TAG Heuer versus Apple: relógios inteligentes opõem 2 empresas bem diferentes

Em maio deste ano escrevi (aqui) sobre a futura competição a ser travada entre a TAG Heuer, tradicional fabricante de relógios top de linha, com a Apple. Na época, a TAG Heuer havia anunciado uma parceria com o Google e com a Intel.

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Ontem, finalmente, o novo produto fruto desta união foi oficialmente lançado. Os detalhes podem ser lidos AQUI.

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Ainda é cedo para mensurar resultados, obviamente, mas o site Business Insider já emitiu uma opinião: o novo relógio inteligente da TAG Heuer é o primeiro concorrente de peso para o Apple Watch, o primeiro produto que poderá, na opinião deles, não apenas fazer frente ao relógio da Apple, mas tem chances de vencê-lo a médio e longo prazos. Eis aqui as razões que eles apresentam (os grifos, como de costume, são meus):

The Apple Watch was supposed to be a big threat to established Swiss watchmking brands like TAG Heuer, whose sporty timepieces often serve as entry level luxury choices for people buying their first “real” watch.
You can pick up a simple TAG Formula 1 watch, in stainless steel, quartz-powered, for less than $1,000.

A comparable Apple Watch, once you add the $450 stainless-steel bracelet, comes in around $1,000. But of course you can spend a lot less. And the Apple Watch does a whole lot more than tell the time, which is about all the TAG F1 does.

When you move up to Omegas and Rolexes, with automatic movements and much more status appeal, you’re talking $4-8,000. Properly cared for, the Tag will last pretty much forever. So will the Omegas and the Rolexes. The Apple Watch, pointedly, probably won’t.

But the thinking before the Apple Watch launch was that Omega and Rolex were safe, whereas TAG wasn’t. If your timepiece has to say something about your taste, better to do it later with a Rolex and wear a smartwatch on a daily basis. See ya later, TAG.

TAG Heuer CEO Jean-Claude Biver clearly took this dire prediction to heart and set TAG on a course to this week introduce what to my eye looks like the first real competitor to the Apple Watch to emerge from watchmaking’s traditional Swiss stronghold: the Tag Heuer Connected.

Ironic, isn’t it, that the company the Apple Watch was supposed to do in (TAG is part of the luxury conglomerate LVMH) could be its first meaningful foe in the smartwatch wars?

Why is it so good?
When you get right down to it, smartwatches aren’t quite ready for prime time. On CNBC, Biver noted with astonished enthusiasm that since the Apple Watch was introduced, it’s sold million of units. This from a company that had never had anything to do with watches before.

Still, even the Apple Watch is basically just a watch without an iPhone to add to its functionality. And, from my perspective, not a very good watch. I’m actually not sure that Apple even knows what do with the thing, long-term.

I haven’t yet handled the TAG Heuer Connected, but it looks like the nicest smartwatch on the market (the $15,000 Apple Watch Edition, in gold, notwithstanding).

Critically, it isn’t trying to avoid being a watch. Powered by the Android Wear operating system and Intel processors, the TAG is built like a watch, with a lightweight titanium case and a rubber strap that comes in various different colors. As with most high-end watches, there are Tag logos on the crown and the clasp on the band — small details that matter to true watch fans.

It can’t say “Swiss Made” on the dial (it’s built in Asia), but it can say “Swiss Engineered” on the case. The clincher, however, is the dial, where Swiss heritage finally gets an opportunity to push back against Apple.

The Connected’s face is designed to refer very explicitly to TAG’s most famous watch, the Carrera chronograph, created by Jack Heuer as a tool for motorsport (“Carerra” recalls the Carerra Panamericana, a road race run in Mexico in the 1950s; the chronograph function allowed for relatively precise timing). Several additional face designs can also be activated. To be sure, the Apple Watch can show different faces and complications, but only TAG can really display, with crediblity, what many watch lovers consider to be among the greatest timepiece designs in history.

The Connected also comes with an interesting piece of upselling marketing, which at base is kind of passive-aggressive. At $1,500, it isn’t cheap. It will also, like all smartwatches, probably lose some functionality as it ages (it has to be recharged daily, just like the Apple Watch). But TAG has created an intriguing trade-up option. After two years, for an additional $1,500, you can unload the connected for a similar Carerra design that has a mechanical movement.

