Skip to main content

The Problem With Apple Focusing On Services: Apple’s Services Aren’t Very Good

icloud

One of the highlights for Apple’s investors in last months disappointing earnings call was the growth of Apple’s Services product lines and the suggestion that the company would focus on service growth to offset drop off in hardware sales.

Which is a similar tack currently being taken by Microsoft. With not a small amount of success.

For Apple that may prove to be more of a problem.Its services are generally implemented, managed and controlled in a much less impressive way than its physical products. Given the wide number of alternative providers for each of those products, Apple is becoming reliant on existing customer good will to keep the services-led model viable.

So upsetting those customers is inherently dangerous for the strategy.

Getting services to work for customers requires three key requirements to be met. The service must create a perceived value for the customer, the service must answer a customer’s need and the service must be very reliable indeed.

So taking Apple Music as a starting point. Apple made a real hash of the original product, garnering plenty of negative feedback from the sort of Apple fans who would grip their iPhone between their butt cheeks if that was how Apple instructed them to use it.

There’s clearly a customer need here – streaming music services are growing with each passing quarter – and there’s also customer value in having a music service tightly integrated with their phone hardware and platform. Reliability? Tales of wiped music libraries and incorrectly matched tracks don’t speak to reliability.

With Spotify waiting in the wings with a music service that delivers a better all round package Apple  Music looked like a lame duck.

iCloud? Similar story, reliability is the service’s Achilles Heel. And when Dropbox and OneDrive, to name just two services, do a much better job who would risk iCloud? Apple’s Photos service that is nothing more than a device backup, doing nothing to alleviate an iOS user’s concerns around limited on device storage.

Even Apple TV, which had an enormous head start and by rights should own the living room hasn’t been immune from Apple’s clumsy labouring.

It adds up to a risky bet on services – and given that services are undoubtedly the way forward for Apple, its a weakness the company needs to fix. The good news is that Apple can fix these problems, it has the money to do so and the desire. If nothing else it can go out and acquire the businesses that do this well and integrate them into iOS.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…

WhartonBrooks Indiegogo Windows 10 Mobile Even More Doomed To Failure Than Usual

WhartonBrooks is currently crowd-funding its latest Windows Mobile smartphone on Indiegogo. If crowdfunding isn't already a bad enough idea, a company trying to crowdfund a Windows Mobile device should be warning enough for you.
Not that anyone seems to be taking the project too seriously. With a few weeks left to run the campaign has managed to ensnare just 2% of its $1.1m target.
If you want a better indication of how few Window Mobile loyalists remain I doubt there is one. Of 3,900 Windows Phone enthusiasts Wharton Brooks was seeking for its new phone, it has managed to entice just 50.
Windows for Phones is dead, even if the corpse hasn't stopped twitching yet.