The "Competition is Good for Us" Meme that needs to Die

Discussion in 'iPad' started by vrDrew, May 12, 2011.

  1. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    Every new device that comes along from HP; Asus; Samsung; RIM; etc. that essentially copies the iPad is met with a barrage of comments expressing the thought: "Competition is Good!"

    This might be an economic truism but there is little, if any, evidence that it actually has any merit. At least as far as Tablet computing devices are concerned. Lets examine the facts:

    1) Competition Lowers Prices. Perfect competition between producers of identical products (loaves of bread, bushels of wheat) probably does work that way. But not in computing devices. Apple is what economists call a "Price Setter." It has sufficient market power that can set prices for its devices. Prior to the iPad's introduction, Tablet PCs running Windows cost $1000 or so. Did "competition" force Apple to price the iPad at $500? Of course not. Apple recognized that the real "competition" for the iPad was consumers spending that $500 on something else - a new TV, a camcorder, etc.

    2) Competition advances technology. In 2010 Apple introduced a 9.7" touchscreen computer. In the year following, dozens of manufacturers essentially copied this format, with varying degrees of success. How did this "advance" technology? Answer: It didn't, and it won't. It doesn't matter if 99% of the tablets introduced in the next year somehow manage to run Flash - it still isn't going to "force" Apple to do the same. Apple is the market LEADER. Other manufacturer are FOLLOWERS.

    3) Competition is Good for Software Development: No, it isn't. Its a nightmare. Developers are forced to choose which of half a dozen different platforms they are going to develop for. Look at the explosion of software titles that arose once the PC industry "standardized" on the Wintel format.

    4) Competition is Good for Consumers: No it isn't. Too much "choice" simply confuses and alienates consumers. That's why "losing" formats like residential DC electricity, Betamax video recorders, and HD-DVD had to disappear.

    5) Competition fosters Innovation: No, it doesn't. Once the "economic profits" of the PC industry settled on Microsoft and Intel, how much "innovation" was there among PC makers? Answer: Not much. The PC still has the same basic configuration it did almost twenty years ago: A metal chassis holding various circuit boards and disk drives. Excessive competition removes profits the industry. Without profits - there is insufficient investment in future technology. Stagnation results.

    By way of contrast, Apple has used the "economic profits" it generated from its succesful iPod and iPhone businesses to develop the iPad. Conclusion: Profits foster innovation - Excess competition stifles it.

    Another manufacturer introducing their "copy" of the iPad isn't going to do anything to make iPads cheaper. It isn't going to make the next iPad any better. It is only going to fragment and REDUCE the amount of software available. Its only going to make things more complicated for online content suppliers.

    The only way "competition" is going to be good is if a rival manufacturer actually produces a truly INNOVATIVE device. Something that actually changes the way we think about and use computer technology. That would be something to cheer. Another "copycat" device is simply worthy of our scorn.
  2. luked14 macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2010
    You raise some very interesting points. I thnk Apple's real competition is itself. The only tablet that can compare to the iPad 2 is the iPad 1, and Apple is left to outdo itself every product release since no competition exists in the market.
  3. juliuspierpont macrumors member

    May 11, 2007
    In think you're right to an extent, and I'm tired of all of the people who think they contribute to each thread by chiming in with "competition is good!" like they thought of it all by themselves. But I also think that if the copycats weren't out there challenging iPad's specs and capabilities, there would really be no reason for iPad 2 or 3. Until someone challenges Apple, they have no compelling reason to make anything newer or better. With the copycats breathing down their necks, they need to keep upping their game.
  4. thelookingglass macrumors 68000

    Apr 27, 2005
    I don't completely agree. You don't think Apple is keeping a close eye on the feature set of Android? You don't think that maybe the development of certain features is accelerated because competitors are working on the same or similar concept?
  5. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Sorry, but competition IS good.

