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Apple counters Microsoft's convergence strategy with Continuity

Gregg Keizer | June 4, 2014
Apple has countered Microsoft's vision of the future, where multiple devices collapse into one, with a recognition that compromises and multiple devices are not only the reality, but could be lucrative.

"Owners of a Mac, iPad, or iPhone are more likely to own another of those devices than the population at large, but overall 43% of Apple buyers own only one of the three major devices," said CIRP's Josh Lowitz in a statement today.

Like Milanesi, CIRP's other co-founder, Mike Levin, believed Apple was missing an opportunity to upsell its current customers. "It doesn't sell as many additional devices to existing customers as it probably could," Levin said.

But not everyone viewed Continuity as Apple's statement on multiple devices.

"I think this is about more people realizing the benefits of iCloud," countered Van Baker of Gartner in an interview after Monday's keynote. "Not a lot of people have a real strong sense of iCloud's value. "[The new features in iOS and OS X] make the iCloud sync and retention much more visible and appealing to them."

Baker posited that, like so many other Apple strategies, Continuity is simply another example of the company's attempt to lock customers, once acquired, into its hardware by virtue of software and services. "But I think Continuity will play reasonably well with customers," Baker admitted.

O'Donnell also dinged Continuity, but for a different reason. While he acknowledged that "Apple is creating a great reason to stick with Apple devices across all their main categories," he questioned that strategy's chance of success.

"The fact is that most Apple users don't have all Apple devices. Most people have a mixture of OS platforms — some Microsoft, some Google and some Apple," O'Donnell argued. "Their vision could be made much more effective if they could somehow bring other non-Apple OS devices into the group."

O'Donnell questioned whether Apple would, in fact, make such a move. Others also thought it unlikely, and touted evidence in Apple's practices. "They've always been moving in this direction," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, talking about OS X and iOS integration and the implied focus on its own ecosystem, others be damned.

"Their strategy is that our devices work better together. They may have over-dramatized it yesterday, but it makes a lot of business sense."


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