Wired Magazine has an interested article which discusses why some companies are just destined for success and hit products:
To change an industry once is impressive. To do it as many times as Apple has – popularizing innovations like the graphical user interface, the mouse, multihued hardware, and edgy industrial design – is phenomenal. For three decades, Apple has blazed a trail for the computer world. Now, the music business is watching slack-jawed…
So…why doesn't some ambitious company with deep pockets and distribution muscle adopt Apple and hold it aloft as the trophy it really is? The corporate Daddy Warbucks would get to anoint its product lines with Apple's creative mojo, turbocharging revenue and snatching market share from its imagination-challenged competitors.
It's working for BMW. In 1994, the very, very serious automaker bought Mini, an obscure British company with a sense of humor; today, BMW is struggling to keep up with orders. Mini Coopers swarm like racing-striped gnats up and down US roadways, making so many SUVs look like the big, unwieldy bully boxes they are.”
It's a comparison that I think many of us have made. As an avid proponent of Apple products and their design philosophy I've always found lots of common ground when comparing them to MINI and BMW. Both command under 5% of the overall market yet receive way more press and accolades than that would have you believe. They both use highend engineering to create a brand that stands apart from other manufacturers of commodities like Dell or GM.
Interestingly I spoke recently with a BMWNA exec who told me that many of them are well aware of the comparisons made between the two companies and appreciate the sentiment. He went on to say that many of the execs (including BMWNA president Tom Purvis) use Apple Powerbook laptops exclusively. Pretty interesting indeed.