here, too. Which would not be good news to Apple.

Apple is no magic entity that can endlessly defy all business logic, which you people blindly take for granted.

John Alatalo

I suppose you can say Android have "won the war" so to speak. And IOS are in the high end with their devices.
But I think its to early to say that Microsoft is out of the game.
Especially in markets like India, there are around 4 Indian manufactors who make Windows Phone 8.1 smartphones now.
(check them out in Flipkart site)
And Nokia/Microsoft will lower the prices to with a new Lumia 435.

Windows 10 will be the same OS in tablets and smartphones to.
So it be interesting how it goes.

John F.

@Rottenapple

Hoping not to sound to pedantic you seem to believe that investing 500 dollars in a pocket computer that practically runs your life is a life changing moment. For around 10 % of the population is just as expensive as a pair of good shoes with the main difference being you keep it in your pocket and not to protect you from doggy poop and it last for a couple of years or more at least.

For a larger part of the population having that branded phone is an status symbol, and saving 500 dollars is not difficult, the secretaries in our company spend twice that per quarter on new fashionable stuff

Just look a the huge amount of branded whatever and the prices, so 500 dollars is really peanuts for status branding.

Still not clear about your sources as to Apple and the statements of " not app deployment, and in most countries not even app revenue anymore"


@exnokian

It seems to me that Tomi has some good information in this blog but you seem to be able to prove him wrong. What is a bit odd to me is his inability to give bad news about samsung and his meteoric speed to give it about Apple, Nokia or Microsoft.

RottenApple

@John F.:

What you don't seem to realize is that at the moment the entire decision making gets distorted by subsidies that make expensive phones look cheaper than they really are.

Another matter is that people are not used to $200 phones being capable of most of what the more expensive ones can do. That was vastly different even two years ago when a $200 phone was a low end piece of junk.

So:
- remove the price fixing by subsidies - some of Apple's current customers will shop cheaper.
- let reality sink in that for most people - even most among Apple's current users - the $200 phone will work perfectly for their needs - they will shop cheaper.

This has always happened in all business segments once the novelty wore off and mainstream product's prices sank. Yes, the premium niche remained - but it remained as a niche. If Apple keeps prices high they will lose market share.

I don't believe in fairy tale magic that tells me that Apple is the sole company in the entire world that's immune to the natural flow of things.

John F.

@rottrnapple

where there is an opportunity to make money there is a business model that benefits.

This is what Verizon CFO had to say some months ago:

Speaking at a Deutsche Bank-sponsored conference on Media, Internet & Telecom, Conference, Verizon CFO Fran “Don’t Call Me ShamWow” Shammo explained that “We believe that the subsidy model is an extremely good one… It’s done wonders for us in this industry. I think that to abandon it is a mistake.”

If they walk out of what some call subsidies and others credit then that subsidie/credit will migrate from the telco to banks willing to make a few points or a fee. There is some good many to be made financing it, it's bilious in sales a year, some % to the financier is always welcome

Just go to any shop selling TVs, computers etc, check the plans.... 24 months etc. That's how people buy stuff. I bought my new computer and my new TV with a small down payment and a monthly payment

Again, you seem to believe that subsidies are the reason, they are just the facilitator, kill it and someone else will take it's place , we live in a credit world. If I have to pay the telco or my bank for a 500 dollar credit for a new pocket pc I can care less, just make financing available et voila, there goes the shopper. So very simple.

It would not be surprising that some financial institutions are like vultures, waiting to take over or to factor the telco bills .. ah the capitalist world.

Louis Vuitton, Lacoste, Versace, Gucci, Rolex, Cuban Cigars, Champagne, Lexus, Mont Blanc, Armani, Dolce & Cabbana, club fees, Green fees ... all seem to contradict you.

Apple is not inmune because they simply do not participate in the samsung business model, they just target 10% of the market that mostly is not concerned with peanuts and the aspirational users will get their credit from the telco (subsidies ) or a financial institution ( credit )

AndThisWillBeToo

@ExNokian
You forgot my favorite: when Tomi wrote his The Comprehensive App Economics Blog 2014 post he DID provide sources and he got this comment:
"I wrote the VisionMobile report used extensively here. Please don't butcher our numbers."
(followed by list of misinterpretations in Tomi's numbers). It's still there:
http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2014/08/the-comprehensive-app-economics-blog-2014-yes-peak-app-is-apt-name-sheer-disaster-industry-with-only.html?cid=6a00e0097e337c883301a73e0a8974970d#comment-6a00e0097e337c883301a73e0a8974970d

Gonzo

@John F.

See, what I told you, you prove rottenapple totally and absolutely wrong when you pointed out that Apple reports their numbers and that app deployment with IBM and the HUGE growth in apps were by all standards breathtaking considering that Samsung closed their service already and what he has to say ? And did he come back to you with facts as you did to him?

He is a Troll, will you engage in a discussion with someone who openly hates blackberry and his nick is deathtoblackberry?

