Originally Posted by j-uk
For this premise to work the assumption must be that the reason people buy Apple products is to stand out from the crowd.
While this might be the case for the computers, it certainly doesn't seem to be for Ipads & Iphones. Rather it seems people buy these products so as to be part of the crow
But that's part of the problem. How did Apple position itself for so long? They were the hip alternative. What is it that kills every hip or insider movement? It's the broad adoption of that movement. It's no longer hip, it's just status quo. I think that makes them vulnerable. Every such movement is largest just before it become passe and people move on.
In 95 people bought a pc when they needed a computer, if they'd heard about Mac it was too expensive and practicality prevailed. Steve Jobs created a need where there previously wasn't one and because of this it's impossible to compare this situation to Apple pre-Jobs.
That's not true. I was comparing them on business factors, and those are the same. They are going down the same road they were before. And your analysis isn't correct anyway. Before Apple tanked the first time, they were in the same situation as now. They were the darlings of the computer world and of the financial world. But they were depending on a vertically integrated strategy that required huge profits to feed a huge R&D effort. Those things are just as dangerous now as then.
It seems more likely that lack of product innovation and the fact that the competition do make products that fulfil the need of both design and function (equally as well as they do) will be the main reasons for their, likely, future loss of market share.
Which is one of the points I was making. One of the characteristics of large, successful companies is the building of feifdoms at the top, in-fighting, people counting their stock options, vanity projects, etc... All these things happen to Apple the first time around, and likely will again.
BUT, because they are so dependent on a single product, the use of which is really more fashion driven than on fundamentals, they are even more vulnerable to a swing in the finkle finger of fashion, IMO. Since they really aren't a computer company so much anymore, they don't have that to fall back on. Or, if they did fall back on it, it would be such an implosion that they might not ever come back.