Cannibalization

Recently, DJI launched the new Mavic Pro. It sets the new standard for drones in the segment, and it’s the perfect example of why the company’s doing well.

Steve Jobs famously said: “If You Don’t Cannibalize Yourself, Someone Else Will”, and in the past few years under the leadership of Tim Cook, Apple seems to have forgotten this and held itself back. Companies have reacted and the competitors have just gotten better and better. The iPad and Mac dilemma is a perfect example of this. In order to keep both segments alive, Apple seems to have omitted features from both product lines and prevented them from reaching their full potential; as a result, companies like Microsoft are taking the tech world by storm. The Surface Book and Surface Pro are convertibles that have combined the power of computers with the versatility and touch capabilities of a tablet. Meanwhile Apple continues to sell these two products separately putting half-baked products into the market. Imagine the possibilities a potential combined iPad and Mac could have. The recently launched Macbook pro includes a tiny Touchbar in the keyboard and it seems like a pathetic attempt at avoiding making the entire screen touch based and removing the iPad from the product portfolio. They’re avoiding the inevitable. Apple used to lead the pack in innovation, now it only cares about keeping its product segments alive.

This all started when Apple almost obliterated the competition with its original products. Leaving no other significant players that posed any threat to the company, it dominated the market. But competition leads to innovation, and without the crucial competitor Apple needed to ignite the innovative spark, the company settled into a lull.

Cannibalization comes into play here. With companies that dominate the market, it is important that they overthrow themselves and out-innovate their existing products to prevent another outsider company from doing the inevitable.

By merging these two categories, Apple would no doubt lose one out of the two revenue streams, but it is by far a much better alternative than letting Microsoft or another company steal both segments away. And the effects of this are beginning to show. The PC market for Apple is declining and quarterly iPad numbers have been down for the past couple of quarters. This is nothing like Apple would have been under Jobs’ leadership.

All of which brings me back to the DJI Mavic. Before it, the Phantom 4 was one of the best and only products in the market, but it was expensive and not portable enough for the average user. Nevertheless, no significant competition existed. DJI didn’t sit still though, and played its cards in a way Steve Job’s would most likely have done. They launched the Mavic Pro which addressed these two concerns and they made a cheaper, more portable drone; moreover, they didn’t omit any features from the original Phantom. They could have easily taken the Apple way and included a lower resolution camera, worse flight performance, etc, but they didn’t. I’m guessing most consumers are now buying the Mavic because it is the all round better drone (and cheaper that too), and the Phantom is probably declining in sales. Was it a risky move cannibalizing what makes up a majority of their sales? Of course. Yet that’s what a company has to do in order to prevent itself from falling into obscurity. It seems like a Chinese company knows this better than Apple does right now, and it’s time the most valuable company in the world reminds itself how it got where it is today.

It’s time to merge the Mac and the iPad. I know it. The world knows it. And more importantly, Apple knows it. The folks down in Cupertino are too complacent in their sweet spot right now, but mark my words, things will come crashing down if change doesn’t come. Fast.