Market Share Mania: The same old complaints about a new device

by Uluroo — December 27, 2017

You can tell Apple to go for market share all you want, but the company still cares about money.


Apple has always been misunderstood by people who think that it cares about market share. The Mac is a computer platform with devices that cost more than their competitors. Based on simple math, because of Macs' higher price points, Apple needs to sell fewer units in order to make the same profit as a company that sells lower-priced products. The iPhone and the Apple Watch are the same story; they are priced significantly higher than many of their competitors. Lots of people complain that they're too expensive. And yet, somehow, the laws of mathematics apply, giving Apple more profit from fewer, more expensive units. Apple does not care about market share.

Luckily, next year Apple is entering a new product category, so we can complain that it's too expensive for its market. Chris Smith of BGR says that "Apple has lost the smart speaker war before it even began."

This is technically impossible, but... Uluroo supposes it is now possible. Maybe Chris is referring to Apple's specific role in the smart speaker "war."

Apple a few weeks ago announced that its expensive HomePod smart speaker wasn’t going to be ready for a late 2017 launch, as promised initially, just as Google was getting ready to start selling its HomePod rival in time for Christmas. Meanwhile, Amazon announced record sales for its own voice-based smart speakers, an announcement that further underscores the importance of this particular product category.

Also mentioned is the fact that the Echo Dot and the Fire TV Stick were the top two bestselling devices on Amazon. While this is certainly impressive, it doesn't affect Apple as much as Chris is implying.

... Echo devices, especially the Dot, are incredibly affordable and make for a no-brainer Christmas present.

We all know that Apple's forte is offering affordable no-brainer Christmas presents.

Even if it were available to buyers this Christmas, the HomePod would have not sold as well as the cheap Echo and Homes from the competition.

Much like the iPhone and Mac, which make terrible money and are solely responsible for Apple's status as the most valuable company in the world.

Amazon seems to be the undisputed leader in the smart speaker business.

Maybe in sales, but that's not saying much. Because what's the point being the market share leader if you are losing hundreds of millions of dollars on it?

Again, at $349, the HomePod isn’t cheap, and many people will ignore it in favor of Echo of Google Home alternatives.

Sounds like one of those iPhone things.

And it’s not like Apple is desperate to become the number one device maker by market share in any of the other categories it competes in.

Basically, everything that was said in this piece so far? It doesn't matter.

But it sure feels like Apple is losing a significant battle to Amazon right now.

Because of its strategy of making more money. Okay...

The HomePod is not competing against low-priced devices like the Echo Dot. It's competing against devices like the Echo Show and the Google Home Max. Whether it can compete against those devices well is another story — and we need to wait until 2018 to find out — but it's ridiculous to point out that the more expensive device will sell fewer units than the cheaper one. That doesn't mean that Apple has lost the war. It means that Apple is fighting a different one.

Uluroo has no idea how the HomePod will sell. But if it's anything like the iPhone and the Mac, it seems that it will sell fewer units but still turn a profit, which is more than the Echo can say for itself. Just like the iPhone and the Mac, it's aimed at a totally different portion of the market than its cheaper competitors. The age-old market share argument remains the same no matter what market you're talking about: You can sell as many devices as you want, but more cheap devices don't always make more money than fewer expensive ones.