So you wind up having spent $3,000, a bargain in the luxury watch world, for a groundbreaking smartwatch that you may not like that much plus, potentially, a well-regarded modern version of TAG’s best-known watch. Sure, maybe you’ll want to upgrade to the next version of the Connected, and maybe you won’t. But if you don’t, TAG will send you home with a fine timepiece that could last decades. Yes, a bit passive-aggressive. But also savvy.
TAG’s goal here is to stay in the game as smartphones become more popular while simultaneously tapping the ambivalence that luxury watch enthusiasts have for wearable tech. If you’re going to wear something, make it a great Swiss watch. And if you do that, you don’t have the wrist real estate for a smartwatch.

The TAG Connected is the best of both worlds, although to be sure if you’re buying a smartwatch you may decide that the Apple Watch OS is simply too compelling to avoid. That said, a product has finally hit the market that could give the Apple Watch a run for its, and your, money.

A íntegra da análise pode ser lida AQUI.

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Achei que a análise do Business Insider foi inteligente, assim com a estratégia da TAG Heuer. Julgando pelos argumentos que foram apresentados neste texto, sou obrigado a concordar que a Apple vai ter mais dificuldade para enfrentar este produto do que os “smartwatches” que já estavam no mercado, especialmente os da Samsung e da Motorola.

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Afinal, a TAG Heuer tem uma reputação de qualidade e design que pode não apenas concorrer de frente com a da Apple, mas até mesmo subjugá-la.

Criando e mantendo uma marca

Começo mostrando um vídeo curto, que resume um evento ocorrido há poucos dias na escola de gestão da Stanford University:

Passemos, agora, para uma reportagem da The Economist (íntegra AQUI), tratando da Samsung:

For many South Korean consumers, the chaebol, family-owned conglomerates that are into everything from electronics to amusement parks, are a source of pride. For investors, they can be a headache. Shareholders were reminded of this in May when Samsung proposed to merge two of its affiliates: Cheil Industries, the group’s de facto holding company, and Samsung C&T, the country’s biggest construction firm (it put up the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai).

When the deal was announced, Cheil’s share price was around its highest since its IPO in December, and that of C&T was near a five-year low. CLSA, a stockbroker, said the deal would give Cheil the core operations of C&T “effectively for free”, after subtracting the value of its stakes in other group companies. That would suit Lee Jae- yong, the only son of Samsung’s chairman, Lee Kun-hee. The elder Mr Lee has been in hospital for over a year since a heart attack; his son is preparing to pay about $5 billion in inheritance tax while keeping family control of the group, through small stakes in a hairball of cross-shareholdings. The merger allows Mr Lee to consolidate that structure, and to gain more than $12 billion in stakes in other Samsung companies, including a further 4.1% stake in Samsung Electronics, its flagship firm.

Not so fast, said Elliott Management. The American hedge fund (widely known as a “vulture” fund for its investments in distressed debt) boosted its C&T stake after the merger was announced, becoming its third-largest investor, and filed a lawsuit to block the deal. Elliott argues that the merger is unfair for C&T shareholders, who it says will lose $7 billion due to the huge disparity in the two firms’ valuations: when the merger was announced, Cheil’s stock was trading at over 130 times forecast earnings, whereas C&T’s ratio had slipped to around 20. (Firms in South Korea’s KOSPI index on average have a forward price-earnings ratio of about 11.)
A court in Seoul has rejected two injunctions filed by Elliott to try to halt the deal; it ruled that the ratio by which shares in C&T will be swapped for Cheil shares did not indicate any price manipulation. South Korean law says that the ratio must be based on average stock prices over the previous month, a formula that Samsung used. Samsung contends that the deal will “ultimately increase shareholder value” by fusing the global network of its construction arm with Cheil’s food and fashion businesses, though it is vague on how bringing together outfits from such different industries will save much money.

The conflict will come to a head on July 17th, when C&T’s shareholders vote on the deal. Two influential investor-advisory firms, ISS and Glass Lewis, have urged them to reject it. Each side is lobbying other shareholders, made up of foreign investors (who hold about a third of C&T shares), domestic private investors (who have just over a third) and South Korea’s National Pension Service (NPS), which has a stake of almost 12% and could be the swing voter. In November an attempt to merge two other group companies, Samsung Heavy Industries and (loss-making) Samsung Engineering, was blocked by the NPS, which threatened to exercise an option to sell its shares in both firms rather than end up with a stake in the merged entity.

Shin Jang-sup, an economist at the National University of Singapore, says Elliott has already benefited handsomely from its investment in C&T, with gains he estimates at more than 100 billion won ($100m). In Mr Shin’s view, South Korea has strict trading regulations and a crippling tax on inherited management rights: it is because the chaebol are under such strict regulation, he says, that they have looked for ways around them.

