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Iphone Patents The Courts Apple

Apple Comes Clean, Admits To Doing Market Research 221

Posted by Soulskill
from the users-sometimes-do-know-what-they-want dept.
colinneagle writes "In an interview with Fortune a few years ago, Steve Jobs explained that Apple never does market research. Rather, they simply preoccupy themselves with creating great products. On Monday, Apple's Greg Joswiak — the company's VP of Product Marketing — submitted a declaration to the Court explaining why documents relating to Apple's market research and strategy should be sealed. Every month, Apple surveys iPhone buyers and Joswiak explains what Apple is able to glean from these surveys. And as you might expect, Apple conducts similar surveys with iPad buyers. Apple wants all of these tracking studies sealed. Joswiak explains that if a competitor were to find out what drives iPhone purchases — whether it be FaceTime, battery life, or Siri — it would serve as an unfair competitive edge to rival companies. Further, competitors, as it stands today, have to guess as to which demographics are most satisfied with Apple products." A few other interesting facts have come out of the trial so far; Apple spent $647 million advertising the iPhone in the U.S. from its launch through fiscal 2011, and they spent $457.2 million advertising the iPad from its launch up to the same point.
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Apple Comes Clean, Admits To Doing Market Research

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  • Hah... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Brawlking (2590947) on Saturday August 04, 2012 @12:02PM (#40877931)
    Once again, Apple afraid of a little competition, the same reason the sue everyone and their dog.
  • by wzinc (612701) on Saturday August 04, 2012 @12:14PM (#40877999)
    Obviously, Steve meant market research for future products. The article describes a survey of existing customers, and I've gotten them before. While this plays a part in product development, they don't use focus groups. It's one of those things where, if Apple asked outside people (not customers), "what do you want in a phone," they'd end-up with a terrible product. Instead, they make the phone they, themselves want to use. As they've stated in their conference calls, they only enter markets where they think they can improve things. One example is student information systems. They sold PowerSchool to Pierson, exiting that market because they felt they couldn't do a killer product there. It's so obvious how they work; the only mystery is what future products will be. They keep those under wraps because, if they decide to scrap it or change it dramatically, there won't be a Microsoft-CES-announcement-style embarrassment. As the Samsung court documents show, they have hundreds of iterations of products that never see the light of day.
  • Here's the secret (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dosius (230542) <bridget@buric.co> on Saturday August 04, 2012 @12:33PM (#40878095) Journal

    And it's as anticlimactic as the cough syrup in Flaming Moes... they buy it because it has an Apple logo on it. The logo itself is a status symbol.

    -uso.

  • by obarthelemy (160321) on Saturday August 04, 2012 @12:39PM (#40878117)

    Using it as Apple is saying here, to survey users, is one thing. It helps gather info on actual uses, usage patterns, customer feedback.

    Using it to design a product or to test a product design, is quite another, especially if, like often, it ends up justifying half-baked committee-think. Apple forte has been Steve Job's "I'm the customer, please me" stance, which is far superior to the "Make none of us dislike it too much" design-by committee version. It requires strong leadership. Apple had that, and storng value too: sexiness and easse of use.

    As an Android user, I wish, I wish Google did more user surveys. There are a handful of very easy changes that would make Android rock, observably so, including in the shop right next to an iPad.

  • by arth1 (260657) on Saturday August 04, 2012 @12:44PM (#40878143) Homepage Journal

    Steve fought Android by making a better product.

    When is it going to be released?

  • by surgen (1145449) on Saturday August 04, 2012 @12:56PM (#40878207)

    The logo itself is a status symbol.

    I used to think this was just an insult to apple buyers. Then the iPhone 4s came out. I'll never forget the first words that came out of my apple buying friend's mouth after seeing the design. "How will anyone be able to tell I have the new one?"

