As you’ve probably read by now, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg took some shots at Apple in an interview with Time where he defended his company’s advertising-based business model and said that if Apple really cared about its customers, it would make its products a lot cheaper. While this might make for a good soundbite, it once again shows how a lot of people out there simply don’t get why Apple has been so successful over the years.
“A frustration I have is that a lot of people increasingly seem to equate an advertising business model with somehow being out of alignment with your customers,” Zuckerberg told Time. “I think it’s the most ridiculous concept. What, you think because you’re paying Apple that you’re somehow in alignment with them? If you were in alignment with them, then they’d make their products a lot cheaper!”
This statement completely misinterprets the relationship that Apple has with its customers. In fact, Apple did try to release a cheaper version of the iPhone called the iPhone 5c, and guess what — it was a dud. Apple fans don’t want cheaper products.
Apple fans tend to be on the more affluent side of the spectrum and they don’t mind spending a lot of money on Apple products as long as they feel they’re getting something of quality in return. And more often than not, that “something” is not having to put up with a lot of the crap you have to put up with on Windows and Android.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an Apple fanboy. I use a Mac for work but I also use Android as my primary smartphone OS and Windows for my gaming PC. I’m not saying that Apple products are completely superior to everything on the market — but I do see how they do some things very well that are appealing to a lot of people.
Take, for instance, bloatware. Unless you buy a stock Android phone through Google’s website, your device will come loaded with apps and software from both OEMs and carriers that you don’t want and that only serve to degrade your phone’s performance. The same goes for most Windows PCs as well, although Microsoft has thankfully made it easier to avoid this pitfall by selling bloatware-free PCs at its official retail outlets.
Similarly, when you buy an iPhone, iPad or Mac and Apple releases the latest software… you can just get it that very same day. We Android users, on the other hand, have to wait until both our OEM and our carrier are ready to push out the new update over the air.
And when it comes to performance, iOS and OS X are designed specifically to fit the hardware they’re loaded onto, whereas the variation in quality on Android phones and Windows PCs varies greatly depending on the OEM.
Again, none of this is to say that Android and Windows are bad or that Apple is great for everyone. But the company has very shrewdly carved out a luxury niche for itself and has cultivated astonishing loyalty among its customers, who absolutely love its products in a way that’s unmatched by any other tech company.
So when Zuckerberg says that Apple should do more for its customers by offering them cheaper stuff, he’s got it all wrong — they don’t want cheap stuff, they want quality stuff.