Sweeping reforms after the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 boosted shareholders’ rights and required large listed companies to bring in more outside directors, for a time placing South Korea ahead of Japan in the strength of its corporate-governance laws. But lobbying by the chaebol has since undone much of the good work, says Kim Woo-chan, an economist at Korea University in Seoul. Only one big chaebol, LG, has swapped its cross-shareholdings for a transparent holding-company structure. South Korea now ranks at the bottom of Asian corporate-governance league tables, with Indonesia and the Philippines.
The low valuation of South Korean firms relative to their developed-country peers, known as the “Korea discount”, is blamed on corporate-governance worries. Last year Hyundai Motors caused investor concern when it bought land in Seoul for 10.6 trillion won, triple its assessed value, for a glitzy new headquarters. The heads of four chaebol—Samsung, Hanwha, Hyundai Motors and SK Telecoms—have been convicted of crimes in the past decade.

The government has begun to push firms to redistribute their huge piles of cash in increased wages or dividends. The president, Park Geun-hye, initially championed “economic democratisation”—passing a law to give the country’s Fair Trade Commission greater powers in levying fines on illegal transactions benefiting chaebol family members, and another preventing new cross-shareholdings. But she has since focused on reviving a sluggish economy that is dependent on the chaebol: last year two of her ministers suggested that convicted tycoons be pardoned if they could contribute to boosting economic growth.

Bruce Lee, head of Zebra Investments, one of South Korea’s few funds focused on corporate governance, says that even if Elliott’s bid fails, it is only “the start of growing pains”: its challenge comes at a time when succession issues loom at other chaebol—and as South Koreans become increasingly frustrated with the families’ sense of entitlement. In a rare show of solidarity, a group of small C&T shareholders have delegated their voting rights to Elliott. Some have even bought their first shares in C&T, simply to vote against the merger.

A Samsung atingiu se ápice há alguns anos: muitos acreditavam que ela seria capaz de derrubar a Apple. Felizmente para a empresa da maçã, não foi isso o que aconteceu – aliás, pelo contrário.

Há pelo menos 2 anos a Samsung vem enfrentando queda nas vendas, e seus celulares estão ameaçados de perder posições importantes nos rankings mundiais. Há diversificadas razões para os problemas da Samsung – e há peculiaridades locais para alguns deles, inclusive.

Um destes problemas, e que não tem atraído a atenção devida, é o envelhecimento da marca e a perda da capacidade de impressionar (no momento dos lançamentos, geralmente anualmente, dos novos modelos).

O Galaxy, produto top de linha da divisão de celulares da Samsung, costumava ser um concorrente bastante difícil para o iPhone da Apple – e, no início, a proposta da Samsung era oferecer um celular capaz de fazer tudo o que o iPhone fazia, mas com preço menor. Deu certo a princípio.

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Mas a Apple, claro, não ficou parada.

O problema, porém, nem foi a resposta da Apple, mas a perda de foco da própria Samsung. A aparência frágil e barata do Galaxy – que tinha muito plástico de qualidade duvidosa, em detrimento do vidro do iPhone 4/4S ou do aço/alumínio do iPhone 5/5S/6 – não combinava com um aparelho top de linha. No começo, isso não incomodava – mas, com o passar do tempo, a Samsung não melhorou, não mudou nada, não inovou.
Começou a ser gerada uma dissonância cognitiva: o celular top de linha com tanto plástico? Não deve ser tão bom…

A Apple, ainda que haja diversas críticas pertinentes ao iPhone, fez mudanças: o vidro do 4/4S deu lugar ao plástico de boa qualidade do 5C (modelo destinado a países sub-desenvolvidos, ou seja, modelo mais barato) e ao aço escovado do 5/5S – que, depois, sofreu mudanças na versão 6.
Ou seja, a Apple mudou seu produto, modernizou a imagem do produto que ela mais vende. Esta mudança tinha como objetivo mostrar que as marcas Apple e iPhone continuavam imbatíveis no quesito celular top de linha – assumidamente caro, mas que oferece mais do que a concorrência.

E a Samsung? Mudou a composição e as cores dos plásticos, mas continuou colocando muito plástico no seu modelo top de linha. O pior: foi alvo de piadas, justamente quando lançou uma nova linha do seu aparelho top de linha.
Em paralelo, a Samsung adotou uma comunicação que pretendia confrontar diretamente a Apple. Não deu certo.
A Apple manteve sua fleuma. Isso, em comunicação, tem um significado claro: se a Apple respondesse as provocações da Samsung, ela se rebaixaria – ao invés disso, ignorou, o que o líder de mercado geralmente faz quando um desafiante o provoca.

