Chrome Browser Promotion Effectiveness

Chrome is definitely a popular browser for Windows (it is debatable how popular it actally is, because the web usage tracking reports tend to not agree with each other). However, it is not very clear why it is popular.

I have tried to explain part of the reason by showing a positive correlation between Windows XP usage and Chrome adoption. This correlation suggests that users with older and less powerful machines will tend to use Chrome, either because they use Windows XP which does not run IE9 and above, or because Chrome runs better on these machines. On newer and more powerful machines, you can use the latest versions of IE (on Windows 7 or 8), and the performance will be good enough for general use.

This correlation however was not enough in magnitude to explain the popularity of Chrome.

Here I would like to note some tactics that Google is using, which have probably been very effective (Windows users at least will be quite familiar with them).

Google Home Page

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The top page for Google Search displays a banner that invites you to install Google Chrome. Since Google Search has dominant market share, this is obviously a very powerful way to promote Chrome. The problem is, most modern browsers have a search field somewhere in the UI controls which takes you directly to the search results. Hence most people will only rarely visit Google’s top page.

Adobe PDF Reader Download Page

If my memory serves my right, Microsoft was banned from bundling a PDF-viewer into Windows due to antitrust issues. As a result, users are generally required to separately install the Adobe PDF Reader to view PDF documents on the web.

When you go the Adobe’s web site to install the Adobe PDF Reader, this it the page you get.

Adobe does not simply show you a banner to install Google Chrome. It bundles Google Chrome (and the Google Toolbar) so that they are automatically installed together with the PDF Reader, unless you explicitly opt-out. This is tens or maybe hundreds of times more effective than a banner.

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And in case if you’re wondering whether Adobe makes Chrome your default browser or not, well why not? It is the default browser unless you access a hidden screen and opt-out.

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So to summarize, when normal users install Adobe PDF Reader onto their PCs, their default browser will now be Google Chrome, without their knowing it.

This is generally known as bundling, but in this case, it’s closer to a trojan horse.

Google has used this tactic with other browser plug-ins before, in particular to get users to install Google Toolbar. It is nothing new.

How much does this cost Google?

I have no information on how much Google might be paying Adobe to bundle Chrome with their PDF Viewer. We do know however how much Google is paying Mozilla to use Google as the default search engine. Google paid $300 million per year. The vast majority of Mozilla’s revenue is actually from this deal.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Google was paying Adobe in the tens of millions or even in the hundreds. It is not impossible that payments to Adobe exceed those to Mozilla. Keep in mind that Adobe’s PDF viewer has much higher market share than Firefox ever did.

Only Google

Google is the only browser manufacturer that is using these kinds of promotions. If fact, it is likely that Google is the only third-party browser vendor which has deep enough pockets to do this kind of thing. Mozilla is a non-profit organization, which relies on Google for most of its revenue. Opera is developed by a company that generated total revenue of 300 million USD in 2014. While this is a respectable amount of revenue, it is similar to the money that Google gives Mozilla. There is no way either Mozilla or Opera could fund promotion campaigns that would require bidding against Google. As expected, Google has a monopoly on these promotions. I have never seen similar ones from either Mozilla or Opera.

How effective are these promotions?

Without any data to go by, we can only speculate on the effectiveness of these promotions. However evidence suggests that at least the Adobe bundling promotion would be quite effective.

We know that Adobe PDF viewer is the defacto standard for viewing PDFs on Windows, and few people would not install it. We can also safely assume that most people would just use the default settings (install Chrome and make it your default browser) when downloading PDF viewer.

This is huge by any measure.

What can Microsoft do about this?

To prevent plug-in vendors from being a launchpad for bundled Chrome installs, Microsoft could rely on integrating plugins into IE itself. There may be problems related to antitrust however. It is interesting to note that Windows 8 does have a Metro-style Reader app that can display PDF files. There might be parts of the antitrust ruling which Microsoft could work around. However in general, I guess that it would be difficult for Microsoft to do enough integration to stop the leaks.

They could also make it more difficult for Chrome to be set up as the default browser behind your back. Adobe’s web site hides this setting so users won’t know that they are actually letting this happen. This however might also have antitrust issues.