Also, as pointed out, Tomi is a hit and miss when it comes to predictions, in the political arena … well, let's not get there, in a market he doesn't know anything about he dares to predict a flop when Tag Heur and Swatch are already getting ready for a tsunami, it can flop, but base on what or what data he used to predict? where are his statistics? what strategy he suggests to success as the one from Apple is dead on arrival according to him? or is it just hate for everything apple? Not even a doubt based on ipod, ipad and iphone ? that they took off a couple of years after introduction? Like Ballmer laughing about the iphone ? that was an embarrassing flop.

By all standards loosing a Market like China, over 4 quarters of profit declines, 40% unsold inventories ( that they acknowledge !), absolutely and totally dependant on google, no plan B if sales collapse ( well, plan B is sell more refrigerators and cut on mobile spending), closing stores, closing mobile services, loosing market share ( THE thing that matters here) ….. no echo system to develop, just plastic handsets … nothing else … just that and what do you hear Jonh F ? That apple will collapse soon, one crazy Abdula predicted 2Q for Apple to be gone … he also said that he would feel embarrassed if his child took a liking for Apple … extremism.

But what you do not read is … oops … it seems that Samsung strategy is backfiring and that it looks similar to … "choose name "

Go and check the headlines … Apple, Nokia, Microsoft bloodbath and death … but Sami goes to Disneyland

AndThisWillBeToo

And back to the "ecosystems" part of news: GMail is blocked through all protocols in China. AOSP will remain king in there.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/12/29/us-google-china-idUSKBN0K70BD20141229

RottenApple

@John F.

Re.
Speaking at a Deutsche Bank-sponsored conference on Media, Internet & Telecom, Conference, Verizon CFO Fran “Don’t Call Me ShamWow” Shammo explained that “We believe that the subsidy model is an extremely good one… It’s done wonders for us in this industry. I think that to abandon it is a mistake.”

I'm really not surprised. Of course the subsidy model is great if you want to rip off your customers. Seems to be par for course in the US to treat customers as shit, in order to 'maximize shareholder value'. The problem is: This only works as long as the entire market plays along. If some competitor starts to disrupt it, people will quickly learn that they get ripped off and look for alternatives. Guess why in Europe with its strong competition among carriers this isn't nearly as widespread as in the US. Here you can buy transparent contracts at nearly all price points without being tied to a phone. Sure, you can buy a phone with a contract on a financing plan but these are normally so outrageously expensive per month that you need someone who completely fails at math (or suffers from a dire lack of money) to fall for them.


"Apple is not inmune because they simply do not participate in the samsung business model, they just target 10% of the market that mostly is not concerned with peanuts and the aspirational users will get their credit from the telco (subsidies ) or a financial institution ( credit )"


And you again are completely ignoring the fact that in heavily subsidized markets, Apple's current penetration far exceeds the customer group you cite. Yes, the 10% true luxury buyers won't care but what about all the average Joes that buy a subsidized iPhone in the US which under more levelheaded conditions would be more price conscious and shop cheaper? THESE are the people I predict may defect Apple. But if these mass market customers go away so would a significant portion of Apple's current appeal. Remember: Apple's market share in the US is closer to 40 than to 10% - way, way above 'luxury niche' and therefore incorporating lots and lots of customers that have to be considered 'normal' people to be judged by 'normal' business rules.
I can tell you with certainty that the stuff my employer sells in Europe makes 55% of its revenue on Android, 40% on iOS and the rest spread out across the smaller platforms. So sure, the iOS users tend to buy more individually but these days Android has become our first platform to target. Two years ago this clearly was iOS. And THIS is where things will head long term. You cannot afford to put priority on a platform only being used by a minority in your target markets. You have to prioritize the platform that generates more traffic.
If US companies don't learn that and continue to project the warped realities of the US market onto the rest of the world they WILL ultimately lose out to those who accept these realities and act accordingly.

@Gonzo:

I choose to ignore your bullshit post.

@AndThisWillBeToo:

And the point being? With such antics the Chinese will ultimately only harm themselves. There's nothing to gloat about. This can hit anyone who gets the Chinese government's ire. Sadly, for some people only money counts so that corrupt regime can do as it wants because in order to get the money those people happily cave in... Pathetic.

AndThisWillBeToo

Here's just for the records: Some analyst with a name (unsurprisingly not Tomi) calling that Apple will be largest smartphone vendor on one quarter in 2015 as Samsung tanks and Apple does not.
http://t.co/2YGED6eoO6

KPOM

@RottenApple, John Legere at T-Mobile posted a blog entry with some interesting statistics:

http://newsroom.t-mobile.com/issues-insights-blog/2015-predictions.htm

Apparently 41% of new phone purchases in the US in 2014 were unsubsidized, and that number is expected to rise to 2/3 by 2016. If you are correct, we should expect to see a fall in iPhone sales in the US over the next 2 years. Granted, the iPhone 6 did spur the "mother of all upgrades" (to use Tim Cook's words), so it likely led to a spike that won't easily be repeated next year or the year after that. But all else equal it will be interesting to compare sales data to see how well iPhone demand holds up.

