Say hello, Apple, to your new competitor: Lenovo

Routine is something that can really kill a company. Maybe not today. Maybe not even tomorrow. But one day down the road, the steps avoided by a market leader in  addressing future situations can be lethal.

How many times have you heard the saying “because we’ve always done it this way” in your business career? That saying should be a red alert to a business that you may be complacent.

Just a few days ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook acknowledged the company made a mistake during an analyst conference call. Apple’s iPhone 5C, basically a repackaged old iPhone 5 — did not meet a need in the marketplace.

Notwithstanding Apple’s mistake, the company reported overall record sales for iPhones that reached an unprecedented 51 million. Now this did not meet analyst’s expectations and the stock fell in overnight trading. But so what? The real issue that Apple is ignoring here is that they released a product that wasn’t innovative. That’s what the market looks to Apple for. If people wanted older technology, they would have simply stuck with their current smartphone.

Apple’s culture is, in a nutshell, to focus on themselves and basically ignore what the other competitors are doing. This routine has potential pot holes for Apple now that Lenovo plans to acquire the Motorola Mobility smartphone business from Google.

I have been keeping an eye on Lenovo’s growth in the smartphone market and while company executives tell me there are no plans to enter the smartphone market in Canada or the U.S., its overall strategy is a global one. And Lenovo has beaten out Apple  for second place in marketshare in China recently. Lenovo is now just behind Samsung in smartphone sales in their home country.

In the smartphone business you have to always innovate or, at the very least, be creative. Apple is not keeping up with the pace of change against competitors such as Samsung. And now you can add Lenovo to that mix. Lenovo is innovating with its notebooks, tablets, all-in-ones and hybrid devices. The company even has a Table PC.

Samsung, meanwhile, shipped more than 300 million smartphones in 2013 accounting for just over 30 per cent of all smartphone shipments, represented a whopping 40 per cent year-over-year growth compared to 2012, according to Juniper Research.

What does that tell you? I would love to get your opinion on this. Please comment below. Here’s what I think. Samsung and Lenovo are making more interesting products than anyone else. They may be throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks, but that’s ok. Apple maintains leadership because of routine. Many customers fell in love with their iPhone 3 years ago and haven’t yet fallen out of love so they just routinely upgrade to the next model, without even considering their options.

Apple knows this, and may be taking its customer base for granted.

Two quick hits before I go. Friend of CDN Mike Ansley got a big promotion the other day to VP of sales for Cisco Canada. I want to congratulate Mike and wish him and his team all the best with his new role.

Nigel Martin is the newly appointed as head of global marketing at Axios Systems, an IT Service Management solution provider.

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