You should know by now that I normally do not get into much “news” around here. Especially when it’s not specifically Mac news. There are a ton of great Mac news sites out there and I leave that job up to them. That said, Chairman Gruber linked to a highly fascinating Wall Street Journal Liveblog of today’s Hewlett Packard conference call today. Specifically, he called out this particular statement:
“The tablet effect is real, and sales of the TouchPad are not meeting our expectations,” Apotheker says, explaining the movement of consumers from PCs to tablets as one of the problems with the PC division. So H-P is exploring options for its unit that “may include separation through spinoff or other transactions.”
So, as it turns out, HP is getting out of the PC business because of “the tablet effect”. Whereby “tablet” he means “iPad” because, as we all know, there really is no tablet market, there is only an iPad market. So, the only tablet that could have created such an effect is the iPad.
Wait, did you catch that?
The iPad is causing such disruption in the PC business that HP, a company fundamental to the creation of the personal computer itself, is getting out of the PC business.
Wow. Just wow.
And, if you think other PC makers are not also feeling the pain of the tablet eff… oh heck, let’s just call it what it is, the iPad replacing the very idea of the affordable personal computer in the mind of the average consumer, then you are fooling yourself. I mean, Michael Dell may be laughing it up in public but I can promise you he is crapping his pants in the office and crying in the boardroom. I mean, at this point they are not even in the race that HP is giving up.
So, here is where I would like anyone who disagrees with me to feel free to mark this post and then throw it in my face if it turns out I am wrong. Got it bookmarked? Good. Consider this an open letter…
Dear Anyone Else Who Thinks They Have A Chance In The iPad Market,
You don’t. The iPad is the fire that sucked all the oxygen out of the room. Apple zigged and you guys are still trying to figure out what a zag is. It’s sad really, to see companies that were once at the top of the NASDAQ stumble around digging for pocket change in your high-end sofa cushions.
It is time to stop looking and, like HP, face a simple truth – you can’t win playing the iPad game. Because it is not the tablet game. It is the iPad game. And you can’t make those. You can’t even manage to make something as good as those, at least not at that price. Apple has the channel locked up price wise. Tim Cook saw to that. You will never be able to build at the same cost they do and produce anything even close. And let’s just skip the whole integrated end-to-end platform discussion because you guys are just not built that way.
Oh, Google, sit down and shut the eff up because I’m talking to you too. You are the company that names your beta builds after candy, ice cream, and sugared cereals. Apple names their betas after things that will eat your things along with the tasty human wrapper that eats that crap. Do you honestly think anyone can take you seriously?
Where was I?
OK, are we agreed? You are going to stop trying to make iPads right? Good. So, come a little closer, I’m going to give you a secret. You might want to sit down for this one. I’ll try to explain it simply…
Change. The. Game.
Apple did not beat you with the iPad. They beat you with the iPad market. A market they created out of the ashes of burning netbooks, low cost laptops, and PCs that no one really liked or wanted in the first place. There simply was no other option at the time available for them to buy otherwise. Apple created that option.
Just like the iPad created a whole option, and thus, new market (the one you keep calling the “tablet market”), the only way to compete is not to get into that market but to create a whole new one. One that will suck the life out of the iPad market. Something so disruptive, so mind blowing, so magical that, like the iPad, people will form lines around the block for months to get it.
Create. A. New. Option.
Make the iPad as irrelevant as the iPad seems to be doing to the consumer PC.
Huh? What? You want ME to tell you what that is? What do I look like? Fake Steve Jobs?
That’s YOUR job. That’s what you should have been doing… Oh, i don’t know… 10 years ago. Around the same time Steve was dreaming up the iPad.
Microsoft, you still have some great talent left around. Your R+D department is still one of the most respected in the industry. Do something with that. Grab a few Kinects and see what else you can do with that stuff.
Google, you just bought a bunch of patents. Why not dig around in them. Maybe there is something groundbreaking there. Also, use big people beta names for this stuff. Folks might take it more seriously.
To the rest of you, well, do something different. But, for jeepers sakes, do not keep fooling yourself that there is a tablet business or even much of a consumer PC business you have any chance of making real money in. If HP can’t, if Dell can’t, you are toast there.