And then there were none: Apple’s destruction of rivals


My Sunday Business Washington Post column is out. This week, we look at the impact of Apple on the technology sector and their competitors. The print version had the full headline And then there were none: Apple’s destruction of rivals (The online version is merely And then there were none).

Thanks to TBP readers for emphasizing that Verizon and Samsung are key players in the space — these are two firms I might have overlooked otherwise. As I noted in the forward to BN, it was written with a similar input from blog readers.

Regardless, here’s an excerpt from the column:

“One thing that might have gotten lost in the avalanche of Steve Jobs coverage has been his impact on technology investors. Not the entire sector but rather the crushing effect that Apple has had on specific competitors. It is creative destruction writ large.

Jobs remade entire industries according to his unique vision. From music to film, mobile phones to media publishing, and now computing, his impact has been enormous. And rumors abound about the next new thing, Apple’s remake of traditional television.

While Apple 1.0 influenced how we think of the PC user interface, it was hardly the disruptive behemoth that Apple 2.0 became. The Cupertino PC maker hardly profited from its innovations — Apple was a marginal player with a tiny market share. Yes, we know the original Mac was hugely influential and mostly ripped off by Microsoft. Indeed, the Mac-maker was kept alive by a $150 million Microsoft investment in 1997. With that, Bill Gates could retain a weakened competitor and argue that his firm did not own a monopoly in operating systems. The irony is that lifeline allowed a competitor to recover to the point where it is now a threat.

But it is much more than just Microsoft. Today, the triple threat of iPod/iPhone/iPad has left behind a wake of overwhelmed business models, confounded managements and bereft shareholders. Let’s look at who has been hurt — and helped — by the perfectionist from Cupertino.”

I really like what the Post did in the dead tree version of the paper — the layout and art work is great:
click for ginormous version of print edition


And then there were none: Apple’s destruction of rivals
Barry Ritholtz
Washington Post, September 4 2011

Washington Post Sunday, September 4 2011 page G6 (PDF)

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