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“The Tablet Apple Tried to Stop”

December 16, 2011

As a media spokesperson and lucky enough to own a unique name (Martin Aungle), I’ve had a Google Alert set up for some time now notifying me of any personal mentions in online news outlets. It’s been a pretty quiet channel – most of the times when I am quoted, it’s usually as “a company spokesperson said …” – however, there was a flurry of alerts that started late last night and continued into the early morning. Coincidentally, I had a jump in Twitter mentions and replies (when a Twitter user references your Twitter handle in a tweet).

The origin for all the activity was a picture I snapped of a Samsung tablet advertisement in last Sunday’s newspaper and posted on Twitter, along with the comment “How could Samsung resist using it? #applesamsung”.

The #applesamsung hashtag refers to the ongoing legal battle in Australia between Apple and Samsung which had stalled the release of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 10.1 in the local market. Last week, the case made it all the way to the High Court, with Apple’s losing its final avenue for appeal.

With the way clear for Samsung to start selling the Galaxy Tab, it couldn’t resist referring to Apple in its advertising campaign – “THE TABLET APPLE TRIED TO STOP.”

It’s a controversial marketing strategy – referencing your biggest competitor as the headline to your advertising campaign – but it speaks to the sheer market dominance of Apple’s iPad, and the legion of dead or dying tablets it has already left in its wake (see my post on HP’s Touchpad as an example).

What’s interesting is that Apple has largely left other tablet manufacturers to fail on their own – a strategy that seems to have worked spectacularly well to date. But Apple obviously views Samsung as the big threat to its market dominance and it’s ironic that, as a result of its failed legal bid, Apple has effectively become the biggest endorsement for Samsung’s new product.

While it’s a controversial ad, the reaction to my photo has taken me by complete surprise. It’s been posted on reddit, Engadget, 9 to 5 Mac, PCWorld (calling me a “marketing pundit”!), Apple Insider,  The Mac Observer, NBC, and IDG News Service, to name a few. And there seems to be many more out there that haven’t attributed the picture to me. What’s disturbing is that, apart from a couple of bloggers, nobody has asked for my permission to republish the photo.

Obviously, with such a personal interest in the way this news has spread, it’s fascinating to see how this one tweet about a print advertisement in a local paper on a quiet Sunday morning in rural Mittagong has ended up on news sites and blogs around the world.

It’s an insight I’ve filed away for future use …

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