Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Disconnected Products Cost Gadget Shops Billions

TechNewsWorld covers the recent report from Forrester Research that "consumer technology companies are leaving some US$3.8 billion on the table today because they're failing to leverage their knack for selling cool gadgets into sales of accessories, services and content."

Commenting on Forrester's findings, Michael Gartenberg at JupiterResearch noted that "fragmentation in the market has worked to Apple's advantage." He said, "Integration and the completeness of the Apple solution is one of the reasons why it has been very successful with the iPod."

Stephen Baker at NPD Group in Port Washington argued that while Apple's "devices may operate seamlessly in its own ecosystem, that's not the case outside that system." He opined, "I can't buy music from Yahoo or Wal-Mart or Napster to play on my iPod. So I don't know how seamless a solution it is. I'm not sure you're ever going to see one company able to give you a seamless digital experience. The fact is it's all going to have to be interconnected and it's going to have to be offered by multiple companies and you, as the consumer, are going to have to be the integrator."

Jupiter's Gartenberg advised that "consumer electronics makers need to look beyond mere cool gadgets." he added, "The head of Black and Decker once said that consumers didn't buy its products because they wanted one-inch drills; they bought its products because they wanted one-inch holes. A lot of consumer electronics companies seem to forget that basic axiom. Consumers don't care about technology. They care about functionality."

Rufus Connell at Frost & Sullivan chimed, "Another company that also seems to get it is TiVo. Everyone is familiar with pause, record and rewind live TV, everyone understands time shifting, but TiVo has added all sorts of cool features."

Ted Schadler at Forrester Research concluded that "What it all boils down to is that it has taken a long time for consumer electronics makers to realize that digital media needs software. It's not just the manufacturers' fault. A lot of these gaps are really the retailers' fault. They don't see it as their job to make a product work."