Tuesday, January 10, 2017
A tech company creates a new product. It takes the market by storm and the company scrambles to keep up with demand. Meanwhile, its other products mark time or wither and R&D struggles to develop the next big thing that equals the curve of the current product. When skyrocketing growth stops, the company finds itself in trouble because it doesn't have a replacement for the maturing device. This, more or less, is the transition Apple is experiencing. The iPhone drove the company for 10 years but sales are slumping because everyone who wants a phone has one, and the replacement market is a fraction of previous demand. It is a tough position to be in from a public relations perspective. Company fans are asking, "What's next?" Apple has answers but none yet are as appealing as the iPhone. It might not find the next big thing, if history is a guide. I've seen this scenario 30 years ago when a company rose and fell on the creation of word processing. The business wasn't ready for a technological shift in the marketplace and it went bankrupt when it could no longer sell dedicated word processors. Apple is in no danger of going broke, but it does face a struggle to create new marketplaces that cumulatively are the same size as the iPhone. Meanwhile, it has to keep its fans happy and customers coming back. Messaging will be important during this period..