I tend to think that it will be very difficult for Microsoft to stop this. Improving the performance of IE alone will not help. They have to include their own PDF plugin.

What does this mean?

As Chrome’s popularity has risen, many people have assumed that it was due to Chrome’s performance advantages. Although this may have been a factor, knowing that most users do not actively change default settings, I was doubtful if this could have been the most significant reason.

In my previous post, I had postulated that maybe Windows XP (which only runs up to IE8) was the reason. However the statistics, although inconclusive, suggested that it was not the major factor.

In this post, I looked at the promotions that Google was doing. Although the amount that Google is actually spending has not been disclosed, it is likely that they are spending very large amounts of money which none of their competitors could afford. Given the breadth and stealthiness of these promotions, I think it is safe to assume that these have contributed significantly. These promotions might even have been more important than any real performance improvements.

If this is the case, then no amount of performance improvements on the IE side will help IE’s market share. Chrome will continue to gain regardless.

The one bright side is that Microsoft might be able to include a simple PDF viewer plugin. A further understanding of the antitrust issues is required to see if this will be possible or not.

Update

After a bit of research on the web, it seems that Adobe was threatening Microsoft with an antitrust lawsuit over the inclusion of PDF-export features in MS-Office. I could not find any articles that suggested that this expanded to a Microsoft-developed PDF-viewer plugin in IE (it could be a confidential agreement between the two parties), but it is not unreasonable to guess that it was.

Are Chromebooks Losing Market Share in the Sub-$300 Notebook Segment?

Yesterday I wrote about an NPD report that came out for back-to-school PC sales in 2014.

In that report, Chromebook sales were reported to account for 18 percent of all sales of notebooks under $300.

This sounds like good news if you don’t remember what NPD was telling us a year ago. Stephen Baker, NPD’s Vice President of Industry Analysis for Consumer Technology, said the following;

In the last eight months Chromebooks have snagged 20 percent to 25 percent of the U.S. market for laptops that cost less than $300.

If Chromebooks sales have truly fallen from 20-25% market share to 18% market share in the sub-$300 laptop segment, that’s pretty bad news for them. Not that it’s particularly good news for Microsoft either.

Back-to-School PC Sales 2014

NPD published their report for US consumer retail PC sales during the 10 week back-to-school period yesterday.

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U.S. consumer retail PC sales grew almost 3 percent during the 10 week Back-to-School period (week of July 4th through Labor Day week) after declining by 2.5 percent in the previous year.

So it seems like PC sales aren’t falling too badly and have actually risen a bit. Mac sales are continuing to be quite strong. Chrome OS has made some gains but not nearly as impressive as compared to 2012-13.

As I have repeatedly said in this blog, what I find interesting is how Microsoft is retaliating to Chromebooks.

Chromebook sales were up 32 percent in 2014 and accounted for more than 5 percent of notebook sales, and 18 percent of all sales of notebooks under $300. Windows notebook ASPs fell over the last three weeks to just $441, which was 8 percent lower than last year, but the price cuts lifted units by 4 percent. Entry-level Windows Notebooks priced under $300 increased by 37 percent as prices dropped from $271 to $242. 2-in-One Windows devices accounted for 13 percent of Windows sales as volume increased 6x over 2013.

What we see is that low-cost Windows notebooks that are price-competitive with Chromebooks are increasing sales in line with the rise in Chromebook sales (37 percent vs. 32 percent). Hence it appears that although Chromebooks sales are up 32 percent, the market share of Chromebooks within the notebooks-under-$300 segment is not increasing. What is happening is that the notebooks-under-$300 segment expanded 30%, and both Chrome OS and Windows machines increased their sales at the same rate within this segment.

Simply put, Chromebooks are not gaining market share relative to Windows notebooks in the sub-$300 segment. What’s happening is that the sub-$300 segment is rising 30%.

Within this segment, Chromebooks have 18% market share whereas Windows has the remainder. To eventually win over Windows, Chromebooks has to be growing much more rapidly. The possibility that Chromebook share is not rising at all in this segment is a huge red flag.