  • False dichotomy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by harperska (1376103) on Saturday August 04, 2012 @01:20PM (#40878401)

    I think that the summary misses a major point. Sure there was a bit of hyperbole when Steve said that Apple never did market research. But every word that came out of that man's mouth was hyperbole. What I think Steve's point was is that Apple doesn't base their product categories on market research. They just use market research for refining products once the categories are established. They didn't base the idea to have an all-touchscreen smartphone, a high capacity hard-drive based mp3 player, or a GUI centric PC on market research. If they did, they would have found out that people were perfectly happy with their blackberry and symbian keyboard smartphones, their low capacity flash mp3 players, and their DOS based IBM PCs.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 04, 2012 @01:24PM (#40878431)

    Um, Tim Cook isn't that keen on patent lawsuits and most of the ones currently making headlines started under Steve Jobs and his total thermonuclear war on Android.

    He could stop them at any time.

    No, seriously, he could stop them at any time. If he really wasn't so keen on patent lawsuits, he could man up and have the balls to say that Jobs was a psychopath whose obsessions would have eventually destroyed the company if he were still alive, change course, and not make a laughingstock of Apple. He has the power in the company to do just that.

    But he doesn't do it. And he won't do it. And he's the one making the decision not to do it. Not Jobs; Jobs is dead. Cook is the one ordering the lawyers to go ahead with all the lawsuits.

    Like it or not, this is the post-Jobs era at Apple. Specifically, this is the Tim Cook era at Apple. Period.

  • Re:False dichotomy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Asic Eng (193332) on Saturday August 04, 2012 @02:02PM (#40878713)

    Apple is remarkable good at retroactively inventing things. Like hard-drive based mp3 players, the idea for which was stolen from them e.g. in 1998 by Compaq (4.8 GB), in 2000 by Creative (Nomad, 6 GB) and in the same year by Archos (6 GB). Then Apple re-invented the entire market by bringing out a player with ... 5 GB in 2001. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_media_player [wikipedia.org]

    It's understandable that so many people believe Apple came up with the idea, considering the advertising budget. Many probably didn't even realize that mp3 players existed before Apple told them about it.

  • "coming clean" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jaktar (975138) on Saturday August 04, 2012 @02:25PM (#40878925)

    How does Apple presenting an argument in a court case amount to "coming clean"? If they didn't make the arguments for keeping these sealed their oh-so-amazing case studies would be out.

    That's not coming clean. That's standard legal babble.

  • by Teckla (630646) on Saturday August 04, 2012 @02:31PM (#40878965)

    The logo itself is a status symbol.

    I used to think this was just an insult to apple buyers. Then the iPhone 4s came out. I'll never forget the first words that came out of my apple buying friend's mouth after seeing the design. "How will anyone be able to tell I have the new one?"

    An anecdote changed your mind? And for this you get +5 Insightful?

    Pathetic.

  • by Chuckstar (799005) on Saturday August 04, 2012 @03:23PM (#40879339)

    Steve had made similar comments in other forums. He seemed to be a big believer that people don't know what they want until you show it to them. If you did a market survey before the iPad came out, and asked people what they wanted in a tablet computer, very few would have articulated something that looked/operated similar to an iPad. Even after it was announced many people scoffed. But it's been a huge success.

    While he sometimes said things that were not entirely clear, Steve's philosophy never seemed to be "don't ask the customer what they like or don't like about existing products". Especially knowing what they don't like is important. That's where the opportunities are. The trick is, in Steve's mind, that the customer is not the appropriate person to ask HOW to fix it. The great designers at Apple will come up with a fix. And if they do the job right, it will be something the customer would never have thought of, but will love.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 04, 2012 @04:05PM (#40879639)

    [...]As long as 'how Steve Jobs would use it' and 'how a normal human would use it' weren't too far apart[...]

    Which worked perfectly fine until normal people started holding it wrong...

  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Saturday August 04, 2012 @04:19PM (#40879775) Homepage

    But that's OK, Steve is dead and the hapless harping hypocrites will continue their attacks and telling themselves how gloriously wonderful and clever they are for using some other product (Windows, Linux, Droids) even if it's substandard or blatantly imitative.

    Instead, here you are telling yourself how gloriously wonderful and clever you are for buying Apple products, blissfully unaware of the irony.

  • by kiddygrinder (605598) on Saturday August 04, 2012 @06:11PM (#40880737)
    If they don't want to reveal stuff in court, maybe they should stop suing everyone

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