John F.

@Rottenapple

You agree with me by disagreeing, interesting. the subsidies OR credit is a great model, maybe you never visited the USA or Japan, please understand that 500$ is peanuts today, that almost anyone has access to credit cards and therefore small credit, that any financial institution will immediately do factoring for those bills. Remove subsidies ENTER credits. Think, how many cars, motorcycles, holiday trips etc are sold yearly? and you made it even more clear that in the USA 40% of users are willing to go brand and aspirational. The estimated people with disposable income has been put around 800 million people, expensive brands have been around for a long time, cheap handbags, shirts, watches, cars, etc didn't kill Armani, Hermes, BMW and Rolex, all the opposite, the more expensive they get the more desirable they are.

Last, Samsung, Sony, HTC, Moto etc will do all possible efforts to keep the subsidies/credit model growing, do you think they are stupid and wish to sell cheap phones ? They really need it. It is in their strategy to copy and succeed doing what apple is doing, they even open shops to sell directly to users with credit cards....

@Gonzo

You point out the apple watch, interesting that the T-Mobile CEO defines it as the "I believe that the Apple Watch will mark the tipping point when wearables go from niche to mainstream" why would Tomi call it a flop?
Your comment hit a nerve, as the apple apps have really outperform and all data proves success.

@KPON

if " Apparently 41% of new phone purchases in the US in 2014 were unsubsidized" then it proves that 500$ is an acceptable price for a small luxury, because in the USA is sells a lot, in fact an iPhone is the cheapest aspirational article in the world, thinking about it now help me explain apple success, go for a Rolex or BMW ? a Louis Vuitton handbag? Armani Suit? There is no aspirational brand that delivers so much for so little money, food for thought.


Gonzo

@John F.

This is the comment of the year in this blog, it really says a lot and it is probably the best explanation for the Apple phenomenon, it says it all and by the way Rottenapple did not respond your question regarding apps and apps store… he won't, he can't contradict those facts you stated.

" an iPhone is the cheapest aspirational article in the world - There is no aspirational brand that delivers so much for so little money, food for thought."

Again, you are wasting time with the credit or subsidies thing, people here only understand that people in Burkina Faso or Somalia can not buy an iPhone because it's too expensive for them, that credit thing and financial institutions replacing the credit given by telcos is too far out for people here to comprehend.

@AndThisWillBeToo

Great article from techpinions, beware ! A nuts case here called those guys amateurs of all people….. facts that contradict reality are not welcome here, specially if Samsung is on the loosing end.

abdul muis

Samsung beat apple in customer satisfaction. It seems the 'magic', premiumness, only-apple-can-do-it starting to wear off...
http://www.theacsi.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=147&catid=&Itemid=212&i=Cellular+Telephones

sneha

Pixel 2 XL vs iPhone X

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)

Available for Consulting and Speakerships

  • Available for Consulting & Speaking
    Tomi Ahonen is a bestselling author whose twelve books on mobile have already been referenced in over 100 books by his peers. Rated the most influential expert in mobile by Forbes in December 2011, Tomi speaks regularly at conferences doing about 20 public speakerships annually. With over 250 public speaking engagements, Tomi been seen by a cumulative audience of over 100,000 people on all six inhabited continents. The former Nokia executive has run a consulting practise on digital convergence, interactive media, engagement marketing, high tech and next generation mobile. Tomi is currently based out of Hong Kong but supports Fortune 500 sized companies across the globe. His reference client list includes Axiata, Bank of America, BBC, BNP Paribas, China Mobile, Emap, Ericsson, Google, Hewlett-Packard, HSBC, IBM, Intel, LG, MTS, Nokia, NTT DoCoMo, Ogilvy, Orange, RIM, Sanomamedia, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Three, Tigo, Vodafone, etc. To see his full bio and his books, visit www.tomiahonen.com Tomi Ahonen lectures at Oxford University's short courses on next generation mobile and digital convergence. Follow him on Twitter as @tomiahonen. Tomi also has a Facebook and Linked In page under his own name. He is available for consulting, speaking engagements and as expert witness, please write to tomi (at) tomiahonen (dot) com

Tomi's eBooks on Mobile Pearls

  • Pearls Vol 1: Mobile Advertising
    Tomi's first eBook is 171 pages with 50 case studies of real cases of mobile advertising and marketing in 19 countries on four continents. See this link for the only place where you can order the eBook for download

Tomi Ahonen Almanac 2009

  • Tomi Ahonen Almanac 2009
    A comprehensive statistical review of the total mobile industry, in 171 pages, has 70 tables and charts, and fits on your smartphone to carry in your pocket every day.

Alan's Third Book: No Straight Lines

Tomi's Fave Twitterati