Can Super Mario Save Tim Cook’s Apple?

Shaaz Nasir


Different Gamers Playing the Same Game?

Mario and Apple

Mario and Apple

I enjoyed the presentation delivered by Apple. Yet, it’s simply not enough to capture the next few billion consumers entering the market of smartphones.

Both Apple and Nintendo are being attacked by analysts and tech enthusiast for lacking innovative products. Apple can afford to buy some time to plan her strategy on entering the emerging markets with cheaper and colorful phones but Nintendo does not have that luxury. As we can see in the chart below, Nintendo already ran out of time

The Battlefield is Software

Apple’s main strategic traits are her ecosystem and lifestyle which resonates well with consumers. Unique and exclusive services/experiences will ensure Apple stops bleeding market shares to Android phones. However, Apple will simply never out do Samsung phones on a pure tech spec battle – that’s fine because the battle lies within the software.

Before iOS 7, Apple was losing on both quality of software and certain aspects of the hardware (the outer shell is world class but most specs were outdone by Samsung’s Galaxy 4.)

With iOS 7, Apple has finally caught up with the industry standards set by Android’s Jelly Bean. Yet despite these efforts, catching up can be considered neither innovation nor an indicator of exclusivity.

In the decision making process, consumers must have clear and distinct reasons to buy an Apple iPhone versus the competition. These distinct reasons are fading away with better battery life, camera, ram, and memory options all going Samsung’s way. But again, these battles are on hardware and not software. Apple plans to pump out cheaper versions of the iPhone with data plans, not to mention their better performing gold tinted phone. Although these steps will help in differentiation, they’re not bold enough to give consumers solid reasons to buy their products.

Innovation Can’t Only Be Be Skin Deep (Literally)

It’s time for Tim Cook to use some of that cash he has and buy Nintendo. Pumping exclusive games from Nintendo to the Apple store will sear a strong reason into the minds of potential buyers: “OMGZ, I love Mario TAKE MY MONEY!”. The sheer volume of high quality games Nintendo has been building for 3 decades can ensure Apple’s store is pumped with mouth watering games that everyone can enjoy. I won’t speculate on costs as I don’t have an entire Marketing/R&D team at my disposal, but the costs of adjusting a game is not that high versus making a brand new one from scratch. Nintendo is ready to inject some real color and fun into Apple with classic games in a matter of days. Having exclusive rights to Mario is a clear advantage over any other operating platform.

1up+ for Nintendo

Tim Cook hiring Mario will allow Nintendo to focus on what it does best, make games. Nintendo simply does not make good hardware and has been outdone by everyone in the market. Their latest “comeback” has been a disaster with Wii U sales disappointing everyone. Just take a look at their latest hardware device, which they claim to be “never before seen’’.

To me it looks like the Nintendo engineers and marketing team have been eating far too many mushrooms; this is exactly what we have been seeing for the last two decades – a flat plastic toy that plays games. ‘’Look, you can’t fold it anymore!’’ that’s not a strategy that will save your company. With Nintendo being fully taken over by Apple, it can be relevant once again.

Tim, Stop Burning your Cash


Tim had to give out $50 billion to his stakeholders to shut them up about the tanking stocks. Instead of handing out another $75 billion to stakeholders in the next 6 months to keep them quiet, let’s buy Nintendo and make them Yelp in joy. It’s clear that both companies need to take bold moves to remain innovative, relevant, and above all exclusive. Apple must understand that differentiating itself from the crowd is key and buying Nintendo while it’s on sale is a great step in reaching out to billions of untapped consumers around the world. Software is where billions of consumers will be won or lost. I ask Tim to have faith in Mario and his friends from Link to Donkey Kong in building Apple’s strategy for the emerging markets. It’s time to buy Nintendo.