Enduring brands – do they still exist?

Earlier today I was pondering the fact that someone will inevitably produce a better iPhone.  I have no clue whether that product is the Droid.  I very much doubt it.  But it may be.  At this point in the game Apple holds most of the cards.  It has a well designed product, reasonable customer service and the iPhone links to that wonderfully closed world call iTunes.  Google is trying to do an end run around all that with its own links to music producers and it may well get somewhere.  The Android technology also looks like it will be good enough to keep some Verizon customers who would have shifted to the Apple/ATT world.  But Google has a huge mountain to climb.  The noise level around the iPhone is still huge.  A Google news search shows there are roughly 87,000 news stories about the iPhone versus a little under 10,000 for the Android phone.  The stats on YouTube are even more in the iPhone’s favor with just 11,200 hits for the Android versus 385,000 for the iPhone.  But I expect things to change on that front and change quickly.  I have two reasons for believing this:

1.  Verizon has to throw a lot behind the launch of the Droid and when that happens the US public will know that the Droid is a real competitor to the iPhone.

2.  I think the world is ready for someone to compete with the iPhone.  Innovation on the iPhone seems to have stalled.  I own one and I love it but the 3GS isn’t that much better than the original.  The battery life is still dreadful.

All this makes me wonder whether there really is such a thing as an enduring brand anymore.  Competition is more fierce than ever and the tools for competitors to compete using social media mean that any weakness can be exploited and any opportunity grabbed.

We may well have seen Apple’s peak, or we may have seen another competitor try and fail.  We’ll know all too soon.

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