Apple’s AI Advantage

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There are few who would challenge that one of Apple’s significant competitive advantages is its ability to design and manufacture physical products. Even fewer, perhaps, would challenge that Google’s significant competitive advantages are it’s access to data and algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) which process that data. As a upcoming frontier in technology appears to be AI, many have assumed that Google’s advantages are so superior to Apple’s that the AI frontier is Google’s battle to lose, and Apple’s to struggle to win. It is my contention, though, that while Google has significant advantages in AI, Apple has advantages critical for competing in the AI frontier.

To argue for my position, I will identify the critical competencies necessary for competing in AI, then argue that Apple’s advantages in some competencies give them, at minimum, an equal fighting chance with Google’s advantages in different competencies. Continue reading

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Everyone (but Apple’s) Wearable Problem

It’s widely believed that the next form of computing will be wearable computing, but the potential of this category has barely been scratched by any company. I’ve previously written multiple times and have podcasted about some challenges Google faces as it seeks to enter the wearable market, but these challenges are not unique to Google. Every company, including Apple, faces significant challenges as they try to crack the wearable market, but of the fitness, luxury, and technology companies vying for the space, Apple has the best chance at making a product that becomes mainstream. In fact, compared to the substantial market, cultural, and fashion challenges facing these other companies, Apple has the best chance of them all.1 Continue reading

Google’s Problem With Chinese Culture

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In late February, Forbes interviewed Google’s Sundar Pichai who said that Google was interested in re-entering the Chinese market:

Pichai said Google planned to make a renewed push in areas like payments, commerce and enterprise apps this year, and he suggested that Google would welcome the opportunity enter the Chinese market again…Pichai said…“I don’t think of China as a black hole. I see it as a huge opportunity in which we are playing as an enabling platform today and hopefully we have a chance to offer other services in the future.”

It’s no surprise that Google wants to re-enter the largest market on earth, with its hundreds of millions of increasingly-online users. But despite Google’s interest, their attempt at re-entry will be frustrated as their core mission statement is at odds with Chinese values. To understand why this is the case, we must first examine Google’s mission, the Western culture which enables it, and how that mission is at odds with Chinese culture. Continue reading