A Apple manteve sua linha de comunicação inalterada, inclusive reforçando a aparência superior do seu iPhone – sem precisar citar o Galaxy ou qualquer outro modelo.

Isto, senhoras e senhores, demostra qua a estratégia de criação e manutenção de uma marca (branding) dá um trabalho danado!

Especulo aqui a possibilidade de que os problemas retratados na matéria da Economist podem ter afetado as decisões da Samsung no que tange à gestão do seu branding – repito: isso é especulação minha.
Mas o fato concreto é que a Samsung – por quaisquer razões – está num momento ruim, descendente. Pode ser revertido? Claro que sim!

Será?
Não tenho bola de cristal para adivinhar.

Quais as melhores estratégias para enfrentar a Apple nos produtos “vestíveis”?

Escrevi na semana passada (AQUI) sobre o novo relógio da Apple, recém-lançado, e ainda sobre a parceria entre o Google, a TAG Heuer e a Intel (AQUI).

O fato é que a Apple vendeu, em poucos dias, mais de 1 milhão de relógios, enquanto o Google não conseguiu atingir o mesmo número ao longo de todo o ano de 2014.

Como enfrentar uma empresa do porte da Apple, com produtos excelentes, dinheiro para propaganda, rede de distribuição mundial e, mais importante, dona de um ecossistema que atrai o consumidor pela facilidade?

Um artigo na Fast Company de hoje dá uma boa visão sobre isso, e inclusive propõe algumas possibilidades:

Although Apple hasn’t revealed any official sales numbers—and says it doesn’t plan to—several unofficial estimates claim that Apple has at least cracked the 1 million sales mark. Google’s Android Wear platform only shipped 720,000 units in all of 2014, according to Canalys.
Just as it did with smartphones and tablets, Apple has essentially created the smartwatch market. But don’t write off Android Wear just yet. Through a series of seemingly low-key changes, Google is quietly positioning itself for a stronger second act.

A few weeks ago, Google announced Android Wear 5.1.1, and while the version number doesn’t suggest major improvements, the update will make third-party apps much more useful.
One notable change extends Android Wear’s always-on display capabilities to third-party apps, so they can leave information on the screen in a low-power, black-and-white mode. Prior to the update, Android Wear would always revert to the clock screen after a few seconds of inactivity, regardless of what you were doing.
[…]
Google will also make it easier to open smartwatch apps in the first place, with a launcher that users can open by tapping on the main screen. When Android Wear first launched, Google seemed to deliberately hide the launcher, preferring that app makers focus on actionable notifications. But developers say Google may have gotten ahead of itself with that plan.
“My guess is they went a bit too fast going notification-only and they found users are confused by the lack of structure,” says Q42 developer Taco Ekkel, who created an app for controlling Philips Hue light bulbs. “The notification-instead-of-apps model is the future, but people (both users and many app developers) need time to get there.”
In the meantime, the launcher will give users easier access to functions that might not come up through notifications alone. Aaron Sarazan, who leads Android development for the personal finance app Level Money, says notifications are great for showing a record of recent transactions, but not so much for letting users look up how much they can spend. “Just by virtue of removing the number of taps to get to the app list, that helps a lot,” he says.
Google’s original vision for Android Wear had little to do with launching apps on your wrist. Instead, Wear was supposed to deliver information in just the right context, either through app notifications or cards from Google Now.
It was the right idea, but the execution was flawed. In many cases, Google Now can be useless (as in every time it offers directions back to work from your lunch break), creepy (like when it reminds you of recent Google searches), or just annoying (like when it pesters you with updates from a site you visited once). Turn off enough of the things that bother you about Google Now, and you may not be left with much. This in turn puts undue pressure on notifications, which themselves can be bothersome without careful pruning.
[…]
Google Now, for instance, is already available for iOS, and while the new third-party integrations are currently Android-only, it’s possible that this could change in the future. The same could be true for Google’s Custom Voice Actions.
As for standalone apps, Level Money’s Sarazan says getting them to work with a paired iPhone probably wouldn’t require much work, especially if Google provides an API to forward data to the watch over Bluetooth. “Maybe it would have to use a different Bluetooth protocol but that would probably be trivial for the end developer,” he says. Between standalone apps, Google Now, and voice actions, Android Wear might not even need actionable notifications to feel like a capable platform.

In any case, Google has time to get it right. The smartwatch industry is still young, and while the Apple Watch is getting most the attention, the developers I spoke with aren’t walking away from Android Wear anytime soon. With better software and a wider potential user base, Google’s smartwatch platform still stands a fighting chance.

