Why Apple is in trouble: Their products don’t solve consumers problems anymore

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Clayton M. Christensen, widely regarded as one of the world’s top experts on innovation and growth, and author of the theory of disruptive innovation, says executives often fail because they study the wrong product and customer data, which leads them to unwittingly design innovation processes that “churn out mediocrity.”

The secret to winning the innovation game lies in understanding what causes customers to make choices that help them achieve progress on something they are struggling with in their lives. To get to the right answers, Christensen says, executives should be asking: What job would consumers want to hire a product to do?

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On Tuesday night, Apple CEO Tim Cook gave a terse, unhappy answer to this question from UBS analyst Steven Milunovich: “Does Apple today have a grand strategy for what you want to do?” There is a reason Milunovich asked that question. It’s not merely about Cook’s tradition of not giving clues about what Apple will do next. Rather, Milunovich’s question was based on a theory by Clayton Christensen, the Harvard Business School professor. The theory makes for uncomfortable reading for observers of Apple and perhaps for insiders too.

Clearly, Apple’s products have completed some major jobs for consumers: Macs can do anything. The utility of the iPhone has made the device difficult to live without. However, yesterday Microsoft “hit it out of the park” with their introduction of new PC’s and updates coming to Windows 10. What happened at Apple?

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1ne: Focus on money, not innovative products. Since Steve Jobs has passed away Tim Cook has been focused on Apple’s financial performance not innovation. New iPhones are being introduced every year with a minimum amount of features and consumers are not upgrading.

2wo: Steve Jobs influence is fading away. Jobs would have never introduced the Apple Watch or the slim under powered MacBook.

3hree: Buying Beats headphones. The products have widely been panned by reviewers and do a good job of representing state-of-the-are Apple products.

4our: Abandoning desktops. OK, Apple is going to introduce new Macook Pro’s today, but do users really need an LED bar? OS X is dated and in need of a major overhaul instead of adding new features that many of us rarely use and new desktop models from Microsoft and HP make Apple look like a laggard.

Apple was once a cool, innovative brand, but under Tim Cook they instead are becoming just a brand that wants to make a lot of money. I have seen more and more people starting to use Windows 10 products, especially at small agencies where Mac’s used to roam. Apple is a brand that is losing some of its key brand equity.

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Originally published at on October 27, 2016.

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Marketing contrarian with over 15 years of developing leading edge and award winning digital marketing initiatives.

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