business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

The iPhone may have set the standard for smart phones, becoming in the process the “it” phone for Apple enthusiasts and millions of people who see the technology as relevant, accessible and, perhaps most important, cool.

However, it has been a simple fact that the Android phone has effectively challenged Apple’s dominance. And now there’s another player in the mix...Microsoft.

The New York Times reports that “despite Microsoft’s multiple, abject failures with mobile phones since 2002, many software developers and industry watchers expect Microsoft to become the second-largest smartphone player worldwide.”

The game changer, according to research firm IDC, is Nokia, which has formed an alliance with Microsoft and is about to start using Windows Phone software. The expectation is that Microsoft, which currently has a 5.5 percent smart phone market share in the US, could grow to more than 20 percent by 2015. Apple’s iOS software, then as now, is projected to have a market share in the 15 percent range.

The lesson here is worth noting. No matter how relevant, accessible and “cool” you may be, there is no such thing as an unassailable advantage. It is always possible - indeed, probable - that someone else will come up with a product that seems more relevant, accessible and “cool,” and maybe even at a better price point. And, if they can’t, they’ll come up with some sort of combination or alliance that has the potential to disrupt your plans and be a game-changer. (The good news, of course, is that competition makes us all better, makes us push for the next differential advantage.)

You have to keep innovating, keep pushing, keep trying new things, keep risking failure. Or die from inertia.

And that’s our Monday Eye-Opener.
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