O artigo pode (e deve) ser lido na íntegra AQUI.

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Cabe lembrar: o Google já colocou o Android em geladeiras, fornos microondas, relógios, óculos, coleiras de cachorros e uma infinidade de itens. Até agora, contudo, ele não conseguiu resultados muito inspiradores. Evidentemente, há tempo de reverter isso – mas agora ele tem que se preocupar com o relógio da Apple e, dependendo dos resultados que este relógio obtiver, a Apple poderá lançar alguns produtos derivados dele. Isso, sim, dificultaria sobremaneira a vida do Google.

Por que a TAG Heuer vai vender um relógio que mais parece um computador?

Lendo o jornal, me deparo com a seguinte notícia (íntegra AQUI):

Segundo a Bloomberg, a TAG Heuer irá lançar um modelo de relógio inteligente entre outubro e novembro. O preço, segundo algumas fontes da publicação, deverá ser de US$ 1400 (aproximadamente R$ 4200).
O aparelho, que utilizará o sistema Android Wear, terá uma bateria com autonomia de 40 horas, segundo o dirigente de atividades relojoeiras da Louis Vuitton SE, Jean-Claude Biver. Tal duração é muito superior às 16h de bateria do Apple Watch, concorrente direto do relógio da empresa suíça.
Na apresentação do relógio, Biver disse que espera vender “milhões e milhões e milhões deles”. Além disso, ressaltou que “quanto mais eles venderem, mais pessoas irão desejar algo diferente e ir para a TAG Heuer.”
O dispositivo é o primeiro a ser anunciado após a oficialização da parceria entre TAG Heuer, Google e Intel.

Logo que a TAG Heuer divulgou sua parceria com o Google, há algum tempo, eu comentei em sala de aula a situação. Naquela época, a parceria ainda era muito vaga, mas agora, pelo visto, a coisa está mais sólida, e o relógio inteligente da TAG deve chegar em breve ao mercado – portanto, vale retomar.

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Por que uma fabricante tão tradicional de relógios caríssimos, de alta qualidade, vai se “aventurar” a fabricar e vender relógios que mais se parecem com computadores de pulso do que com relógios propriamente ditos? Qual seria o interesse – tanto da TAG Heuer quanto do Google? Quais os benefícios/ganhos para cada um?

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A TAG Heuer é uma empresa centenária (foi fundada em 1860), um dos tradicionais fabricantes de relógios suíços, reconhecidos mundialmente pela precisão, pela qualidade – e, claro, pelo preço elevado.

Sua comunicação busca associar a marca à precisão e qualidade através da parceria com o esporte – a TAG Heuer firmou-se há muito tempo como cronometrista oficial da Fórmula 1 e outras modalidades esportivas. Estou colocando algumas imagens que ilustram esta linha de comunicação ao longo do texto, mas creio que uma das mais significativas é esta aqui:

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Há muitos anos, a TAG Heuer foi patrocinadora do Ayrton Senna, e ele, inclusive, foi um dos responsáveis pela entrada da TAG no mercado brasileiro, de forma oficial, no final dos anos 1980, início dos 1990. Neste ano, a TAG fez esta homenagem ao Senna. Mais do que um parceiro comercial ele foi (e, de certa forma, ainda é) uma das caras da TAG Heuer no mercado brasileiro.

A história da TAG Heuer, mundialmente, é repleta de eventos marcantes, e sua linha de produtos jamais abriu mão da altíssima qualidade – dos materiais e matérias-primas empregados, até a embalagem, transporte, apresentação etc. Isso, evidentemente, tem o reflexo direto na estratégia de precificação: a despeito de ser menos conhecida, no Brasil, do que marcas como Rolex e Omega, a TAG Heuer compete diretamente com estes fabricantes. Faz algum tempo que não pesquiso os preços, aqui no Brasil, de um TAG, mas imagino que o modelo mais simples, mais barato, não deva custar menos do que R$ 5 mil, especialmente com o recente aumento do dólar.

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Em 1962, a TAG Heuer conseguiu um feito memorável: o astronauta John Glenn orbitou a Terra 3 vezes com um cronômetro da marca, e o fato, obviamente, foi muito usado na comunicação da marca:

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A TAG Heuer sempre associou sua marca a eventos esportivos – a princípio, automobilismo, desde a Fórmula 1, com maior visibilidade internacional, às diversas modalidades européias que no Brasil são pouco divulgadas/conhecidas.
Nas últimas décadas, a TAG Heuer vem expandindo seus patrocínios a outros esportes também, notadamente (mas não apenas) tênis e golfe, sempre buscando atletas de alto rendimento para firmar contratos de patrocínio.

