The iPhone fallout: Winners and Losers

Summary:The impact of Apple's iPhone, rolled out at Macworld by Steve Jobs, is going to have a lasting impact on the tech industry beyond today's big splash. Here's a look at the winners and losers: Winners: Cingular: By becoming the exclusive carrier for the iPhone, AT&T's wireless unit is going to hit rivals such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint hard.

The impact of Apple's iPhone, rolled out at Macworld by Steve Jobs, is going to have a lasting impact on the tech industry beyond today's big splash. Here's a look at the winners and losers:

Winners:

Cingular: By becoming the exclusive carrier for the iPhone, AT&T's wireless unit is going to hit rivals such as Verizon Wireless and Sprint hard. Look for the latter to be most impacted since it's the weakest. Cingular also will get a little branding love by sharing the stage with Apple.

Apple: The iPhone is likely to give the company another iPod like revenue stream to ride for years to come. By dropping the "computer" from its name it positions itself beyond just the Mac and iPod. It also worked out the  trademark issues with Cisco  to boot.  (David Berlind predicted that one).

OS X: As an operating system OS X is great. As a mobile operating system it’s really great. Don't be surprised if OS X makes inroads on Windows Mobile, which will increasingly look scaled down compared to OS X and Vista.

Accessory makers: There's a whole cottage industry around iPod accessories. There's no reason to think that the iPhone won't have similar tag alongs.

Losers:

Motorola: Company is struggling amid low-margin phone devices. The Q's success is questionable. I'm already looking at my Q like its an Edsel.

LG, Samsung et al: These phone makers have made a big push by bundling in music with phones. Apple is going to use its iPod/iTunes juggernaut to raise big problems for other phone makers. Picture an MP3 player market scenario.

Windows Mobile OS: Microsoft's Windows Mobile is serviceable, but it's less elegant than what Research in Motion or Palm can offer. Nevertheless, Windows Mobile has made a lot of inroads, but now it'll have a version of OS X to battle.

Sprint: The company is already struggling and now it faces Verizon Wireless and Cingular, which will have Apple's marketing heft riding shotgun. Don't be surprised if a "for sale" sign goes up on Sprint soon.

iPod: Huh? Don't be surprised if at least some iPod sales get cannibalized by the iPhone. After all, the iPhone is basically a bundle of phone meets iPod.


Research in Motion: A week ago, RIM's Pearl, also sold by Cingular, was going to be the must have phone of 2007. That title didn't last long and now it has to compete for shelf space at Cingular.
 

Palm: Company can't hit its numbers or its product timelines. Now Palm is stalled out on the tracks looking at RIM in one direction and Apple in the other. Time to go private?

The UMPC: This product category was sketchy from the beginning. Now? Looks like the iPhone may be a rival. It runs a PC operating system, manages contacts and plays music and video. Sounds like a small PC to me.

Topics: Apple

About

Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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