Yes, Apple created the market for tablets with its iPad and yes, it is also the monopoly stakeholder in the tablet market place on a global scale. Yet it is becoming rather obvious Apple seems to be feeling threatened. A prime example being that Apple in Australia is demanding that Samsung send its entire stock of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets to be destroyed.
Apple complains that Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 of infringing on its patents, with the key area focusing on the “look and feel” and touch screen technology of the iPad according to Steven Burley a lawyer for Apple in Australia outlined to the federal court earlier today. In fact, Apple is demanding that all of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 stock is delivered to Apple to be destroyed.
It could be argued that the only reason Apple is suing Samsung is that both the Galaxy S 11 Smartphone and the Galaxy Tablet are regarded by critics as being on a par with or in some cases even superior to Apple’s offering. A simple rule of competition is that when you create a new industry market competitors enter to get at the revenue for that product segment. It has been clear for the recent few years that whilst Apple’s products look sleek and sexy, they generally under-perform in terms of components when compared to competitors.
The Galaxy Tab 10.1 along with many other tablets including those manufactured by HTC, Motorola and Acer all look very similar yet all work on the competing Android operating system. If recent history is anything to go by then it is clear Android’s distribution channel will slay Apple’s dominance in the tablet sector within a three-year time frame maximum.
One only has to refer to the fact Android managed to attain global Smartphone dominance in 18 months. Android currently has over 50% global market share, whilst Apple slipped 2% in the last year to maintain a 19% share of global Smartphone sales according to Canalys.
The real elephant in the room is weather dominance of one OS over another is a good thing for, consumers, business and society in general. TMV would argue if anything it is actually a bad thing to restrict consumer freedom of choice and also new businesses enter a new an emerging market – as it is clear that this is Apple’s tactic.
The irony of this particular battle is that Apple is one of Samsung’s largest customers, with Samsung supplying flash memory and the A5 processor for the Apple iPad. Some serious conflicts of interests for both companies there.
On a global level Apple’s products have experienced significant competition from Android Smartphone devices and this is unquestioningly now also playing out in the tablet market created by Apple. TMV states to Apple welcome to the world of competition – if you don’t like it start producing competitively priced products that match or exceed competitor components and offerings to consumers.
How is this of relevance to the music business you ask? Simply put it is about competition and does the recorded music industry want to be controlled by Apple in terms of the tablet market and related apps as they currently are in terms of al-la-carte download sales with iTunes holding an average 70% market share on a global basis? In Australia iTunes has a 90% market share of digital music download sales.
As TMV continually states monopolies are no benefit to anyone, consumers, government or competitors, they only benefit the monopolist. Competition is crucial to deliver consumer choice and it’s about time the recorded music industry is forced to allow a meaningful level playing field in terms of digital music service competition.
As these patent wars continue to play out and Apple continues to lose market share it will also become increasingly important for the recorded music industry to ensure there are serious and viable competitors to iTunes. So, folks it’s about time the industry did some fair and level deals with Amazon, Google and Spotify.
Just as the music business has finally realized it is the consumers driving the new digital economy it is about time hardware manufacturers like Apple understand the more you try and control the consumer the more they will rebel. It’s human nature folks.
On a final note, Apple’s demand in Australia for the whole stock of Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 to be destroyed is a very environmentally unfriendly request. So perhaps instead if these Samsung tablets are so similar to the Apple iPad product, then Apple could easily repackage and rebrand them as Apple products and sell them in Apple stores? Just a thought relating to corporate environmental responsibility…not that Apple has a very good track record on that anyway.