Looking at the big picture, Microsoft has simply made the typical response that an incumbent would make when faced with low-end disruption. Microsoft’s software business is very much fixed-cost, and hence they tend to fiercely guard market share at the expense of margins. They have also made similar responses in the past.

Nothing new here, but still interesting to see this play out according to theory.

The Moment of Truth For High-End Android

AnandTech published their preliminary iPhone Plus and iPhone 6 Plus benchmark results yesterday.

The results are damning for Android.

Without going into detail, both the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus posted solid but not incredible improvements compared to last year’s iPhone 5s.

The problem for Android is that none of the high-end Android phones that were released in the previous year (HTC One, Moto X, Galaxy S5, Xperia Z1s, LG G3, etc.) could even beat last year’s iPhone 5s. In browser based tests in particular, the iPhone 5s still managed to leave high-end Android devices in the dust; definitely an embarrassment for Google which continues to brag about their browser’s speed on the desktop.

The question is whether or not Android can catch up.

Android has two major cards that it can play to significantly improve performance.

One is to move to 64-bit hardware. Most Android devices, even the high-end ones are still on 32-bit. Apple managed to dramatically improve processing power as they moved to a 64-bit architecture and the hope is that Android might also see a good speed bump.

The other is Android RunTime (ART) which is the successor to Dalvik and will be introduced in Android L. Google has said that this can significantly boost performance.

Up till now, I have not seen any encouraging results. Benchmarks of Android L (on 32-bit hardware) have not shown performance improvements. On the other hand, a 64-bit Android phone (the HTC Desire 820) has been benchmarked (on the 32-bit KitKat OS), and the results are not impressive relative to high-end 32-bit Android phones.

I do not intend to draw conclusions from these preliminary benchmarks, none of which directly tell us whether 64-bit hardware on Android L will be significantly faster or not.

What I would like to say is that the next few months in which we can expect the official release of Android L and 64-bit hardware, will tell us whether or not Android will continue to lag behind iPhone or not.

If Android cannot match the iPhone 5s, let alone the iPhone 6, even with Android L and 64-bit hardware, then there we will have to accept a situation where Android can no longer compete in the high-end.

Apple Watch Pricing Strategy Thoughts: 2

In my previous post, I suggested that if Apple took a cost-based pricing strategy for the 18K gold Apple Watch Edition, then the price differential might not be too large ($500 – $1000) and within reach of a normal fashion conscious consumer. I also argued that Apple should not be pricing to maximize profits, but they should be pricing to expand the ecosystem. Hence it would be in Apple’s best interests to make the 18K gold Apple Watch Edition affordable.

One thing that caught my attention while I was researching for this article, was that roughly 70% of the gold metal in a Rolex 18K gold watch is in the bracelet. In a teardown analysis of the Gent’s Rolex President, the pure gold content by component was;

  1. Case ring: 13.875 grams
  2. Case back: 5.41 grams
  3. Bezel: 3.98 grams
  4. Bracelet 51.46 grams

Coming back to the Apple Watch Edition, Apple has not announced an 18K gold bracelet. If you look at the photos, you also notice that the back side of the 18K gold Apple Watch Edition is not gold, but is dominated by the heart rate sensor which is identical to the one on the Apple Watch Sport. Therefore, the gold content of an Apple Watch Edition is most likely only a small fraction of what is used in a Rolex.

This corroborates the idea that if Apple follows a cost-based pricing strategy, then the price differential doesn’t need to be very large.

Even more interestingly, it shows us what strategies Apple could use to appeal to the people who for some reason want to spend fortunes on their watches. Simply put, they or some third-party could sell solid gold or diamond-laden bracelets which would snap into a 18K gold Apple Watch Edition. Ordinary folk can use the beautifully designed straps that Apple has announced.

A similar discussion on Apple Watch bracelets has been given by Drew Breunig (via @royrod) which is also worth reading. Drew also discusses the compelling idea that this solves the obsoletion problem caused by rapidly evolving technology.

