Kodak vs Apple: Key lessons for the mobile industry when focusing on youth

Posted: 31/01/2012 in Strategy, Technology
Tags: ,

Kodak Could Have Been in the Mobile Business By Now

On the one hand, Kodak. Kodak could have been the Apple of photography but last week, the iconic American brand filed for bankruptcy protection. On the other, Apple’s latest earnings figures surpassed analyst expectations. The difference? Not “design thinking” or great products, but contrasting attitudes towards the youth market and how those attitudes sowed the seeds of both failure and success in their organizations.

Kodak could have been, in so many ways. Kodak could have been in the phone business by now. It could be Instagram. It could have its own iPod but instead it had print and film

Apple Results Kodak Youth

It wasn’t all iPad and iPhone 4S; Mac sales were up 26% too. Beneath the iPad headlines lay a story of customers migrating between Apple products, from iPod to iPhone, from iPhone to Mac and Mac to iPad. It’s this story that underpins Cupertino’s wider fundamental success and perhaps explains why products like the iPad3 will merely be icing on the cake.

Back in the mid 90s, when the world was buying its first desktop PC with Windows 95 installed, Apple published this remarkable video clearly demonstrating a long-term vision to capture the youth segment. Apple wasn’t selling concept technology but an idea of how the company could make the education and learning experience for young people better. It’s a vision that persists until today; Apple recently announced a suite of products aimed at helping young learners from a revamped iTunesU (University) to its new iBooks app for the iPad.

Kodak and Apple share many virtues. They were both pioneers in their respective fields: Apple the first to launch the home PC, Kodak the first to give the world a cheap, portable camera. But, Kodak is nearly a century older than Apple and its legacy perhaps was also its own downfall.

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