Back in July 2015 I wrote a post about how Apple looks like the next Microsoft. I think the last year and a half as proved my theory to be on track, and I am seeing more and more articles in agreement.
The latest comparison? In the early 2000’s, Microsoft was the leader in smartphones with its Windows CE platform. Along came Apple with a better product and pretty much killed it off. A few years ago, Apple had the lead with Siri, the voice virtual assistant that was far ahead of the competition. Now, Siri may be running a distant 3rd, behind Google Assistant, and more importantly Amazon’s Echo.
How could Apple let Amazon take over the market for virtual assistants? Echo now has a huge number of partners, and this years CES was dominated by Echo. The Echo now has so many partners, I don’t see how Siri can catch up now.
I heard an interesting theory as to why successful companies such as Microsoft and Apple find it so hard to follow up a big hit with a successor. The theory was that there are so many companies trying to find the next big thing, that it is rare for the same company to win more than once. And companies that have an installed base to maintain and monetize are further distracted from innovating by managing their existing product line. The theory assumes a fair bit of success involves plain old luck – though luck can be defined as ‘when preparedness meets opportunity’.
So I will continue to watch this interesting parallel playing out with Apple. With all the big players in the consumer electronics market – I will be curious to see if Apple can find magic once again.