Apple's silence cedes market narrative to rivals, says expert
Lauded mystique isn't enough as Apple faces competitors like Samsung that won't play the quiet game
Computerworld - Apple's noted silence has hurt its mystique and caused it to cede the "cool" factor to competitors, a communications expert said today.
"It's what Apple didn't say that made them so powerful," said Peter LaMotte, an analyst with Levick, a Washington-based strategic communications consultancy. "They were so silent that it created an entire industry of rumor mongers."
Now that silence hinders rather than helps Apple, LaMotte argued. "The Apple mystique protected them from a need to engage in the conversation. But the mystique has worn out. They used to own the 'cool' factor. Not anymore."
LaMotte was reacting to comments made last month by Jean-Louis Gassée, a former top-level Apple executive, who said that Apple had "lost control of the narrative ... [and] let others define its story."
Gassée worked at Apple until 1990, and finished his career with the company as its head of advanced product development and worldwide marketing. He was forced out by then-CEO John Sculley and replaced as head of marketing by Philip Schiller, who still holds that post with the Cupertino, Calif., company.
In turn, Gassée was reflecting on the launch of Samsung's Galaxy S4 last month -- the smartphone will go on sale in the U.S. later this month -- and what he saw as a clumsy putdown by Schiller, who knocked the Galaxy S4 for allegedly relying on a year-old version of Android, which in fact was not true.
The episode, Gassée said, reflected poorly on Apple and illustrated how rivals, much less reticent than Apple to toot horns, have commandeered the conversation about mobile. Apple, meanwhile, has remained silent.
Part of that may be timing: Apple has not hosted a product launch event for more than five months, when it introduced the iPad Mini. And its next expected event, the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), is two months away.
LaMotte, however, thought Apple's problem was deeper rooted. "I think it really comes down to the fact that Samsung is making a product that is seen by many as comparable in technology to the iPhone," LaMotte said.
Schiller's attempt to disparage the Galaxy S4 on the eve of its introduction backfired because of Apple's longstanding reliance on tight lips. "When you have been historically silent, even a few words is a substantial change of philosophy," LaMotte said.
And people noticed. Many commentators, including the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg, pointed out how unusual it was for Apple to speak up, and because of the timing, interpreted Schiller's remarks as defensive. Analysts said it showed Apple's concern about the competition, something it rarely admits even exists.
- Mac Pro shortage sets record as worst Mac production debacle
- Apple slates WWDC for June 2-6, sets up ticket lottery
- Apple patches Safari's Pwn2Own vulnerability, two-dozen other critical bugs
- Microsoft's free OneNote vaults to top of Mac App Store chart
- Apple discounts iPhone 5C 8%-9% in five markets via storage cuts
- Apple hands stock worth $12.1M to top execs in retention deal
- Hands on: Apple's Mac Pro is the fastest Mac ever
- Apple CFO to retire in September after he cashes in $53M stock award
- Apple's CarPlay to spark mobile apps war in your car
- Apple retires Snow Leopard from support, leaves 1 in 5 Macs vulnerable to attacks
- Why Projects Fail CIOs are expected to deliver more projects that transform business, and do so on time, on budget and with limited resources.
- The New Business Case for Video Conferencing: 7 Real-World Benefits Beyond Cost-Savings This whitepaper provides insight into the value of video conferencing in today's business environment, and how organizations are using visual collaboration to find...
- Gartner Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools The client management tool market is maturing and evolving to adapt to consumerization, desktop virtualization, and an ongoing need to improve efficiency.
- Audit Ready and Asset Optimized: The Solid Promise of an Intelligent Software Asset Management Solution In this paper Frost & Sullivan examines the benefits of enterprise-grade Software Asset Management solutions, and how these solutions serve as the convergence...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy... All Macintosh White Papers | Webcasts