    Android has gained enough traction to where Apple will have to push its OS further than it probably would have in the first place. The notification system is pathetic, we've had the same single task intrusive method for close to five years, but with several OSes having far superior systems Apple will have push that aspect.
  6. bufffilm Suspended


    May 3, 2011
    i agree that you that competition doesn't necessarily mean lower prices. and the rest of your post is mostly meaningless and merely your opinion. frankly, who cares if stupid consumers might get confused with all the choices out there. if someone is too lazy to research before they buy, why do i care?

    competition does play an important role though. if you don't think so, then keep drinking the apple kool-aid.
  7. whooleytoo macrumors 604


    Aug 2, 2002
    Cork, Ireland.
    If there were more competition, Apple wouldn't be a price-setter. If Apple has - say - 82% of the tablet market, they decide the price points. If instead, Apple had 40% and Android 60%, Apple wouldn't have the same power.

    Apple didn't invent the touchscreen computer, or tablet; their one key innovation was a UI designed for touch-input. And if you look at how the other manufacturers have responded, it shows how competition does work - the market leader in the tablet market (Apple) has spurred the entire industry into life. Sony, Nintendo, Google, Microsoft all seem to be responding to the renewed competition from Apple. That's good.

    Cross-platform development is pretty much the norm these days; it's not a major road-block. Sure, developers would prefer to have just one platform to develop for, it would be cheaper! But in that situation, whoever develops that platform would OWN the software development market, and be in a position to dictate whatever terms they choose. Not good.

    I'd rather be confused which choice, than frustrated with no choice. Were it not for competition, iTMS would probably still have DRM.

    This one is certainly partly true. If competition is too fierce, there's often a "race to the bottom" where everyone is competing on price and can't afford to innovate too much. But then, if there's also little incentive to innovate either. Why bother ever developing an "iPad 3" if there was no other choice for consumers than the iPad 2?
  8. gonnabuyamacbsh macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2010
    Agree a bit with points you mentioned but disagree completely with the whole message. Competition is GOOD GOOD GOOD. wtf you smoking? Pass me some. :p
  9. Skika macrumors 68030

    Mar 11, 2009
    So basically u agree that competition is good. You just think the definition of competition should be thought upon differently. Becouse most people confuse copycats with competition, which is infact innovation.

  10. poloponies Suspended

    May 3, 2010
    Anyone who thinks Apple will be moved by competition just needs to look at the smartphone market. The market for tablets can't get much more crowded than the smartphone market yet Apple will still pick its own path in either market. Either it works for you or it doesn't. Competition won't guarantee that Apple will meet your expectations but it will give you alternatives to buy.
  11. peaceActivist macrumors regular


    Mar 7, 2011
    Xerox, Apple, Microsoft. If competition wasn't healthy, we wouldn't have half the stuff we have today.
  12. BlindMellon macrumors 65816


    Apr 4, 2011
    Actually, no I don't. If they did, they wouldn't have a 16 month development cycle on the iPhone 5 which, arguably, will just be a refresh. Apple needs to get out more.
  13. VidPro macrumors 6502a


    Mar 16, 2011
    Of course. It's good for everybody except the loser. I remember when Sega was around Who would have thought then they couldn't stay in the hardware market. Never say never. Apple can fall too.
  14. Mad Mac Maniac macrumors 601

    Mad Mac Maniac

    Oct 4, 2007
    A little bit of here and a little bit of there.
    wow, that's some pretty keen insider knowledge you have there. do you mind posting some pics of your prototype iPhone 5? kthxbye.

    But on the topic. OP you certainly make some good points. I think it really comes down to the right balance of competition, along with a healthy dose of innovation.

    Too many copycats creates confusion and fragmentation on both hardware and software. That could lead to many headaches. If prices get driven down too low then that could lead to paper thin revenue streams with not enough cash flow for R&D

    But there still needs to be a large force pressuring companies to improve. If Apple is left all alone in the tablet market, they don't have any reason to improve. They can just stamp a new number on it each year and be done with it. They can jack the price up if they want too. They would have a monopoly. Also with competition, people are bound to hit on some innovations, both hardware and software. If apple is the ONLY one innovating it will be a much slower process than if Apple has an innovation, then samsung has an innovation, then android adds a really awesome features, etc. It helps create ideas with more ppl participating.
  15. weespeed macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2010
    Maybe just maybe, they saw the competition and said, we need to make the iPhone 5 better. So they changed their update cycle.

