Monday, February 18, 2013

If Apple Is Not A Hardware Company Or A Software Company, What Is It?

Apple HardwareEvery now and then you read something so odd it pays to go back and read it again.

So it was with James Rogers article in The Street. Rogers picked up on Apple CEO Tim Cook’s most recent interview which stated rather simply, ‘…we’re not a hardware company, we have other ways to make money and reward shareholders.’

Uh, my Mac and iPhone and iPad would beg to differ. You, too, right? Of course, Apple is at least as much a software company as a hardware company, Tim Cook’s hair slicing notwithstanding.

Why do we buy a Mac? Like the man who enters a hardware store in search of a drill, he’s really after holes. It’s the drill and the drill bits that get him the holes.

Why do we buy a Mac? To put it bluntly, a computer helps us accomplish specific tasks, and among the computers available, the Mac (hardware) and OS X (software) helps us get them done.

So, Apple is both a hardware and a software company, and derives a huge amount of profit from both. Why does Cook not see Apple as a hardware company? Or, at least, admit that Apple is both?

Maybe this philosophy is really deep at Apple, but Cook seems to indicate what is not quite so obvious, and these are my words.

User experience begets relationship.’

Apple wants their products to provide a great user experience, and it’s that element that creates a relationship between Apple’s customers and their products (an extension of Apple itself).

Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Apple sells hardware. Apple sells software. But many companies do one or the other or both and seldom do they have a relationship with their customers that mirrors that with Apple.

Cook is using differentiation between Apple and competitors by pointing out that Apple’s customers have a different relationship with their Apple products.

Good user experience equals a good relationship.


  1. Kasey says

    ‘Mac is a hardware company.’

    Dude, that doesn’t even make sense. Apple sells hardware and software. They’re neither a hardware company, nor a software company. They sell products which are made of hardware and software.