Market Overview

Five Companies That Wish They Were Apple


While every corporation may aspire to be as successful as the Mac maker, there are five that really, really wish they could call themselves Apple.

Though you might expect to see the likes of Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Research in Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) or Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) on this list, those companies don't really wish they were Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL). I firmly believe that HP likes to manufacture cheap PCs. Instead of building higher-quality laptops, HP would seemingly prefer to convince consumers to buy junk -- or load up on HP-made printers, whichever they prefer.

And contrary to popular belief, Google doesn't want to be Apple -- it wants to beat Apple. The same goes for Research in Motion, a company that has been reluctant to change with the evolving smartphone market.

5. Bose

Bose is a wonderful manufacturer of consumer audio equipment. From high-end headphones and stellar CD players to docking stations and mind-blowing surround sound speakers, Bose is one of the best corporations within the audio niche.

Still, that hasn't stopped the company from showing its Apple envy. Case in point: the company released a small, $5,000 television set with built-in surround sound. Who else in this industry would consider such a move? Well, IKEA would, but its crazy, all-in-one TV came long after Bose released its overpriced set. And at that time, Apple was the only other company that analysts believed would release a TV of that magnitude.

Bose's products tend to be very stylish and often come in white and/or black colors. But while their product designs work well in a home that's stocked with Apple devices, the company has yet to attain Apple-sized loyalty -- or Apple-sized sales.

4. Nintendo

Nintendo (NTDOY) likes being Nintendo. But a part of that comes from the fact that the company used to be impervious. During the '80s, Nintendo ran circles around Atari. During the early '90s, Nintendo practically kicked Sega out of the game industry. And in the late '90s when Nintendo screwed up and allowed Sony (NYSE: SNE) to take over, the company still posted huge profits thanks to its handheld division (which manufactured the Game Boy) and several hit games, including new series like Pokemon.

Unfortunately, Nintendo no longer has the Game Boy to fall back on. The 3DS is barely a substitute for it, nor is it a substitute for the original Nintendo DS. To make matters worse, the company's next console, Wii U, could have a very hard time winning consumers over when it's released this Christmas.

This is a whole other world for Nintendo. Whereas the company once had an almost Apple-like loyalty with fans who would always buy something it was making, Nintendo has dwindled its releases down to the lowest common denominator, inspiring consumers to look elsewhere for entertainment.

3. Netflix

On the whole, Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) doesn't need or want to be Apple. But I'm willing to bet that Netflix CEO Reed Hastings would love to be in charge of Apple -- or simply be reincarnated as the next Steve Jobs. You see, Hastings doesn't know when to keep his mouth shut. He loves saying whatever comes to mind, often in the form of a blog, Facebook post, or some other pre-constructed statement that could have been revised before publication. But Hastings is far from a Steve Jobs clone. He can't get away with saying whatever he wants like Jobs could.

You know why? Because he's not Jobs! Jobs was literally one in a billion. There are only a handful of people in this world who are lucky enough to be as vocal as they want and never suffer the consequences (or if they do suffer the consequences, they somehow manage to magically rise above them every time). Hastings will never be that powerful -- or that lucky.

2. Sony

Sony needs to count its blessing and realize that if it were Apple, we wouldn't have the PlayStation or the Walkman, two of the most iconic electronics of the past 30 years.

Unfortunately, Sony isn't the most humble company. It isn't the smartest either. Instead of abandoning the MP3 player business (a market Sony has been trying to conquer in an effort to rekindle its Walkman days), Sony continues to manufacture these and other low-margin devices. Meanwhile, the PlayStation brand -- which rewarded Sony with billions in profit for a good 10 years -- is being treated as though it isn't the most important thing the company makes. Let me be clear about something: it is! Sony could have used PlayStation 3 to stay afloat during these difficult times. Instead, Sony squandered any and all opportunities that came around and continued to manufacture devices (laptops, all-in-one desktops, etc.) that look like Apple knock-offs.

To be fair, Sony still manufactures the most gorgeous TVs available. But consumers aren't buying them because they don't need them. This gives Sony another reason to wish it was Apple, since Apple is the only company in the world that is able to repeatedly convince consumers to buy things they don't need.

1. Dell

When Dell (NASDAQ: DELL) decided to design the XPS 13 Ultrabook, the company clearly had happy Apple thoughts on its mind. It wanted to call the product a MacBook Air -- I'm sure of it. But copyright issues prevented Dell from doing so, inspiring the company to look for a new name.

One can only imagine the kinds of ideas that were thrown around. Frankly, I would have liked Dell to release this product as the "MackBuk Air." But alas, Dell went in a simpler direction.

That name isn't fooling anyone though. We know that deep down the XPS 13 Ultrabook is laden with Apple envy.

Follow me @LouisBedigian

Posted-In: Apple Bose DELL Netflix Nintendo SonyTech


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