While analysts are treating Apple’s 4th consecutive week of losses on Wall Street as an investment issue, I think the company has bigger problems on the horizon.
Apple is becoming a top prey in the world of Sharkonomics.
Applying the principles of nature to business, sharks typically attack over-hyped companies with too many products, perceived strength that might not really be there, a temporary lack of competition, and leadership that isn’t moving as fast as the surrounding environment.
That sounds a lot like Apple.
Here are 6 ways I see a shark-attack on Apple going down:
1. A lead bite. Sooner or later, Samsung’s advantages in product functionality will convince executives to stop following Apple and comparing products.
2. Open-water pursuit. Apple has been feeding in the same waters forever. I compare its customers to the poor folks in Jaws, who were forced to spend the 4th of July either swimming in a limited area beach area of Amity Island or not swim at all. Apple’s business model locks people into their solutions and eventually, a competitor will offer new software, new hardware or cross-over functionality between popular apps and other mobile products.
3. Too much kicking. Apple is doing lots of things like launching the iPad mini, but more of the same might end of making the company an appetizing target for sharks.
4. Bite from a great white. The world’s top CEOs can go into any industry and create a successful company. They are visionary, which ironically is exactly how Apple became a powerhouse. I’ll closely be watching what Richard Branson, who just offered the iPhone4 as a product for Virgin Mobile customers, will do in the coming months.
5. Bite through the shark cage. I teach companies the difference between “protection” and “defense.” For example, people in shark cages often assume they are protected, while those who swim with the sharks know that is not true. In Apple’s case, they over-protecting the past and not defending the future. With very little difference between the iPhone4 and 5 and lots of the same corporate visuals, Apple looks stuck in its own history. Meanwhile, sharks are continuously on the move, and although this might sound slightly cold, they are not sentimental.
6. Eaten by its own school. Sharkonomics equates Apple fanatics to a school of shark swimming with the leader. But there is a blind spot to this approach. Apple does very little to educate retailers about new products until they are already in the market. With more products than ever, what does this mean for customer service and the overall consumer experience? If a competitor like Samsung incorporates a better customer service component with a better technology solution, Apple’s school of followers might end up eating the company and moving to an alternative leader.