Posted by Mark J. Miller on May 17, 2013 07:10 PM
While Apple has had some good news lately (it reached 50 billion downloads from its App Store, signed a deal with CW to have the network’s content appear on Apple TV, and its UK retail locations received the top customer-service rating in Britain), it also is going through some tough times as a brand.
A recent poll from Bloomberg notes that, “71 percent of poll respondents say the Cupertino, California, company has lost its cachet as an industry innovator, which includes 28 percent who say it is permanent and 43 percent who say it may be a temporary hiccup.” While some Apple loyalists remain dedicated to the company that has brought the world such innovations as the iPod, iPhone, and iTunes, plenty of folks in the general population aren’t as high on Apple as they used to be, with some turning to competitors like Google and Samsung. “Google plays offense while Apple has recently settled for playing defense,” Forbes reports. “Apple is struggling to maintain its position in the market, while Google is expanding its position.”
Google’s shares have gone over a record $900 while Apple’s are now just above $400 after being over $705 in late September. While it can be difficult to keep up with its own track record of innovation, Apple apparently has got to keep pushing in order to keep the masses satisfied. “Where Apple went wrong is they began to confuse version releases and feature improvements with innovation,” Forbes reports. “What Apple is learning the hard way is even the most loyal base of consumers will jump ship when provided a valid reason to do so.”Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on May 8, 2013 06:47 PM
The technology world is an unforgiving battleground for brands that fail to catch hold. Windows 8, Microsoft's highly touted operating system seems to be one of those brands that didn't quite take off as expected.
Even as Microsoft pursues a re-branding based around the new Windows design, the word on the street is that Windows 8 will be getting an "update" later this year. Read that as an attempt to fix problems that have been frustrating both consumers and device manufacturers. Tami Reller, head of Microsoft's Windows division, was blunt in telling the Associated Press, "Are there things that we can do to improve the experience? Absolutely. There is a learning curve and we can work to address that."Continue reading...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on April 16, 2013 03:53 PM
As brand loyalty continues to slide for the third consecutive year, Deloitte's annual American Pantry Study shows close to nine in 10 consumers are choosing private-label or store brands over national brands.
"Every manufacturer has been affected by this," said Pat Conroy, vice chairman and U.S. Consumer Producers Leader at Deloitte. "None of the manufacturers had as many must-have brands as they thought they did. The playing field has fundamentally changed. It will not go back to the way it was right before the recession…Manufacturers must find a way to differentiate the product and find a better way to get the product into the consumer's pantry."
As for consumers, an air of remorse hangs over their heads from a past filled with careless spending habits, which was exacerbated by the recession. “They tried various lower cost options and the vast majority of them found there was little noticeable difference in quality. This was an epiphany for the consumer," adds Conroy.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on April 10, 2013 05:33 PM
Posting mail has traditionally been part of most national governments' service to citizens. But in an era when digital communication is out-pacing print, it is increasingly difficult to justify the cost of mail delivery service. The problems of the U.S. Postal Service are, of course, well known. Recently, the USPS said it would end Saturday delivery to save money, but just this week, it reversed that decision, saying a new Congressional budget would prevent the move—so its struggles continue unabated.
If you think the mail delivery problem is restricted to the U.S. Postal Service, take a look at Great Britain's hallowed institution, Royal Mail.
Royal Mail's origins pre-date the American Revolution. Royal Mail has been part of the fabric of British life, as visible and respected as, well, the Queen of England. The Royal Mail has always had an ironclad guarantee of reliability, value and mail delivery at the same price, regardless of where in the UK a person resides.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 16, 2013 10:26 AM
Lovers of Wonder Bread and Twinkies had heavy hearts back in November when Hostess Brands failed to resolve its labor woes and announced that it didn’t have enough cash to keep on baking and would have to shut down. Wonder fans didn’t have to wait long for their brand to find a new home, though.
Flower Foods, which owns such bread brands as Cobblestone Mill and Nature’s Own, has emerged as the lead bidder for six of the Hostess brands that were put on the block in November, for $390 million.
The bid came in two parts, the Associated Press reports: $360 million for Wonder, Nature’s Pride, Butternut, Home Pride, and Merita as well as $30 million for Beefsteak. It isn’t totally a done deal yet since the bankruptcy court will rule on the bidders later this month.
Twinkie fans, however, will have to wait a bit longer.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 15, 2013 02:12 PM
While some version of HMV has been fighting the good fight for recorded music since the late 1800s, it looks like the retail chain’s ability to lift its fist to the air could soon be coming to an end.
While the brand outlasted plenty of other music retailers (Tower and Virgin come to mind), HMV is finally joining all those that have gone before it, seeking the British equivalent of bankruptcy protection and halting trading of its shares on Tuesday in the hopes that it will find a way to survive.
Not much has worked for the company since it started attempts to adapt back in 2007. Books, DVDs, and computer games are all not selling well there, either. As the BBC reported, the company failed to draw new customers as it broadened its offerings, causing disappointment among its core consumer base as CDs made room the number of CDs they could offer because of all of the new products.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 11, 2013 11:29 AM
The Dreamliner has a name that makes it sound as if it should be the smoothest-riding and fastest thing on the planet, evoking the grand age of travel with ocean liners by taking them to the sky. Unfortunately, reality has caught up to Boeing's vaunted 787 Dreamliner.
Fourteen months after Boeing revealed the sophisticated jet, Federal Aviation Administration said Friday that it is “undertaking a comprehensive review of the design and manufacture of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner after a series of problems this week,” according to USA Today.
That said, the FAA feels that the still fledgling Dreamliner — for which Boeing increased production in November — is still safe enough for passengers to climb aboard and won’t stop any airline from using the plane. "I believe this plane is safe and I would have absolutely no reservations about boarding one of these planes and taking a flight," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
So what’s the problem?Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 20, 2012 01:20 PM
You think Apple was the first to think of the iPhone? Well, OK, maybe they thought up the iPhone, but there was somebody in front of them who cooked up the IPHONE. And now the smartphone-buying public of Brazil will get to be confused by them.
An earlier incarnation of IGB Eletronica SA, a Brazilian consumer electronics manufacturer, applied for exclusive rights in Brazil to register its products under the name IPHONE way back in 2000. Apple’s iPhone didn’t launch until seven years later. There was no confusion for more than a decade since IGB hasn’t released any products under that name. But that is all about to change.
IGB will start selling its $290 Android-based IPHONE in Brazil with the first model called Neo One, Reuters reports. This news comes only a week after Apple started selling its iPhone 5 in the country.
It doesn’t appear that Apple will take IGB to court, particularly after losing a battle last month with a Mexican telecommunications company that is selling the – wait for it — iFone. In fact, the Wall Street Journal reports that IGB may end up filing suit against Apple: "The two brands can't coexist in the market," said Eugenio Staub, president of IGB’s Gradiente. "It's up to Apple to make a move."Continue reading...