How does a competitor beat an entrenched rival in the techno-gadget game? The landscape is littered with companies that lost to the competition and faded into the history books thanks to strategies that did not work.
Remember HTC? The Taiwan company once owned about 10-percent of the smartphone market and now struggles to survive. What happened?
HTC CEO Yves Maitre told an audience at TechCrunch Disrupt the company would “look” at making premium handsets with “best-in-class hardware and photography” for “countries with higher GDP” in the future.
That’s not much of a roadmap to the future is it? “We might do this…” or, “We could do that…”
The smartphone industry is like any other. There are winners and there are losers. Winners do certain basics better than losers.
What can HTC do to compete against the entrenched industry leaders like Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and others?
Stevenson’s list is short.
- Don’t make a $1,000 phone
- Don’t rely on gimmicks
- Tag buyers’ nostalgia strings
Who does that sound like? Nokia.
A Chinese company bought Nokia’s brand, built a handful of halfway decent Android-based smartphones– the only gimmick being a look-a-like from yesteryear, the Nokia 3310– and priced them competitively.
- Affordable phone
- No gimmicks
- Nostalgia strings
Unseating entrenched industry leaders is not a picnic proposition, but there is methodology to the madness.
First, build a product that works exactly as well as the competitor, but price it less. Or, in the alternative, build a product that is better than the top competitor and price it the same.
Either way, there needs to be an incentive for customers to make the switch. Either less money for the same thing, or the same money for more. Can you see why it remains difficult for the like of Samsung and Microsoft and other competitors to unseat Apple?
Apple can be topped on price, but not on quality. Apple can be met on quality, but cannot be matched on ecosystem. Quality. Price. Ecosystem.
Microsoft needs to make a Surface line of PC notebook-cum-tablets that are better than a Mac or an iPad. So far, there hasn’t been much success, even with some highly touted new hardware. Why not? At some point– ecosystem, quality, price– the whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts.
Both Microsoft and Samsung have carved their own competitive positions against Apple, but have yet to weaken the industry leader. Others, like HTC, Motorola, and famouse brands of the past, have faded away because what they designed, built, and sold just wasn’t competitive with industry leaders.
If you’re over 30 and not an Apple-flunky, chances are you have owned or considered owning an HTC phone at some point.
That is why Trusted Reviews cannot be trusted. Flippant bias.