It is my conviction that Apple has given this pricing and affordability thing a huge amount of thought. I believe that there was intense discussion on how they could cover the mid-range and the ultra-high end in one swoop. Instead of following what the Swiss watch makers are doing, I’m sure that they thought different.

The idea that I have presented above is a hypothesis of how they might have come up with a solution.

Apple Watch Pricing Strategy Thoughts

There has been speculation that the price of the 18K gold Apple Watches may be several thousands of dollars higher than the stainless steel versions. John Gruber has written a blog post on how he came to this guess. John Gruber guesses that the 18K Apple Watch Edition will start from $4,999.

To arrive at this number, John Gruber analysed the prices of 18K gold Rolex watches. He found that they are priced at over $30,000 and so in fact, the $4,999 figure that he arrives at is much much lower that luxury Swiss watches. I think he was trying to find a sweet spot between luxury Swiss watches and the price of current Apple products.

This is definitely one pricing strategy that Apple may follow.

However, pricing is a very very difficult topic. There is no single correct pricing strategy. In fact, as you can see on Wikipedia, there are many pricing strategies that are in use (and this article only lists the general ones). John Gruber’s analysis is absolutely correct, but only if Apple’s pricing strategy is “Market-oriented pricing”.

Let’s see what would happen if Apple chose to use a different pricing strategy.

Cost-based pricing

This is the practice of basing the price on the cost-of-goods. In the Wikipedia article, strategies like Absorption pricing and Contribution margin-based pricing are cost-based price strategies.

If Apple were to follow this strategy, the price differential of a stainless steel/sapphire glass Apple Watch and a 18K gold/sapphire glass Apple Watch Edition would be roughly equal to the cost differential of stainless steel and 18K gold.

What would this price be? What is the cost different between stainless steel and 18K gold?

To understand this, we need to know how much 18K gold is contained in an Apple Watch. We don’t know the answer to this, but I found an article on the Internet that measured how much gold was used in an 18K gold Rolex watch. This will give us a rough idea of how much gold may be used in an Apple Watch Edition.

“How Much Gold Is Really In A Rolex Watch?”

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This article tears down a Men’s Rolex President (photo) to find how much gold is used. The results are as follows;

Case ring weights 18.5 grams. Contains 13.875 grams of pure gold. It has a value of $178.43.

Case back weighs 7.21 grams. Contains 5.41 grams of pure gold. It has a value of $69.57.

Bezel weighs 5.30 grams. Contains 3.98 grams of pure gold. It has a value of $51.18.

The bracelet weighs 68.85 grams. Contains 51.64 grams of pure gold. It has the most value at $664.09.

The total value of the pure 24kt. gold in this Rolex President is $963.27.

Since the Apple Watch Edition does not come with a solid gold bracelet, the total value of the pure 24kt. gold in watch would be

$963.27 - $664.09 = $299.18

That’s actually not very much.

Furthermore, the case back of the Apple Watch Edition does not have much gold because the heart rate sensor takes up a lot of space. For the Apple Watch Edition, I would estimate something like $230.

Gold prices have risen very significantly (2-3 times) since this teardown article was written in 2006 (probably due to the excessive quantitative easing by the Fed in response to the global financial crisis), so we might actually be looking at a total value of something like $500 – $1,000.

This suggests that if Apple follows a pure cost-based pricing strategy, the price difference between an Apple Watch (stainless steel) and an Apple Watch Edition (18K gold) will only be about $1,000 at maximum.

Developers

In PCs, smartphones and the Apple Watch, developers play a very important role. This is likely to strongly affect any pricing decisions that Apple will make.

To understand this, take a look at the video of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates at All Things D5 from (15:52). They talk about their collaboration on the original Macintosh on which, not only Apple but Microsoft had bet their future on. Bill Gates mentions that when Steve first came, he had mentioned that the price of the Mac would be much lower than it eventually turned out to be at $2,495. In fact, Steve Jobs fought for the Mac to be prices $500 lower, but lost out to John Sculley.

Why would Steve aim for low price? Because a low price would mean more units would sell, which would mean that Microsoft and other software developers would be able to sell more software and make more money. This would invite more and more developers to write software for the Mac and create a vibrant and healthy ecosystem.

