The President of Finland is blaming Apple for his country’s economic downturn.
The Apple iPhone, he says, killed Nokia and the iPad has put a serious dent in the nation’s paper industry.
Of course he’s not incorrect in assuming that Apple is partly to blame for the shift towards a newer technology. But political office prevents him from pointing the finger at the real culprit of the demise – his country’s lack of innovation. It’s not so much that Apple purposefully targeted Finland in an evil plan to eliminate it from the global economy, as it is the fault of Nokia and the Finnish paper industry for being too secure in their position of dormancy. Innovation in the Information Age is no longer a nice to have. If you are not rebuilding and retooling continuously in 2014 you are preparing to become irrelevant. In South Africa we know this scenario all too well. Our clothing industry failed to innovate or react to the global shift in the manufacturing sector and hundreds of factories were forced to close in the Western Cape. The same thing is happening with the mining industry. Smaller economies are too heavily concentrated in a few key areas – and when they become irrelevant, Presidents of countries start pointing fingers. The digital age should be a golden opportunity for places like South Africa to innovate new products and offerings that diversify the economy. But all too often, governments themselves are too slow to support.
Ironically, Apple itself isn’t immune to getting outplayed by a smaller player. American ‘musician’ Will.I.Am is launching his own Smartwatch that he claims will be much better than Apple’s version. Time and great branding will determine whether or not he’s right.