Apple is one of the top player in IT and in the computer industry, no doubt on that, and since the iPhone has been released, it became one of the leader on the smartphone and mobile phone industry. The iPhone (I’m an owner of one) managed also to create a revolution on the user’s approach on his internet and digital life, by giving people the possibility to customize the device based on its own personal life and needs… mostly thank to the creation of a marketplace and opening the store to every developer. Via the possibility of customization, it managed to create the possibility to users to model the device around the owner’s personality and needs.
To create this customization, Apple needed to open a store where developers and companies are able to create apps that people can use to customize their phones. But sometimes they are acting with too much protectionism regarding their sub-products.
The iPhone is released by default with a suite of apps (created by apple) that gives the user the possibility to have a complete use of the device, apps like Mail and Safari are important and useful but can’t be deleted by the iPhone or substituted with other apps, because there are any available, because they tend to overprotect their products, contradicting in this way their inner idea of openness.
A few months back, Google tried to release some apps (Google Voice and Google Latitude), but Apple in some way managed to deny the access to those apps, saying that those were against some contract policies and that those apps “would have been bad for people at apple that worked on the GUI and the code of apps” (can’t remember where I have seen it actually).
In the previous weeks, has been submitted a new browser for iPhone, the Opera Mini (that has been accepted after some time), that knowing the behavior of Apple, it could be considered as a treat for Safari, and for this reason it would have had a good possibility to be rejected. Opera worked their marketing by using the Social Network in a way to spread the word about their submission, making people know that Opera has been submitted and that Apple was taking a lot of time to approve it. That was a real good PR campaign, where Apple wasn’t able to hide any reason, and where people knew that Opera was arriving, and were spreading the word.
Opera put Apple in a position where they couldn’t refuse the app, because it would have confirmed their protectionism behavior, not increasing their reputation and generating some fear on developers, that would have started to think twice before developing something new.
This is a case study, that make us understand how PR and Social Media works, not only in advertising, but also in Business 🙂