« If we can't beat 'em, we'll join 'em and other bad ideas | Main | Does Sex Sell? »

September 2007


Laura Ries

Thank you for the lively debate. The iPhone continues to get the blogosphere buzzing.



You are back peddling now.

You need to stick by your story and just admit you where drunk when you wrote it at 4 am.

Laura Ries

iPod was always brilliant and i have always looked at it that way.

(A post from Sept 2005: http://ries.typepad.com/ries_blog/2005/09/nano.html )

When iPod was first introduced, Apple computer sales were floundering terribly.

iPod was a new brand name in a new category. It wasn't a line extension, it was a Lexus. As a high-capacity player is was the opposite of the competition. The PR generated was outstanding.

As for Apple computers, after getting black and blue from the Win-Tel machines they should have focused on a segment of the market.

FedEx did just this. Emory was killing FedEx in the delivery business. So FedEx focused on overnight. At the time a small market. But they grew that market and made it important and dominant.

For Apple, our advice was to focus on graphic arts, a place where Apple was very strong already. Graphic arts is really a broad market that could include slide presentations, movies, photos, and many other areas.

Obviously there is a lot to say about Apple. I have several posts on it, have written articles and mentioned it in books.


Laura says,
"That’s what happens when a product is in trouble is my response."

I appreciate your thoughts, but do you really think you know better than Steve Jobs? Do you KNOW that iPhones aren't selling well? Have you not figured out yet that Apple is not your typical technology company yet? Geez, everyone said the iPhone was too expensive, then when they cut the price it was too fast and too soon. They can't win.

"The only real product would be the iPod Shuffle at $79."

What about $100 in iTunes music, videos or movies for your iPhone? What about a case for it? What about software for your Mac if you have one, or a tech book, or printer or external HD? Apple sells a lot of products at their stores other than Apple-branded stuff.

"If the iPhone were truly living up to anything near its hype, then Jobs is the dumbest person alive. Lesson number one in business school: You don’t drop the price on winners."

If Jobs ran Apple like most CEOs they wouldn't be Apple. I for one am glad he didn't go to college. I can only imagine what Apple would like like with your business school logic.

"But eventually you come crashing back to reality."

What?! Macs are selling better than they EVER have been. There are estimates that they will sell over 2 million this quarter. And iPod sales are still growing after 5 years! And 270K iPhones in 30 hours? Apple's reality is a money-making machine. What's yours?

"A focus is what they need."

Are you kidding? What other company is more focused than Apple? MSFT? Intel? Dell? They would all KILL to have the kind of brand recognition and brand loyalty Apple has. Why? Because Apple is focused on delivering, not FUD like so many other companies. Apple's stock is at an all-time high and they are making more money than ever. Not focused? That statement is delusional.

"...a heap of iPod killers lying in wait."

If I have to hear that term one more time, I think I will vomit. Where are they? I keep waiting and I haven't seen them in five years. Good luck. Let us know when they arrive.

I just don't understand where you are going with this. Apple's stock is at an all-time high today. I know several people who LOVE their iPhone because it is very close to a truly convergent device. And with software updates it is only going to get better. Try that on a phone with fixed buttons. Your arguments sound way too MSFT-like: you can't imagine Apple having anything so great, yet the public has spoken and they are moving to Apple products in hordes.

This entire column is like reading a biased opinion based on pure speculation, no facts, dumb business school cliches and no ability to truly understand Apple as a company. I bet you end up on roughlydrafted.com tomorrow as Danial hands out a Zoon award to you.


You sound like a Republican. Which red state do you live in?

Wow, did you step in it.

Sorry Laura,

You've made a major mistake which completely undermined your "Apple Screwed Up" report. I'd reality check the facts on any future Apple column.

1 - Apple actually DID SELL 1 million phones to real customers in 74 days. The number DOES NOT REPRESENT 'SHIPPED' ("Zuned") numbers.

2 - From 1: As we move on, the iPhone introduction will be historically noted as the most successful product introduction ever. You'll see that "You don’t drop the price on winners" doesn't apply here. Jobs is shooting for dominance in high powered cell phones and reducing the price will speed Apple's takeover.

3 - You're right about the Touch. It will absolutely kill AND it will kill along side the soon-to-be dominant iPhone lineup (expect at least 3 iPhone models in 2008).

4 - You're also right about the $100 rebate and some other poor customer moves by Jobs. But, he is a quick learner and will be more sensitive and humble in the future.



Are you familiar with the GEICO "Caveman" spot where the "Analyst" on the fake talk show says: "We live in a society where the individual ego is at the front"?

When prompted for a response, the caveman says, incredulously, "What?"


You also probably said Apple should stick to their computer business when they launched the iPod.

"A novelty product built on the technology whims of Jobs and another in a long line of convergence chasers."

This blog post shows virtually zero insight. A complete waste of bandwidth.