Coming back to the Apple Watch, Apple has to entice developers to write software for it. They have to create a vibrant ecosystem around the watch. This means that they need to sell a lot of units. Maybe not as many as iPhones or iPads, but at least enough to make developers excited about it.

Keep in mind that while Apple may rake in a lot of money from a luxury watch, app developers will not be able to charge a premium for wealthy customers. A billionaire and a person on the street both pay the same few dollars for the very same app.

A luxury watch that will cost more than $4,999 and will only sell to a relatively small number of wealthy customers will not contribute much to the ecosystem.

Tentative conclusion

My guess is that Apple will price the Apple Watch Edition 18K gold models using a cost-based pricing strategy. That is to say that the price difference between the stainless steel model and the 18K gold model will be between $500 to $1,000 at current raw gold prices.

The basis of my guess is that Apple does not have to employ the same pricing strategy as the Swiss luxury watch makers. In fact, doing so will harm the developer ecosystem that Apple wants to build up.

The priority for Apple should not be about maximizing short-term profit. It should be about selling large numbers of watches and building the ecosystem for long-term gain. And I’m sure that Apple is fully aware of this because of the near-fatal mistakes during the Sculley, Gassee years.

Update

  • I reduced the cost analysis for the Apple Watch Edition after realizing that the back case doesn’t use gold.
  • I have written some further thoughts on this topic.

Apple Pay Momentumn

In a previous post, I described some differences in how Apple Pay handles data relative to Google Wallet, and discussed some implications. I also linked to an article on the New York Times (“Banks Did It Apple’s Way in Payments by Mobile”) that suggested that banks and credit card companies are quite eager to work with Apple Pay.

The interesting thing is, we are hearing about this more and more every day. Banks really do seem to be eager to get on board. For example, the Financial Times has an article titled “US banks race to gain Apple Pay card advantage”.

This kind of activity suggests that Apple Pay may at long last crack the nut on mobile, NFC payments.

Getting the channel this excited is a very, very big deal.

Is Apple Going After Google?

On The Charlie Rose Show, Tim Cook was uncharacteristically harsh on Google, or so it seemed to my eyes.

Some quotes;

Our business is not based on having information about you. You’re not our product.

I think everyone has to ask, how do companies make their money? Follow the money. And if they are making money mainly by collecting gobs of personal data, I think you have a right to be worried, and you should really understand what’s happening with that data, and the companies I think should be very transparent about this.

I’m offended by lots of it.

Tim Cook also mentioned prior to this quite strongly that Apple’s competition is not Samsung but Google. (32min 20sec on this video)

I find this very interesting. Steve Jobs tended to divert attention when asked about his feelings towards Google, although we know for a fact that he was mad at them copying the iPhone with Android. As far as I know, Tim Cook’s words are the most critical I have heard from an Apple executive.

With the launch of iOS8 and iPhone 6, many analysts have observed that the advantages that Android (and Samsung) had over Apple are mostly diminished. Hence at least in the United States, it is very likely that iPhone will take market share away from Android. Apple has also improved its Maps application, and it seems that iOS users are mainly using it over Google Maps. It is also common understanding that Google is paying Apple to keep Google as the default search engine on mobile safari. It looks like Google is quite reliant on Apple as a partner, but that Apple is increasingly gaining a stronger bargaining position.

On the other hand, Apple’s attempts to keep Android at bay through patent litigation has proved to be for the most part unsuccessfull. In some cases the courts have found that Samsung has infringed on Apple patents, and as a result, some features have been removed. This hasn’t however prevented Android from gaining in popularity and market share around the world.

My hunch is that Apple has changed its strategy from simply trying to block Android through litigation, to a strategy where Apple will try to damage Google’s core business and revenue source, that is collecting user data and using it for advertising.

