What to do when you run out of reasons to blame Apple – Scott Moritz style

Fri, Jun 25, 2010


Incapable tech pundits like John Dvorak and Rob Enderle love minimizing and dismissing Apple’s achievements as a byproduct of luck while simultaneously pumping up competing products from the likes of Microsoft and Dell that typically have little, if any, effect on the marketplace.

But there’s only so long these pundits can tout a new iPod/iPhone killer before they start sounding like broken records. There’s only so many articles one can write about how Apple’s success is rooted solely in marketing and the magical persuasive powers of Steve Jobs before you start losing credibility. There reaches a point where blind critiquing of Apple gets old for even the most hardened of pundits.

So what’s a talentless pundit to do when that fateful day happens?

Luckily, we don’t have to look far for an answer because The Street’s Scott Moritz recently decided to criticize Apple for being successful.

In an article published last week, Moritz writes that Apple’s success is systematically killing the entire tech sector.

  • Adobe, whose Flash Jobs dubbed as slow and buggy. Ever seen a vicious virtual public stoning? Look here.
  • Nokia We hardly knew ya. Apple’s ascent in smartphones leaves you stranded on Planet Dumbphone.
  • RIM Out of touch in touchscreens. Quitting BlackBerry used to take a 12-step program.
  • Microsoft Chin up! PCs are still huge.
  • Intel Not inside and not along for the ride in iPhone or iPads
  • Moritz curiously sees Apple’s success as the reason behind the struggles associated with the aforementioned companies.

    “Seldom has a tech success shared so little wealth with the rest of the sector,” Moritz writes.

    Just because the iPhone, iPod, and iPad don’t use Intel chips or Microsoft software doesn’t mean that third parties aren’t benefiting from Apple’s meteoric rise. What about Samsung, for example. And more importantly, what about the $1 billion Apple has paid out to iOS developers thus far? That’s an unbelievable figure, and if Apple’s success hasn’t translated into profitability for the likes of Nokia and Microsoft, then who really cares?

    It’s not Apple’s job to spread the wealth any more than it was Microsoft’s responsibility to ensure that Apple reaped the benefits of its Windows monopoly. But fine, if you want to cast blame on Apple for delivering products that leave competitors scrambling to keep up and struggling to keep consumers happy, then by all means.

    Also, note how Moritz just cherry picks an assortment of well-known companies but provides absolutely no substance to back up his claims. Should Apple, for example, be obliged to use Intel chips in the iPhone and iPad? Should Apple be held responsible for Microsoft’s completely chaotic mobile OS strategy? What the hell is Moritz’s point, here? And just for the record, RIM recorded a 40+% increase in profitability over the last quarter.

    Moreover, the iPhone served as the blueprint for the modern day smartphone, and has since influenced the design and function of popular handsets from Motorola to HTC. Think about what most phones looked like back in 2006 and look at how the arrival of the iPhone helped push the industry into an entirely new direction. It may have hurt a company like Microsoft in the process, but the net effect was to help consumers on the whole. If competitors weren’t able to keep up with the innovation Apple was introducing into the market place, then they have no one to blame but themselves.

    If anything, the iPhone wrestled away control from draconian cell carriers and showed users that using a phone can actually be an enjoyable, if not downright fun, experience. So is Apple killing off the tech sector? No. It’s taking the sector to new heights by setting new standards for quality and technological innovation.

    If it weren’t for the iPhone, there’d be no Nexus One, no Palm Pre, no Motorola Droid, and the list goes on and on.

    Next, and like any moronic pundit, Moritz still can’t grasp why Apple products sell as well as they do.

    What makes this argument difficult is that Apple is so good at what it does. People willingly pay extra for Apple gear. Maybe it’s the coolness, maybe it’s a cult, or maybe it’s the so-called halo effect, but Apple has demonstrated a deft hand at making products that people enjoy.

    Could it be that Apple creates products people enjoy because they employ creative and sleek hardware designs that are only matched by the utmost attention to detail and the all important, yet often overlooked, user experience? Nah, of course not. It makes a lot more sense to attribute Apple’s success to intangible notions of “coolness” and the oh-so-original argument that Apple consumers are cult-like.

    Moritz continues,

    The new iPhone, for example, doesn’t have the best parts available. In fact it doesn’t measure up to the Google Android-powered HTC Verizon Incredible and the Sprint EVO phones, which are superior machines.

    Oh yes. Apparently it’s not about how you use a device, it’s about having the best parts available. And yet, the new iPhone 4 curiously doesn’t measure up to the HTC EVO even though battery life on the EVO is garbage and there have been a rash of user complaints about unresponsive screens that are literally falling apart.

    And before you jump out of your chair, we’re well aware of the reception issues associated with the iPhone 4, but that just underscores Moritz’s idiocy. Moritz is so intent on trashing the iPhone that he decided to dismiss it as a dud before it even came out. In the process, he ironically ignored an actual reason why the iPhone 4 experience may not be as good as advertised.

    It’s truly a wonder that someone like Scott Moritz gets paid to write about tech when he clearly know so little about it.


    3 Comments For This Post

    1. RayCon Says:

      Sounds a lot like the team who is losing saying, “we’re just where we want to be. It gives us incentive.” Apple can’t win. They do poorly and they’re considered on the way out. They do great, and commentators say “it can’t last.” Give me a frickin’ break. Are all the competitors suddenly going to get better? Because that’s what it would take. It’s no accident that wannabe i-killers have failed.

    2. Walt French Says:

      Moritz continued, “[t]he new iPhone, for example, doesn’t have the best parts available.”

      But he is SOOOO right! Why, I see there is a 50 megapixel camera available for pros, an amazing Hasselblad/Kodak pairing. Why would a carmeraphone buyer be satisfied with anything less?

      Earth to Moritz: engineering is all about the right compromise — knowing where to put your effort and where to cut your costs. Otherwise you get abominations like “world’s first 4G phone” that require constant baby-sitting to turn radios on and off, have the most ungodly pretense of videophones, etc.

      Nobody likes to talk compromise; everybody wants to pretend that you can have it all. But as Jobs famously said, “real artists ship,” and sometimes that means version 4.0.1 is started before the product goes on sale because you can’t wait for perfection.

    3. Blad_Rnr Says:

      Just add Moritz to the group of analysts who don’t “get it” when it comes to Apple. Of course, their job is to “get it” but it evades them.

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