Five reasons Apple is doomed, doomed, doomed

You don't have to turn the dial too far in order to find somebody singing the death knell for the world's Number One PC maker that is Apple [AAPL] and here's five reasons they're singing those shanties:

Apple is doomed

Apple is losing to Android

Marketshare based on sales figures should be a big indicator of platform popularity. The ascendancy of Android tablets and smartphones suggests that there should be lots of people using those devices. They will be buying apps, browsing the Web and ads networks should be seeing heavy traffic from the dominant OS. Except that's not what's happening.

iOS devices are more widely used to access the Web than devices on any other platform, says StatCounter. Ad analytics firm, Chitika (above), tells us the iPad's share of North American tablet Web traffic has climbed back up to 81 percent.

That latter statistic seems pretty important, as in the post-Christmas fugue, the iPad's share of that traffic fell 7.14 percent. That fall presumably reflected all those who received Kindle Fires and Galaxy Tabs using their devices. The recovery could therefore be seen to reflect the truism that defies all the marketshare banter: people like to use their iOS devices to go online.

That's got to be one of the reasons Apple has no chance: people who have Apple products like to use their products. One has to wonder what happens to those other devices?

No matter.

It's only a question of time (and the next Apple product upgrade) until those existing iPhones and iPads join their Android brethren in the old gadget drawer.

Apple is doomed

Apple has no place in the enterprise

The enterprise is such a huge market, one that's traditionally been the fiefdom of Microsoft and its enterprise-friendly business focus. That's also been good news for PC manufacturers who had expected to see a spike in replacement sales following the release of Windows 8.

Apple's position in the enterprise has always been weak, and the debut of Win 8 PCs and Surface tablets should surely have wiped away all Apple's gains in the sector. Except this isn't what happened.

Look to Dell, the company whose boss once advised Steve Jobs to return the money to Apple investors and close the company. Mr Dell is now returning the money to Dell investors and taking his company private, with a little help from Microsoft. That's got to be worth a historical footnote, right?

Apple meanwhile continues to draw converts to its mobile systems from the world's biggest enterprise firms. That conversion -- based on the BYOD trend -- is also transforming into wider acceptance of the company's kit within enterprise markets.

“Going forward, Apple will continue to benefit from consumerisation and will continue to evolve Macs to take on more iOS characteristics, which will contribute to acceptance of Macs in the enterprise. As such, enterprise acceptance of Apple will continue to be driven by consumer demand," says Gartner Fellow and vice president David Mitchell Smith.

Indeed, the analysts believe that by 2014, Apple will be as accepted by enterprise IT as Windows is today.

That's got to be another death knell for the company. It's hard to see any Apple upside within this story.


[ABOVE: Apple's future Cupertino HQ, c/o City of Cupertino.]

Apple is "too controlling"

Highly secretive, Apple plays its cards close to its chest. That's surprising -- after all, its widely anticipated move into television sets with a future Apple television hasn't in any way inspired competitors such as Google or Samsung to attempt to bring similar products to market first. So why be so secretive? It's not as if the company faces competitors who might, for example, not willfully imitate the company's designs in order to compete with it in the product design space.

Unhappy iTunes users are upset that they can't pick up adult material or security-bug-ridden software via that service. They are displeased that some iTunes purchases won't work on their chosen platforms.

I say some, but of course music will, because it's sold in an open format; movies won't, but you'd probably have to ask the movie industry to sell their content free of digital rights management restrictions, which as any legitimate Android-focused media provider could tell you, movie studios are happy to do. Television content creators are also exceedingly happy to offer up their material on a royalty-free basis, unrestricted by DRM.

Certainly you can pick up most material on file-sharing networks of various kinds. This means it's hard to imagine why the world's biggest music retailer is unhappy to easily support media sourced from such destinations. It's not as if you can't run a quick search on Google to find them, after all.

Many resent being tied into an Apple ecosystem with iTunes. It's hard to imagine why they chose to invest in Cupertino's kit in the first place with that in mind. Those 25 billion music purchases through Apple's service are just a blip, right?

Apple is too controlling. No wonder the firm has reached its end of days.

[ABOVE: A young Jony Ive with the proposition that "computers can be sexy". Set to poor music. Sorry about that.]

Apple has run out of ideas

This song goes like this: "Meh. The iPhone 5 didn't introduce any fantastic new features. It looked the same as the iPhone 4S. Apple's run out of ideas and has ceased to innovate. Look at these alternatives: some of them are even available with bigger/smaller displays."

This of course is true. Apple has lost its touch. It has failed to introduce Maps in a high quality form. It hasn't yet reinvented the television with its Apple television; hasn't put an NFC chip inside the iPhone 5 for most of its users to simply avoid using; hasn't yet introduced iPhones in different shapes, and where oh where, just where, is the Apple watch?

At some juncture you'll be able to explore this interesting read crafted by Apple employee number 66 and user interface guru, Bruce Tognazzini. He let me take a look at what he has to say concerning what he calls the "Apple iWatch", but I won't quote too much from his report in order not to spoil the surprise.

He suggests that with an iPhone as the brain, an iWatch could transform the way we use Apple devices in multiple ways, though it's unlikely to be recognized as quite the disruptive tool time will show it to be.

As Tognazzini puts it:

"I wrote the article having grown sick of these endless columns in the financial papers that assume that just because the writer can't think of anything Apple could invent beyond an Apple television, there must not be anything.

"My purpose is to let the world see that not everything has been invented, that there are still entire product areas that have either not been addressed or where people are barely scratching the surface. An Apple watch will just address one of them."

You should be able to Tognazzini's report later on -- he hasn't published it at time of writing.

It's just a terrible shame that with a billion dollars invested in specific and focused R&D in its last quarter, Apple has stopped innovating. No wonder the firm's reached the end of the line. Where's the upside?


[ABOVE: One of Apple's doomed attempts to secure developing world marketshare.]

Apple isn't focused on developing markets

Yet another slip in Apple's approach is its slavish focus on the US, where the company is (at present) the biggest mobile phone vendor. The firm's only in sixth place in China -- because it doesn't offer cheap feature phones and because the majority of China's population just don't have the cash for better.

That's why talk that the firm intends introducing retail stores in Brazil, India, Russia and many more in China just isn't enough to keep the rot at bay.

Ultimately it won't matter just how much marketing the company spends in those countries as most people there can't afford its devices. They'll spend their cash on other brands, some of which aren't available beyond the host country.

Their frustration's likely to be fanned higher by little local aberrations, such as the decision by the Bank of Beijing (it's in China) to use iPads within their customer-focused operations. Bank customers will surely feel so excluded they'll rush to their local fake Apple store to buy something that looks similar. That gray market in Apple goods in China is surely just an aberration.

The cold hard facts are that Apple's Chinese operations are so at variance with its original expectations that it has started a new operating segment called "Greater China" to oversee such disappointments as the doubling of iPhone sales there across the last twelve months.

It seems likely Apple will rue its lack of focus on developing markets, particularly China, a nation with which Apple's main foe, Google, has such excellent relationships.

So there you have it -- five points explaining some of the reasons behind Apple's imminent demise. It sure looks like curtains for the company. I'd give the money back to the shareholders myself.

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Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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