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Beating the competition

In business and life it’s extremely easy to get caught up in the warm glow of success. However since you’re competitor knows exactly what you’re up to it’s pretty easy for them to match you and even rocket past you. Resting on your laurels is dangerous and stupid. Rands in Response has a great article on how Apple killed a successful product line and reinvented it because their competitors were closing in. Great advice for every business:

One of my favorite Apple product announcements happened on September 7, 2005. In an Apple music event announcement, Steve Jobs got on stage, gave the usual state of the business update, and then he did something I’d never seen before. He killed a wildly successful product.

The iPod Mini was one of the most popular consumer electronic devices of the time. iPod market share was skyrocketing and the Mini was leading the charge of segmenting the market with a variety of consumer-friendly price points. The Mini, with its size, sleek metal enclosure and variety of colors was loved, and Apple killed it. They completely redesigned around flash memory and shit-canned the Mini’s name and design.

The Mini had a worthy replacement – the flash-based iPod Nano – and it was likely that favorable price points for flash memory were a driving force in the new product. But why not milk it? The Mini had been on the market a year and a half and Apple was still having difficulty keeping the Mini in stock. Why kill a best-selling product? I think the reason, and, more importantly, an emerging Apple strategy, was announced as part of the keynote. Steve spent multiple slides showing off the Mini’s competition, and, not surprisingly, it looked a lot like the Mini. So rather than letting them catch up, he changed the game.

Read the rest of the article here

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