Why Does the Peanut Gallery Hate Apple?
The first-to-market thing doesn't even deserve a response. How soon we forget the way Steve Jobs brought wholesale change to the world.
The Android-leads-iOS argument is almost as bad. If Apple made iOS an open system, allowing any Tom, Dick or Amazon.com (AMZN) to use it, the market share it would command would numb the mind.
At the Android/iOS market share conversation we enter a crucial crossroads in this discussion.
I completely understand what Google goes for by offering inferior hardware at low prices. Please do not confound this dysfunctional salvo at Apple with what Amazon is doing.
Amazon produces hardware as just another complementary driver for its e-commerce core. Amazon wants no part of a competition with Apple . In fact, there's more synergy between the two companies than competition : Amazon is just fine with a considerable share of iPad traffic heading to the Amazon Store, while Apple is completely content with its hardware driving a lion's share of Amazon's revenue.
Google provides awesome services. I use several, particularly Gmail, Docs and Analytics daily, if not hourly. There's no question about that, but you have to consider what it needs to have happen to win with this strategy.
Like Amazon has a foothold on e-commerce, Google dominates digital advertising. In fact, almost 100% of Google's revenue comes from ads and related services. We can argue this point all day, but when you compare the state of online shopping to the world of, say, mobile advertising, both companies dominate (and will continue to), but Amazon operates from a more formidable position of strength.
E-commerce players have had years to chip away at Amazon's empire. It's not happening to any meaningful degree. Just check out "Conclusion No. 3" on page 2 of "Apple's Million-Dollar-Per-Day Retail Store in Words and Pictures" for empirical support.
At some point, Google will want to make money from value-adds to its suite of services (good luck with all of that) as it fights to maintain what amounts to a one-trick-pony revenue core. Looks great today, but the practice of giving everything away -- Android, hardware, services, your entire ecosystem -- might come back to bite Google sooner rather than later. That's not happening at Amazon.
Samsung also makes great stuff. I just bought one of the company's television sets. Love it. In fact, in terms of design and user experience, Samsung comes closest to Apple. And I won't even make any patent- or legal-related jokes.
But my 9-year old is not getting all excited about shopping for Samsung products and accessories. She watches the TV, but couldn't tell you who makes it. She uses Gmail and Google Search but rarely clicks on ads, and, while she knows these are Google products, the fact means nothing to her. Take her to buy a "Smart Cover" for her iPad mini, though, and she gets all fired up.