As much as we can speak about Apple being ready to barge in the TV market, and lay out a perfect redesign of the whole experience with deep integration in their cloud ecosystem… It’s Ikea who moved first. And this is quite amazing because of the simplicity and the obviousness of the solution:

Don’t be fooled, this looks all nice and games, but this is actually a brutal attack on the whole business model of what TV producers have been complacently doing for decades:

  1. The added value is not in the technology but in moving it, out of the way, while offering a very good experience (I doubt that more than 2% of the market will realize the difference between good 2.1 audio and 5 or 7.1).
  2. The product is a piece of furniture in term of design and living around: perfectly integrated, well thought, in a bedroom or living room space. It’s “Design in real homes”.
  3. Monetization is on the low-cost side, while the TV and audio are actually not. But the sales of complementary furniture is obviously packaged. Smart.
  4. Distribution brings the killing blow with 267 hyper-visible stores in 25 countries, all of them presenting a well-known, unified customer’s experience.
  5. Not to mention that, knowing Ikea’s values, after-sales will be top-notch (think about Sony’s and Samsung’s and weep for them).

Now if all that reminds you of Apple, you are correct. Most of it is classical Cupertino’s strategy. Except that Apple aims at delivering high-end experience to the consumer market, while Ikea constantly aims at a specific balance: best-price design.

All this means for me that 2012 final quarter will probably be the end of a world as we know it. The world of selling tons of esoteric norms and specifications to rather passive consumers. This could probably result in a double offer TV experience: Apple as the high-end provider, and Ikea as the entry gate.

Where’s technological innovation or patents on the side of Ikea ? Nowhere to be seen. How awful is it ? It’s irrelevant. This is of course, a tremendous business model innovation: reduce to the core the product, and enforces a clear-cut added-value.

Seeing that a retailer as Ikea can in this way, compete with the expected offer of techno-giant such as Apple is a fantastic lesson about what is innovation: changing the f** market!

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