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Venture capitalist, and man about technology, Marc Andreessen has a theory about what’s different at Apple now.Speaking at an event, CNET reports he said, under Steve Jobs, Apple would “invent a new product category, start with 100 per cent market share, and then every day that goes by, lose market share until some terminal outcome.”
Under Tim Cook, Apple is more interested in protecting market share. That’s why we have a low margin iPad Mini. That’s why we have cheaper two-year old iPhones.
Jobs, according to Andreessen, was less concerned with market share because he would just invent an entirely new category of products and start the whole cycle from scratch.
It’s a very interesting theory. And Andreessen knows his stuff. But, we’re not sure we buy it.
The iPod, for instance, is still alive and kicking. It may not be the money maker it once was, but Apple still shipped 5.3 million of them last quarter, giving it 70% of the market, and roughly $822 million in sales.
For a company with $36 billion in sales, that’s not much. But, it shows that Steve Jobs also protected market share. Apple sold cheaper iPhones while Steve Jobs was alive. It also sold cheaper iPads while he was around.
We’re just entering the first real year of the post-Steve Jobs era at Apple. It’s entirely possible Apple fails to ever deliver another category defining product. But, we doubt it.
You know who else doubts it?
He said Apple is going to release a television in the next three years and everyone else is going to scramble to copy it. And if the Apple television does come out, it will be a part of the Tim Cook era. And, really, Apple will have 100% of that market, inasmuch as it had 100% of the smartphone market it when it launched the iPhone.