The motivation of such a strategy is quite simple. Outside of its core business of search and advertising, Google consistently tries to undermine a successful business by giving away a similar product for free. This is what they did to Microsoft Office with Google Docs and to the iPhone with Android. They are also aiming to do the same with Chrome OS. As Apple introduces the Apple Watch, Google will inevitably modify Android Wear and give that away for free, which may cause headaches for Apple. Google can do this because it makes so much money from advertising. They use this money to fund unprofitable businesses with the goal of commoditizing that market.

Apple has found that they cannot directly block the free products that Google creates. The patent litigation process takes too much time for it to be effective in the fast changing tech landscape. Instead, Apple might be thinking that preventing Google from earning so much money from search is the better approach.

If this is the case, we may see much more public relations efforts from Apple (and even maybe in concert with Microsoft) to educate the public that Google is collecting and using customer information for advertising purposes, and that we should be concerned. We can also expect Apple to move more aggressively with Spotlight in iOS so as to all but eliminate the need to search on the Internet. It looks like this is going to be done quite forcefully.

It will be fascinating to watch.

Update

On Sept. 18th, soon after the Charlie Rose Show aired, Apple posted a letter from Tim Cook on its web site. It reiterated what Tim Cook said on the show about piracy and about the practices of Google (without mentioning the name). It’s actually not a single letter, but a new privacy section of their website with a few more pages detailing how Apple handles privacy. It is now evident that Tim Cook’s comments on the show were not spontaneous, but was an initiative that Apple had planned for a while.

“A message from Tim Cook about Apple’s commitment to your privacy.”

A few years ago, users of Internet services began to realize that when an online service is free, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. But at Apple, we believe a great customer experience shouldn’t come at the expense of your privacy.

I expect we will be seeing much more comments like this coming out of Tim Cook and Cupertino this year. It will be very interesting if they can take it to the point where Google starts feeling like retaliating.

Apple Watch Strategy

The introduction of the Apple Watch at the Flint Center at Sept. 9th was both similar and different from past product announcements. Some have seem this as a weakness or change within Apple. I see it however as simply a realization and adaptation of the unique challenges Apple faces, as it enters a product category that has been an extremely obvious target, but has proved elusive for both Google and Samsung.

Fashion

Fashion was very much emphasized at the event. In particular, many fashion journalists were invited to the Flint Center to attend the event. You can also see this in the way they introduced the Apple Watch. They almost immediately went to Jony Ive’s video which, as always, focused a lot on the design aspects of the product.

Rather than make the fashion journalists bored stiff with technical details or what features the watch can perform, they went straight to the appearance and feel of the product.

This clearly shows that Apple has placed a very high emphasis on fashion, probably because they hope that will be a strong driver of sales.

Although Apple is a very, very strong brand, its ability to attract fashion conscious customers and to get the distribution channels to behave according to Apple’s wishes is untested. This will be a very large challenge for them.

Developers

The description of product features was done by Kevin Lynch, former Adobe CTO and current vice president of technology at Apple. It was very extensive and they demoed a lot of applications. At the end of Kevin’s talk, he also went into WatchKit, the API for notifications.

Some say that this description lacked focus. That they simply showed a lot of apps without a clear message of what the the unique purpose of Apple Watch was. It is true that the positioning of Kevin’s talk was unusual since it actually preceded Tim Cook’s description of the three pillar features.

The most rational way to think about this is that Apple was showing off what the Apple Watch was capable of, as a way to excite third party developers to create new and exciting apps. That is, the emphasis of Kevin’s talk was not about us but about developers.

Back when the iPhone was introduced, Apple had not prepared an SDK for third-party development, and the App Store had not even been invented. The power of third-party developers to extend and to bring value to the platform had not been fully realized. Fast forward to today, the situation is totally different. Apple recognizes that developers are vital and indeed the key to getting mass adoption of the Apple Watch. In fact, developers are more important than any focused marketing message that Apple may come up with.

Developers are much more important now. Apple obviously and correctly decided that instead of them dictating how the product should be used, they should just lay out all the stuff on the table and let the developers choose what they want to use. Of course Apple added some great features like the taptic engine and the heart rate monitor (which I think is much more capable than the tiny ones that are on Google Wear devices). I think however that Apple realizes that these will be most powerful when they are integrated into third-party apps which, for example, can combine them with social networks.