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Não por coincidência a marca prefere esportes considerados de elite, que atraem o interesse de um público rico – o que, registre-se, faz todo o sentido, dadas as características dos produtos TAG Heuer.

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A lista de atletas patrocinados pela TAG Heuer é seleta, e inclui nomes como Tiger Woods e Maria Sharapova, além de corredores em diversas categorias do automobilismo europeu e norte-americano (desde 2004, a TAG Heuer é a cronometrista oficial da Fórmula Indy). A TAG Heuer também tem patrocinado eventos como regatas e a Maratona de New York (não tão “elitista” quanto uma regata, mas devido à tradição do evento, alinha-se à estratégia de comunicação & promoção).

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Portanto, retomo as perguntas lá do começo: POR QUÊ?

Por que a TAG Heuer iria se aventurar com os relógios inteligentes (que são mais parecidos com computadores do que com relógios propriamente ditos) quando ela tem esta história toda na área de expertise dela? Afinal, a TAG Heuer não tem tecnologia nem conhecimento (know-how) com computadores ou derivados, ela sabe fazer relógios – precisos, duráveis, bonitos, caros etc. Então, o que ela vai agregar ao negócio?

Há apenas uma resposta para tudo isso: MARCA.
Secundariamente, canais de distribuição – mas o fator mais importante, de longe, é a imagem da marca. A palavra-chave neste acordo TAG Heuer + Google + Intel, sob a ótica da TAG Heuer, é branding. Ela expande a marca para um novo segmento de mercado, uma mercado ainda em gestação, mas trata-se de relógios — ainda que, repito, se pareçam mais com computadores do que com os tradicionais relógios que a TAG fabrica.

O Google é reconhecido como o gigante da internet, mas ele não tem “nome” como fabricante de relógios. A TAG Heuer, por outro lado, tem uma longa e brilhante história com relógios de qualidade — portanto, as pessoas conhecem e confiam na marca quando se trata de um relógio. O público alvo da TAG Heuer, pessoas de alto poder aquisitivo, conhecem a marca, e sabem da qualidade dos seus produtos — portanto, compram com mais facilidade. O preço, já se sabe antecipadamente, vai ser alto — mas esse público alvo não se importa de pagar caro pela qualidade oferecida.

A Apple, por diversas razões, conseguiu firmar sua marca atrelada à qualidade – e, assim como a TAG Heuer, cobra caro por esta qualidade. Para concorrer com os relógios inteligentes da Apple, o Google precisa agregar valor ao seu produto; a marca TAG Heuer significa muito valor agregado. Esta parceria, portanto, faz muito mais sentido para o Google: é ele quem mais se beneficia, porque poderá, com a marca TAG Heuer, cobrar um preço premium por um produto que se estampasse apenas a marca Google teria que ser vendido a preços significativamente  menores – e com uma margem de lucro evidentemente menor.

O Google tem o software (Android) para o relógio inteligente, a Intel tem o hardware (processadores), e a TAG Heuer tem a marca e os canais de distribuição seletiva já consolidados no mundo inteiro, especialmente Europa, América e Ásia — mercados com maior poder de compra, nos quais um relógio de alto valor agregado tem maior potencial de vendas.

Além disso, o Google tem um público alvo gigantesco: todos com acesso à internet. O problema é o seguinte: quem acessa a internet não necessariamente vai comprar um relógio de R$ 5 mil ou mais. Aliás, uma ínfima parcela de quem tem acesso à internet paga esse valor num relógio. Neste sentido, portanto, o gigante público que já é cliente do Google quando está diante de um computador (ou tablet) NÃO será cliente do Google quando sair da frente do computador e for comprar um relógio inteligente.

Esta parceria Google + Intel + TAG Heuer, contudo, não impede que o Google ofereça o seu relógio, com a marca Google, para um público alvo diferente: mais numeroso, mas com poder de compra menor, o que significa ganhar em escala, com margens mais magras e preços menores, e com distribuição mais ampla (intensiva).
O maior beneficiado, portanto, é o Google. Mas trata-se de uma boa parceria para as 3 empresas. Quem poderia ficar incomodado com esta parceria (e com o produto resultante dela) seria a Apple, mas não creio que ela esteja muito preocupada — pelo menos não neste momento.

A TAG Heuer saiu de um recente fracasso: ela inventou de fazer um celular com sua marca. Foi um retumbante fiasco.

