Watch Out for the iPhone

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-03-24 Print this article Print

6. Use patents on vendors

If Apple is successful in its patent-infringement case against HTC, the entire mobile market could change. Apple's lawsuit includes several charges, such as alleged infringement of both the iPhone's screen-unlock functionality and the way users move around a Web page in a mobile browser. With a victory, Apple could bring a lawsuit to every other vendor in the market that it believes is violating its patent. That could help the company dominate the market even more. Watch out for that patent lawsuit. If Apple wins, it could be lights out for some of its competitors.

7. Eliminate conventional sales

Apple has the power to drastically change the way vendors offer their phones. Currently, Google sells the Nexus One smartphone from its own Website. Carriers are concerned that Google's retail model could prompt other vendors to follow suit. Well, what if Apple does? Such a move could send shockwaves through the industry and cause carriers to start worrying about bottom lines that rely heavily on in-store sales. If Apple and Google, arguably the market's most influential companies, set a new retail standard in the market, carriers will need to start worrying.

8. Use it to the iPad's advantage

The iPhone can be used to the iPad's advantage if Apple plays its cards right. The tablet industry could be a significantly profitable space for Apple. But that will only be true if the iPad enjoys the kind of success Apple has witnessed with its iPhone and iPod. The beauty of the iPad is that it runs Apple's iPhone OS. With just a few changes here and there, Apple can improve the tablet's operating system and surpass the competition. And since that OS is desired above all others, it should only help Apple sell iPads. The iPhone OS is just as much a weapon as the iPhone itself.

9. Mac OS X's Trojan horse?

Even though Apple has substantially lower operating system market share than Windows in the desktop market, the iPhone could help Apple attract more PC users to its side. In the tech industry, the halo effect is extremely important. Essentially, as users try products from a company and like what they see, they are more likely to buy other products from that company. Apple's iPhone is extremely successful. In some cases, it has brought new customers to Apple's side. If the company can find a way to capitalize on those converts and deliver them to Mac OS X, Microsoft could feel the effect. We simply can't underestimate the iPhone's importance to Mac OS X.

10. Pressure the entertainment industry

The iPhone is also an iPod. Realizing that, it's important to remember that the more iPhones Apple sells, the more power it wields against the music and movie industries. Time and again, the entertainment business has railed against Apple's power and attempted to limit it as much as possible. But each time, it has failed. As Apple sells more iPhones, it can bring that burgeoning installed base (plus all the iTunes purchases iPhone owners make) and use it as leverage in its negotiations with record labels and film studios. And those companies will have little choice but to give in to some of Apple's demands.

Simply put, the more iPhones Apple sells, the more troublesome it is to, well, just about everyone it's up against.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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