Schiller Disagrees with Document Claiming Apple Sales Team Worried about iPhone Growth
An internal Apple document presented as part of the ongoing Samsung vs. Apple trial showed that the company’s sales team was worried that a maturing market may leave no room for iPhone growth. Apple’s marketing chief, Phil Schiller, downplayed the document’s significance. The document, which was introduced at trial by Samsung had one of the Apple employees writing that “competitors have drastically improved their hardware and in some cases their ecosystems,” worried that such growth would result in fewer customers for the iPhone.
The growth of the smartphones, according to the document, was in sectors that Apple had chosen to ignore but competitors had jumped in to fill, namely, low-end devices and handsets with large displays. Additionally, carriers were thought to be balking at increasing the mix of iPhones in their smartphone sales because of the device’s high subsidies.
The document prepared for an offsite Apple sales meeting, which went on to call out rivals’ “obscene” spending on advertising and carrier partnerships to reinforce its point. Samsung, Apple’s biggest competitor, spent roughly $14 billion on advertising in 2013 compared to Apple’s relatively modest $1 billion.
Schiller, the executive in charge of Apple’s worldwide marketing efforts, said during cross-examination that he doesn’t entirely agree with the views presented in the document. He continued by adding that it doesn’t represent Apple’s official position. Schiller did have solid statistical footing on which to base his disagreement. The flagship iPhone 5S, with a 4-inch display and on off-contract price of more than $600, has been the best-selling smartphone in the US each month since its release.
We’ll have to wait and see where the discussion leads next.