Dead again: Unshipped products kill Apple every time


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Someone reset the clock! We have another “Apple killer.” We got like 15 minutes that time. New record.

Writing for InvestorPlace, John Divine has found it:

“Amazon Ecosystem: The Biggest Threat to AAPL Stock” (tip o’ the antlers to Achim Loobes)

The Macalope has said it before but there is almost nothing Amazon can do that investors will take as bad news short of them shipping Kindle Fires that are literally on fire. Or ebola-infected venemous snakes instead of Tom’s of Maine toothpaste.

“Hmm. They probably shouldn’t have done that. Still, the snakes did arrive next day. I’ll buy some more stock.”

The pieces are falling into place on a strategy that could ultimately undo Apple’s dominance

Is one of those pieces the Fire Phone, the device so nice Amazon can’t even sell it for a dollar? No, for Divine, it’s the Echo, their creepy $200 always-on information device. Tired of Amazon’s warehouse workers being the ones who get to work for the company for cheap? Fret no more! Now you can let the company aggregate your questions to augment their purchasing algorithms!

It’s interesting also that Divine considers Apple “dominant.” What it’s dominant in is not market share, of course. It excels at user experience and profit share. Does anyone seriously think Amazon is going to surpass Apple in either of those two areas when their strategy for both is to break even?

Well, don’t look now, but the Amazon ecosystem is in the early stages of making Apple’s famous ecosystem second-tier.

Because of the Echo. The $199 device that sits in one of your rooms. A device no one has used yet.

Remember how people call Apple fans crazy? Pretty hilarious, right?

The folks in Cupertino know what they’re doing.

But Apple no longer has the explosive growth potential of yesteryear.

And Amazon is firing on all cylinders! They’re unstoppable!

But even putting metrics aside, it remains clear that the glory days for AAPL stock are over: the “Bendgate” controversy, the botched iOS 8 update, and a troubling vulnerability to malware recently discovered by Palo Alto Networks Inc (PANW) are just a few of the ominous writings on the wall.

Every year pundits write pieces about how troubling Apple’s recent missteps have been, seemingly oblivious to the previous year’s opining on how troubling Apple’s recent missteps have been. It’s like Groundhog Day but not funny. Or like Edge of Tomorrow but without Emily Blunt’s sculpted biceps.

While this disastrous series of recent internal missteps surely has Steve Jobs rolling over in his grave...

Steve Jobs presided over Antennagate. Steve Jobs presided over Apple’s options backdating. Steve Jobs’s Apple was not perfect and neither is Tim Cook’s. More importantly, however, Steve Jobs is no longer with us. His opinion of Cook’s moves, if we could divine it, does not matter. And if we were to try to divine it, we wouldn’t start with the opinions of spouters of such conventional wisdom.

...the single biggest threat to Apple’s empire has been quietly brewing for years outside of Cupertino.

“I’m talking, of course, about chimps who can ride motorbikes. They’re terrifying, really. No one can stop them.”

At $199, or just $99 with an Amazon Prime membership, the Echo is high-tech enough to pique the curiosity of early adopters, practical enough to be given a chance by the casual consumer, and cheap enough to be affordable to the masses.

The huddled masses yearning to have someone tell them how many teaspoons are in a tablespoon.

That $99 price for Prime members, by the way, is a limited-time offer. So the real price of the device is $199.

Here’s why the horny one doesn’t think Echo is going to be the rousing success Divine does: Almost everyone already owns a smartphone with the same voice recognition technology in it. And most people have their smartphones with them all the time. Unless you’re going to buy one for every room like the rubes in Amazon’s Echo product video apparently did, your smartphone is more likely to be in the room with you than an Echo.

I don’t know how the Echo will do this holiday season...

Probably not too well since, you know, it’s not even out yet and right now you have to request an invitation for the opportunity to buy one “in the coming weeks.” So, yeah, let’s lower expectations for how awesome the Echo’s holiday season is going to be since it’s probably not actually going to have one unless we’re talking about Chinese New Year.

Amazon has a pretty impressive ecosystem. But so does Apple. And Amazon lacks the will to make truly great products because it’s thought is always on getting you to buy more stuff. That’s not a mindset that’s going to “kill Apple” in this lifetime or any other.

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