As causas deste fiasco são variadas. Mas passam por questões que eu já citei aqui: a TAG Heuer não tem o conhecimento de produtos fora do setor relojoeiro. No caso do celular, ela teve boas intenções, e investiu inclusive numa tentativa de carregar a bateria do aparelho com luz solar. O celular era lindo, caro, e reunia diversos predicados. Mas comercialmente foi um fiasco.

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Um aparelho até mais caro do que um iPhone? Precisa oferecer mais do que o iPhone, então. E o celular da TAG Heuer, chamado Meridiist, tinha uma aparência linda (imagem acima), mas em termos de recursos perdia para o iPhone – especialmente graças ao ecossistema Apple.

Talvez o fracasso com o celular tenha ensinado à TAG Heuer uma lição valiosa — e isto pode ter sido a chave para a parceria com a Intel e o Google: buscar quem tem know-how quando sua empresa resolve entrar num mercado desconhecido para ela. Aquele conceito básico do Porter, as 5 forças competitivas, pode ter mostrado à TAG Heuer que ela tem muito a ensinar na produção de excelentes relógios, mas também muito a aprender em termos de gestão.

Apple continua crescendo. Até quando?

Leio no Valor (íntegra AQUI) o seguinte:

Impulsionada pelas vendas de iPhones na China, a Apple apresentou um resultado para o seu segundo trimestre fiscal que superou por pouco as estimativas de analistas. O lucro no período subiu 32%, para US$ 13,6 bilhões, o equivalente a US$ 2,33 por ação. Segundo analistas consultados pela “Thomson Reuters”, a companhia teria um resultado de US$ 2,16 por ação. Em termos de receita, a alta foi de 27%, para US$ 58 bilhões. O consenso era de um valor de US$ 56,1 bilhões.
O desempenho no período foi impulsionado pelas vendas de iPhones, que chegaram a 61,17 milhões de unidades, alta de 40% em relação ao mesmo período do ano passado. O banco J.P. Morgan estimava as vendas em 53,8 milhões de unidades. A receita de vendas do telefone subiu 55%, para US$ 40,28 bilhões. “Estamos vendo um maior número de pessoas trocando seu telefone por um iPhone do que registramos em ciclos anteriores, e estamos animados com o início do trimestre que se encerra em junho por conta do lançamento do Apple Watch”, disse o executivo-chefe da companhia, Tim Cook, em comunicado.
A China foi o motor de crescimento da fabricante. A receita no país avançou 71%, para US$ 16,82 bilhões. Com esse desempenho, a China passou a Europa e se tornou o segundo maior mercado para a Apple, atrás apenas da região das Américas.
Junto com o resultado do segundo trimestre, a Apple anunciou a ampliação de seu programa de recompra de ações de US$ 90 bilhões para US$ 140 bilhões. A companhia também ampliou em 11% o seu dividendo, para US$ 0,52 por ação. Para o terceiro trimestre, a Apple estimou sua receita entre US$ 46 bilhões e US$ 48 bilhões.

A questão é: até quando (e com qual intensidade) os números da Apple continuarão crescendo?

Parece evidente que a entrada no mercado chinês foi um fator da maior importância para a Apple: a receita na China subiu 71% para US$ 16,8 bilhões, fazendo do país o maior mercado da empresa depois dos EUA, graças às fortes vendas do iPhone. Vi muita gente dizendo que a Apple já havia atingido seu teto, e que o mercado americano estaria saturado dos produtos da maçã.

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Com isso, a empresa fez o que deveria ter feito: buscou um mercado imenso, no qual ainda não havia entrado. A China foi, evidentemente, uma opção correta, e os números mostram isso.

Paralelamente, a Apple seguiu fazendo as modernizações em sua linha de produtos, e lançou o Apple Watch. Vi muita gente dizendo que seria um fracasso. Ainda é cedo para dizer, mas só no primeiro final de semana de vendas mundiais do relógio inteligente, a Apple vendeu mais relógios do que foram vendidos “wearables” com Android em 2014 inteiro.

E sempre que se fala da “guerra” entre a Apple e os produtos com Android, é preciso ter em mente: a Apple é a única empresa que fabrica e vende produtos com o iOS, enquano o Android é uma bagunça, pois cada fabricante (Samsung, LG, Motorola etc) tenta vender um sistema operacional “personalizado”, e coloca o Android (nas mais diversificadas versões) em diversos produtos: óculos, relógios, PDAs, geladeiras, carros etc.

Há quem diga que a Apple anda desleixada com seus produtos mais tradicionais, especialmente o Mac. Pode ser.

