Competition can come from any bloody possible direction.
The world is built that way! Future competition can only be predicted to a certain degree. The possibilities, ambiguities and uncertainties in the corporate world are too overwhelming to analyze and predict.
One can possibly expect competition within the same category. E.g: Windows vs Linux, IE vs Chrome vs Mozilla, Nokia vs Blackberry vs iPhone. But can one product screw the happiness of a completely different product, not (supposedly) in the same category? Yes, it totally can.
The world is full of such examples
1. The Fax machine market got screwed by email (Well who saw that coming eh?)
2. Newspapers are getting hit by internet aggregators (both in revenues and audience reach)
3. Airlines are losing money due to Videoconferencing.
4. Mobile phones are apparently the reason for reduced watch sales! The list goes on…
Google today announced the launch of their Chrome web store. A look at what they offer makes you immediately think of what they are trying to target – The Apple app store. That means Chrome will directly compete with devices that use app store – iPod, iPhone, iPad. So in a twisted logic, a web browser is going to compete with a phone/tabletPC.
And why not? Their targeted user profiles are very similar. They need content access and creation ability, to communicate and share information, to network and collaborate, to have fun. For such users, the browser or phone is just the intermediate delivery technology.
There are 3 factors I compare an iphone with the chrome.
1. Product design: The iPhone’s looks are very attractive. The artistic factor in design is definitely there. The sleek make, the scratch resistant touch interface, the widescreen display etc definitely attracts people who look for form factors. The chrome is similarly built. Minimal UI intrusion, elegant tabbing design etc. Looking at both the products, the artist in you is definitely enthused.
2.The Product Backend: iPhone operating system enables the smooth operation of the device. The ease of use in handling pictures, the scrolling mechanism is a charm in itself. Even kids get used to the iphone so fast, its eye-opening. Chrome, likewise, is a hit due to its fast browsing, V8 engine, fast loading etc. The ease of operation in the two products is very much comparable and is of very high quality.
3. The Applications: The attractiveness of the iphone comes from the app store and hence the applications that can be used on the phone. “There’s an app for that” is really a reality now. With the launch of Web store, Google is trying to meet the user’s need for the same on the browser.
And where do the 2 products meet as far as the customer/ user is concerned? The amount of time a user spends on the browser is maybe 3 times than what is spent on the phone per day. So if whatever needs that are satisfied via the iphone can be enabled on the browser, then you have a competitor right there!
Its interesting to note that Chrome may not be a tough competitor to the entire mobile market but can be one for iPhone. The reason is because there is still considerably a large group of world population that doesn’t need a iPhone (i.e they use some other phone) and don’t need Chrome (i.e they aren’t active internet users).
This competition is definitely good for the world if not individually for Google or Apple.