The “Tyranny of Success”

We’ve all seen Nokia and Blackberry fall victim to the ‘Tyranny of Success’, the well-researched syndrome that causes market leaders to miss fundamental shifts in their markets. But, are we already seeing the same pattern unfold with their nemesis, Apple, and its duopoly partner Samsung?


Some of the key lead indicators for the ‘Tyranny of Success’ are:


Could Apple be the next to suffer from the Tyranny of Success?


  • Focusing on technology gadgets rather than solving real customer issues – remember Polaroid’s wearable printer, it made sense to them as a way to make sure digital cameras still generated sale of film. Are Siri and Samsung’s new eye movement activation symbols of the same obsession with what technology can do at the expense of what is useful? Reuters reported that Samsung shares dropped nearly 5 percent, or around $10 billion, in just two trading sessions after it launched its latest Galaxy S smartphone late on last week.
  • Seeking success by repeating past glories – Just think how long it took the US car industry to seriously respond to small, well-made Japanese cars. Or, when Gilette finally had to admit that putting yet another blade on the razor didn’t equal innovation. Are we watching the same story with the iWatch? How many iGadgets can the world absorb?
  • Getting disrupted by low-end competitors – Clay Christiansen’s classic research on how the Steel industry ignored ‘mini-mills’ or mainframe computers ignored PCs. How seriously is Apple taking Kindle Fire when it launches the iPad mini at twice the price and with half the functionality?
  • Losing a sense of proportion – so many great companies end their days in the death throes of litigation, trying to get the rules changed. Is that to be Apple’s fate? “Apple …has been spending a great deal of time in the courtroom, pointing fingers at Samsung (and similar, smaller others) of stealing designs for its phones, tablets and operating systems.” (IBTimes)


One Response to The “Tyranny of Success”

  1. Pingback: The “Tyranny of Success” | flux2lucid

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