What this suggests is that Kevin Lynch’s presentation was very much directed to the developer community. Apple is probably counting on developers to expand the Apple Watch platform, and giving them the information that they need as early on as possible.

Mass Market Appeal

Another rather unusual thing that Apple did for the current introduction is that they fed the hype. For example, they let ABC News’ David Muir in backstage after the introduction for an exclusive interview, and naturally ABC News hyped it the previous day.

They also used very strong words like “historical” and Tim Cook has repeatedly mentioned that this event marks a turning point for Apple. The rational explanation for Apple itself fueling the hype engine is that Apple felt that it was important that as many people as possible knew about the Apple Watch on day one.

This suggests that instead of following the usual technology adoption life cycle (enthusiasts -> early adopters -> early majority -> late majority -> laggards) and initially target early adopters, Apple plans to jump start at the early majority.

In fact, that is kind of what happened to the iPad. The iPad didn’t have much of an early adopter phase and uptake was extremely rapid. The iPad may have taught Apple that at its current scale and market position, you don’t have to follow the classical “crossing the chasm” theme; you can take the whole market in a single gulp.

I’m not sure why Apple senses the need to attack the mass market from the beginning. Maybe it’s simply because it thinks it can. Maybe it’s to go so far ahead before Google has a chance to catch up. Maybe it’s related to the fashion push. Maybe it’s because they thing that the Apple Watch is a prerequisite to some other stuff that they have in preparation. I don’t know.

One thing is sure. If they want to keep this hype level as high as it is, it will be a huge challenge for even Apple.

Strategy

Instead of lambasting Apple because the presentation of the Apple Watch did not closely follow in the footsteps of Steve Jobs the Master, it is more constructive to try to understand why Apple chose to diverge from the well trodden path. Of course, this assumes that Tim Cook and his team of truly top-class executives know what they are doing, but that isn’t exactly a leap of faith.

Looking at the sequence and structure of the Apple Watch introduction as I have above, it is clearly obvious that Apple’s primary concern in the fashion aspect. And secondly, it’s about the developers. It’s about what developers will do with the graphics, the sensors and the taptic engine on the phone.

The features that Apple Watch may have outside of simply telling the time, the “reason to exist” as many critics have commented, are at this point only the third priority. That is clearly what the structure of the presentation tells us.

Judging from the presentation structure and sequence, that is Apple’s strategy for marketing the Apple Watch.

It was not a mistake. It was most likely very intentional.

Who Will Sell The Luxury Google Wear Device?

There are so many questions following Apple’s announcements on Tuesday Sept. 9th. A lot of these involve competitor reactions.

Here I would like to touch on who will sell the luxury Google Wear device?

We now know that Apple Watch is going to enter the luxury watch segment with its 18K gold bodies. What will the competition do?

Arguably the best candidate for a well designed and luxurious Google Wear device is the Moto 360 by Motorola (Lenovo). Unfortunately, the attention to detail did not seem to extend to the straps. It may be the most premium Google Wear device, but it clearly wasn’t designed with luxury in mind.

Then who will?

Will it be Samsung? They own the high-end segment of Android smartphones and are well positioned in that sense. The problem with Samsung is that it is hardly a luxury brand. Even the high-end smartphones that it ships have been constantly criticized for a cheap look-and-feel.

Will it be HTC? They have created some gorgeous looking smartphones, but as a brand, they are hardly luxury. The same can be said of LG.

Will it be Motorola? Well the Moto 360 was a nice try. The Moto X however has been a dismal failure.

I tend to think that no current Android smartphone maker is up to the task of creating a luxury watch. They simply don’t have the brand, and it’s very unlikely that they can achieve the detail to attention that is required.

It is more likely that some of the Swiss watch makers will team up with a tech company to deliver a smartwatch. It is very possible that the Apple Watch will eat into the luxury watch segment and steal customers away from the Swiss watch makers. To defend themselves, Swiss watch makers might enter smartwatches, and since the only platform they can use is Google Wear, that is what they will probably use.

I would hate to say “OK Google” to a Rolex watch though. That is so humiliating.