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Tech giant Apple Inc. is on the expansion march. It has recently unveiled new products for entertainment, financial services, news and video games. Apple is doing this to keep up with competitors that are also moving to expand outside their core business.
According to observers, this strategic shift for Apple is based on maintaining momentum as sales are softening in its core iPhone business. Apple plans to make its TV app available on competitors’ devices as well.
It also announced the release of the Apple Card, a mainly digital credit card launched in partnership with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The card aims to challenge incumbents by offering low interest rates and eliminating late and annual fees.
The launch of Apple Card, which customers can sign up for from their phones, marks a major expansion of the tech giant’s foray into financial services, begun in 2014 with Apple Pay.
The company also unveiled Apple News, a $10 monthly service providing access to 300-plus magazines and newspapers. And it recently announced the launch of Apple Arcade, a subscription service offering access to 100-plus exclusive games for a yet unspecified monthly fee.
These initiatives are part of a broader movement by tech titans to spread into new industries, betting their combination of loyal users. These efforts are fueling competition in new arenas.
This is coming as Amazon pushes beyond e-commerce, auto entertainment and finance as Alphabet Inc. goes past advertising into subscription gaming.
Apple’s new video contingent plans thrust the company into rapidly intensifying competition among technology companies and traditional cable operators for pay-TV users. Growing disillusionment with cable companies and streaming subscription services such as Netflix Inc. is leading millions of Americans to change their TV habits.
This allowed companies such as Amazon, Sony Corp. and Hulu to elbow into a $100 billion industry, long dominated by Comcast Corp., AT&T, Direct TV and others.
Apple’s original content service, called TV-plus, will be available in its TV app starting in fall 2019. The company brought out several stars to discuss their work with Apple, including Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston.
Do U.S.-Based Conglomerates Feel Threatened?
With “conglomerates” increasingly concerned by President Donald Trump’s push toward more manufacturing activity in the United States, the potential collapse of General Electric, the once largest of them all, has served as a warning signal to many others.
For many years, the domestic push in the United States from small, privately owned businesses to a relatively few major conglomerates that bought them out seemed to proceed unchallenged. This allowed them to transfer their production needs to far cheaper manufacturing overseas, primarily to Southeast Asia and the European community.
With no tariff worries with which to cope and an unpublicized transfer of technology to such nations as China and Germany, this was welcomed by much of America’s retail buyers, after passing minimum quality standards before being accepted in the United States.
While sizable factory reductions became the result of such domestic manufacturing losses, the loss of factory jobs was not actively challenged by American production interests, much of which was already under the umbrella of conglomerates. Even the unions that suffered membership losses in large numbers found little sympathy from the vast number of American retail buyers, delighted by the low prices available for the vast majority.
Since there were no tariffs charged against American companies overseas, the conglomerates benefitted mightily, along with the ultimate product purchasers. This resulted in severe reductions in both factories and the American skilled and unskilled workers, who were reduced by the tens of thousands.
But with President Trump committed to again uplift American manufacturing and technology, the rebound of “Made in America” is slowly turning up, if ever so slowly.
The hope is that trade pacts with China and others will bear fruit and become a major issue as domestic public retail prices are bound to generate action by America’s buying public. They will be actively supported by the conglomerates, who were happy to be the ultimate owners of much of the overseas transfers that led to the shutdown of American factories and the great multitude of employee losses.
It is sure to become a major issue as both political parties and the president lay the groundwork for the upcoming 2020 presidential election.
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