Laura Ries

Credit note:

On September 7th all the media reported that only customers who purchased the $600 iPhones would receive the credit to compensate them for the $200 price cut. This did not apply to the $400 phones since they were being discontinued. The fact is Apple didn't sell very many of the smaller memory phones anyway.

USAToday, September 7, 2007

"Now, those who paid the higher price will receive a $100 credit for Apple's online or retail stores."


In reading Apple's website today, the credit offer doesn't mention which phones it applies to. I imagine in looking at it, it made more sense to just give it to everybody in an attempt to dampen the negative outrage.


I appreciate you bringing this to my attention, Dale. But I don't appreciate you insulting my integrity. I take my blog posts seriously and I spend a lot of time reading several newspapers and many magazines every day to gather facts.

In terms of how Apple reports sales, they may not count Apple store purchases until they go to a customer. But the ones to AT&T are different and AT&T accounts for a huge percentage of phone sales.

Aaron Chang

Which device do you carry with you wherever you go? Which device do you use most frequently? If you answered "phone," then why not consider the iPhone? And even if you said iPod, why not have the added convenience of having your phone in the same device?

And the real golden goose is OS X and the Mac. iPod and iPhone and AppleTV etc., are all just golden eggs that have been strewn about to engage people's interest in the real thing, the Mac.


I'm sorry, but I just don't agree with you at all, Laura. As Dale Brown said, the $100 credit applied to both iPhone models. And the 4 GB had only accounted for about 5% of sales according to most analysts... which explains why Apple decided it wasn't worth continuing.

The $100 credit is actually worth a lot at an Apple store: a bluetooth headset, a second iPhone charger or even just $100 to spend in iTunes. To say that the only thing you can get is a shuffle is disingenuous. You can buy lots of things for $100 that will make the iPhone experience even better.

Apple has put its focus on the iPhone, yes, but I think that was the *right* thing to do. I *love* my iPhone. Your idea that convergence will never happen is idiotic. Before my iPhone, I had a phone and an iPod... and yeah, I took my iPod on runs and such, but I was never the guy that took it everywhere I went, because I simply don't like having my pockets crammed full of stuff. The iPhone, even in its present state, already works 100% for me as a convergence device. I have yet to use anywhere near the entire battery in a single day. And to imply that convergence is a pipe dream is ignoring all the advancements we will quickly make. One day *really soon* everyone will be carrying around one device that does everything.

I will never buy another iPod again. That is why Apple has put their focus on the iPhone. They know that once someone has it, they're never going to want to go back to two or three devices again. I will, however, be upgrading my iPhone as fast as they come out with better models.

That said, Apple definitely still cares about the iPod. The iPod touch is the only one that would appeal to me at all if I were looking for another player. The media might have neglected it a little, but the iPod touch will get lots of attention from consumers. The idea of an "iPhone without the phone" is *exciting* to most people, not boring. There are tons of people outside the U.S. or who don't want AT&T for whom it is a godsend.

Morriss Partee

Hi Laura,

You have to realize that re-defining a space through all-in-one technology IS the very core of Steve Jobs and Apple. That is exactly the strategy and history of the Macintosh... Apple IIs were the golden goose that paid for the all-in-one Macintosh to revolutionize Apple in its day, just as the iPod is the golden goose paying for the all-in-one iPhone to potentially revolutionize hand-held computers. I applaud Apple for continuing to pursue innovation and not sticking with existing sacred cows. That takes guts, leadership, and vision.

Dale Brown

The $100 refund was for both iPhones, not just the 8GB models. But don't let a little research get in the way of your vitriol.


Laura, you're mistaking the way Apple announces sales figures with how Microsoft does. The Zune announced they sold 1 million units, but that really was a wholesale number. Apple doesn't account for sales until they've either been shipped to the customer (online) or actually _sold_ through the retail stores.

Apple knows the iPod is still an important product, and the recent revisions make this obvious. However, they're acutely aware of everything with a chip also being an MP3 player and camera. If they ignore the phone market, and the movement towards device convergence some other nitwit would be whining about that and talking about how in 3 years no one will buy iPods because whatever crap Nokia puts out is 'good enough'. Microsoft won with 'good enough', but that was mostly with businesses, consumers are the target now, and consumers are much better at seeing the difference between 'good enough' and 'insanely great'. A big part of the reason iPod isn't as big in Europe is that a lot more people there are using MP3 playing phones as their media device

Peter Cranstone

Simply spot on. Excellent analysis and on target. The phone business sucks and is a huge distraction. Google is about to find that out as well.



Hi Laura,
Nice Post :)

Just take a look at these blogs too-http://adformula.blogspot.com/2007/09/invading-content-part-1.html
we had been doing this for a while..not so intersting as yours still,
Warm Regards!

The comments to this entry are closed.

By Al & Laura Ries

As seen on

  • www.flickr.com
    ries brown's items tagged with badge More of ries brown's stuff tagged with badge
  • www.flickr.com
    This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from ries brown tagged with badge. Make your own badge here.
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 07/2004