Product Innovation Trends

Accelerating Innovation: Competition in Mobile Markets

Jessica Davis | March 7, 2014

The following is second in a series of excerpts from our whitepaper: Better, Smarter Faster: Accelerating Innovation Across The Enterprise. Read the first post, Accelerating Innovation: The New Economic Reality.

The Fruits of their Labors: Apple and BlackBerry

It wasn’t so long ago when it seemed as if there was a BlackBerry clipped to every belt and purse. In 2007, BlackBerry stock was selling at an all- time high of $230 per share. But something else happened that year—Apple introduced the iPhone. Things changed in a hurry, and we all know what came next. But why did it happen that way?

For many years, BlackBerry was an innovative leader in the mobile industry, building revolutionary communications devices like two-way pagers and phones with two-way radio. Because of built-in security features and push email, they came to own the smartphone market—especially in the business world. When the iPhone arrived, BlackBerry assumed that large enterprises and governments would be hesitant to adopt consumer-level devices.

It was a textbook case of the Innovator’s Dilemma: too much focus on their core business. BlackBerry claimed that the upstart iPhone
was irrelevant, and the sales were too small to notice. But a funny thing happened with the upstart iPhone. Those enterprise and government employees often came home at night, put down their BlackBerry devices, and picked up their
fun, easy-to-use iPhones. Before long, people decided that they wanted that usability at work, too. And enterprise leaders figured out that they could save a lot of money if their workers were willing to pay for their own mobile devices.

cellphones

There are many reasons for the rise of the iPhone
and the fall of BlackBerry, but one of the most
significant issues was a failure on BlackBerry’s
part to pivot fast enough to stay a step ahead of
the curve. BlackBerry launched products that
were late to market and missed the mark with
consumers. They took three years to release a
new operating system. They focused on features
they thought their customers were looking than simple collaboration. for, like security and longer battery life, while failing to deliver what people actually wanted, like a camera, or a wide array of useful apps.

Meanwhile, Apple had been busy monopolizing the consumer market and becoming the benchmark for smartphone usability. They had also managed to quickly iterate and improve their enterprise security. And since they already had a strong collaboration. It takes the ability to manage a complicated product throughout its lifecycle— from initial concept to market launch—and collaborate across multiple teams to make it happen. Apple has proven that collaborating and managing complexity is no object. If they can continue to innovate and accelerate their product cycle, Apple will be able to stay ahead of the competition. If not? Well, there’s always another upstart on the horizon.

Apple also had something else going for them: the ability to manage massively complex projects and coordinate with multiple teams. According to Tony Fadell, a former Apple executive who worked on the iPhone, the project was not unlike the first moon mission. In an interview with The New York Times, he put it this way: “I’m used to a certain level of unknowns in a project, but there were so many new things here that it was just staggering.” (He started his own company, Nest, in 2010—more about that later.) Apple apparently created multiple working prototypes of the device, each with its own hardware, software and design elements.

The ability to develop complex projects like the iPhone demands more than simple collaboration. I It takes the ability to manage a complicated product throughout its lifecycle— from initial concept to market launch—and collaborate across multiple teams to make it happen. Apple has proven that collaborating and managing complexity is no object. If they can continue to innovate and accelerate their product cycle, Apple will be able to stay ahead of the competition. If not? Well, there’s always another upstart on the horizon.

A Rising Star in the Galaxy

Samsung is out to prove that it’s ready to take the lead in delivering what’s new and cool. Young Sohn, president and chief strategy officer of device solutions of Samsung, recently put it this way: “We see tremendous opportunities and transformations over the next five years driven by Big Data centered around mobility, cloud, and the Internet of Things, and Samsung will be a significant part of this revolution.”

But what does that mean for consumers? According to Samsung, it’s about taking into account user and reviewer feedback when getting ready to deliver new software updates. Samsung
is using that insight to deliver incremental innovation, rather than making users wait a year for new features. Samsung is also more responsive when it comes to improving its mobile devices through software updates. After the Note 10.1 launched, it quickly received a software update with a new version of Android and many other new features including a voice assistant. Speed
is critical. People want what they want, when
they want it, and Samsung is willing to deliver.

The pace of change isn’t showing signs of slowing down in the mobile landscape.

That’s an approach that’s been paying off so far— sales of Samsung’s products remain solid, but some products, such as their smart watch, have received lukewarm reception in the marketplace. Who is the next disruptor on the mobile horizon?

There are likely quite a few. The pace of change isn’t showing signs of slowing down in the mobile landscape. In the United States, approximately 30 percent of web browsing and 40 percent of social media use is happening on mobile devices. By 2015, more people will be using
the web on a wireless device than a wired one, according to the McKinsey report. It’s clear that the companies that come out ahead are the ones with the fastest reflexes when it comes to responding to rapid shifts in the marketplace.

Check back on the blog for the next section of the series or download the complete whitepaper now: Better, Smarter Faster: Accelerating Innovation Across The Enterprise.