Eu uso o meu MacBook desde 2011 (estou escrevendo nele neste momento), e pode-se perceber que o Yosemite tem tido muitas atualizações de segurança e melhorias (“bug fixes”) em pouco tempo – no último mês, foram umas 3 ou 4. Não era assim. Contudo, os sistemas operacionais da Apple (iOS e Mac OS) ainda são superiores à concorrência. Por quanto tempo? Isso seria um inútil exercício de futurologia. Não serei eu a arriscar um palpite.

O que posso dizer: até aqui, a Apple vem fazendo boas escolhas estratégicas, e tem acertado também na gestão dos produtos. O Apple Watch tem bom potencial, mas ainda é cedo para avaliá-lo.

O problema, no caso do Brasil especificamente, é a estratégia de precificação. Evidentemente, aqui temos o problema do excesso de impostos, além da variação cambial (o dólar estava batendo nos quase R$ 3,50 alguns dias atrás). Isso, óbvio, encarece demais os produtos da Apple. Porém, o iPad era um item com um preço bastante razoável (infelizmente, como mostra o link acima, acabou de sofrer reajustes de até 36%) no Brasil, diferentemente do iPhone, que tem preços abusivos mesmo.

Cabe lembrar, ainda, que aquela promessa feita há anos pelo governo federal (santa incomPTência!) de produzir localmente, na Foxconn, naufragou como todas as demais promessas da cambada do PT.

Por que a receita dos iPads vem caindo? Ciclo de vida do produto.

Artigo interessante que li na Business Insider (íntegra AQUI):

To the surprise of few Apple watchers, the company delivered its third straight quarter of declining iPad sales.

The reason why sales are shrinking appears to be pretty obvious. There isn’t a good reason to own three Apple gadgets — a Mac, iPhone, and iPad — when a combination of just two of them will do. And now that iPhones come with larger screens, there’s even less of a reason to buy an iPad along with it.

This is not to say the iPad is a bad tablet. It’s a wonderful tablet, the best you can buy. And it’s likely the primary computer for a lot of people who don’t need to do much beyond checking Facebook and some light emailing. But keep in mind the modern tablet space is only four and a half years old. We’re still learning how people use them and how often they upgrade.

Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted as much on today’s earnings call.

“People hold onto iPads longer than they do a phone,” he said. “We’ve only been in this business four years. We don’t know what the upgrade cycle will be.”

If you have a third-generation iPad with Retina Display (which launched in early 2012) or later, there’s no reason to upgrade to one of the new iPads Apple introduced last week. Yes, the new models are faster, thinner, and have better cameras, but even iPads that are two and a half years old are more than capable and plenty thin and light.

iPads either need to learn how to do more in order to entice people to upgrade, or we should retool expectations for how often people should upgrade them. The iPhone may last about two years for the typical user, but the iPad might be a four- or five-year upgrade.

Resumindo: tablet é uma categoria de produtos relativamente nova – o primeiro iPad foi lançado há apenas 4 anos. Todas as empresas estão ainda aprendendo como é o ciclo de vida do produto.

Um tablet não precisa ser trocado todo ano, exceto para um nicho de consumidores (categoria conhecida nas teorias de marketing como heavy users, ou aqueles que fazem questão de possuir a tecnologia mais recente, atual). Para a maioria dos consumidores, porém, um tablet tem um ciclo de vida relativamente longo. Eu, por exemplo, tinha um iPad (o original, de 2010) até o começo deste ano. Comprei um iPad Air, que deve me servir plenamente por pelo menos mais 3 ou 4 anos (no mínimo!).

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Creio que há um OUTRO fator que pesa bastante nesta questão: o iPhone é usado diariamente, o dia todo – carregamos no bolso, em bolsas etc. Ele está mais sujeito a cair, ser batido em alguma superfície dura etc. Os tablets, por outro lado, são utilizados com uma frequência menor, e sob diferentes (e melhores) condições de uso, o que ajuda sobremaneira a aumentar sua durabilidade.

Steve Jobs fez o melhor discurso de graduação da História; veja e leia na íntegra

Isso não é novidade alguma, mas certas coisas não perdem a relevância.

Em 2005, Steve Jobs, então CEO da Apple, foi convidado a fazer o discurso de formatura na Universidade Stanford. Uma fala relativamente curta, mas que tornou-se histórica.

Pelo seu conteúdo, e pela história de Jobs, vale a pena ver:

Aqui o texto, na íntegra:

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits, the rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.
I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

Aplaudindo de pé.

Sempre.