    Nah.. that's too logical...
  16. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    THANK YOU!!!! I think the SAME freaking thing every time I hear someone who thinks they are intelligent by posting "Competition is good!" or "Thank goodness now such and such company has some competition!" Its like they don't have a free thought in their head and simply repeat what others have said.

    Your points are right on the money! (Anyone who thinks otherwise doesn't do much technology trend following).
  17. Bubba Satori Suspended

    Bubba Satori

    Feb 15, 2008
    No, "meme" and fear of competition need to die. :rolleyes:
  18. chrono1081 macrumors 604


    Jan 26, 2008
    Isla Nublar
    Yet another stupid meme that needs to die. Sorry dude but the OP brought up completely valid points. Competition works in some industries for some things, others it does not.
  19. bufffilm, May 12, 2011
    Last edited: May 12, 2011

    bufffilm Suspended


    May 3, 2011
    nope, they're not completely valid points. some of them are so badly argued with the examples cited by the OP (#2 & #5 are especially bad), that it's painfully obvious he and you don't have a clue what you're talking about.
  20. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    Apple needs competition to get off it's ass often.

    Without competition from Android the iPhone4 would not be around now I'm certain.

    Apple have to keep upping their game mainly due to pressure from other companies so Apple does not appear to be too far behind.
  21. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Dec 1, 2008
    Competition is good. The issue is that other tablet devices have thus far failed to adequately measure up to (i.e. compete with) the iPad; however, whatever innovative features come out of those efforts can be consolidated as tablet development continues.

    Apple doesn't offer everything to everyone. I love my iPhone, and my Macbook Pro, but I use a rooted Barnes and Noble Nook as a tablet, because it offers the features that I need in a form factor that I find preferable to the iPad, and at a lower price. I can only hope that the proliferation of 7-inch tablets will eventually influence Apple to develop its own, but until then, I'll be sticking with the competition.
  22. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Jul 17, 2008
    I think as long as Steve Jobs heads Apple, he'll be pushing the company to innovate, competition or not, just because he wants to. Hearing this idea that Apple will stop innovating if there were no competition gets tiresome. Did Apple make the iPhone and iPod touch because they had competition? When the first iPad came out, was there any competition? No, Apple innovated just because they could and they wanted to.
  23. donnaw macrumors 65816

    Apr 19, 2011
    Austin TX
    I'm confused OP. Is it you contention that "competition" is not a good thing? That all other companies should just throw in the towel and Apple be the only company to make smart phones or tablets? You do know that Apple did not "invent" either? I have had a "smart phone" w with a touch interface since at least 2004. Had my first tablet "slate" form since about 2005. Had "competition not been "what companies do - then (per your premise) Apple had no reason to even make the iPhone or the iPad.

    Competition is ALWAYS good. It does spur innovation. Whether it drives Apple or not is a moot point. It drives the free market and the free market pretty much drives competition - nice circle there. Some technologies (and companies) win and some lose. But without that competition things would become stagnant. Look what happened with the space program. Competition between Russia and the US put us on the moon. When Russia dropped out we stopped too.

    And as for "choice". Some people may be confused but that is no reason to remove it from existence. People who want to learn will. Those who don't will just go with crowd. Not too much different from the times (which I remember well) where people said we didn't need computers in the work place. "It's too hard to learn. Our staff won't be able too.". Or "we're doing fine right now- why change?".

    To me this rant sounds more like fear of competition.
  24. TheWheelMan macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2011
    That's silly. There is always need for a new iteration of a device because at some point a product reaches a saturation point in the marketplace and the sales begin to drop. You can't sell iPads if most everyone who would want one, has one. So you create bigger and better to drive a new round of sales. Competition may breed innovation, but so does the need for ongoing profits.
  25. jclardy macrumors 68040


    Oct 6, 2008
    Possible, or maybe they didn't want to alienate their Verizon US customers who just got the iPhone 4 three months ago? It would be less than half a year for those who bought it on the first day if they released iPhone 5 in June.

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