Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Google Great At Software Sales, Not Hardware Sales

Apple has been described as a supply chain with a design appendage. The author did not mean it as a compliment, but it could be taken that way. Design is the glamorous side of Apple but supply chain management is what makes it all work. CEO Tim Cook is a genius at it and it's critical to selling Apple products while sustaining quality, minimizing inventory levels and containing prices. It's not an easy thing to do.

Google is late to the hardware game and it shows.

The Google Play store ran out of the popular Nexus 10 tablets, in both 16 and 32 gig configurations, and the Nexus 4, well before Christmas. They also sold out in nearly all, if not all, retail locations such as Best Buy and Staples. Okay, not great, I can live with that. What's really annoying is that you can't pre-order the next shipment. Instead, Google Play expects us to keep checking back to see when they are available. Seriously? We're supposed to just keep checking at random times and hope to get lucky? I wonder how many sales they are losing instead of just delaying.

I would prefer a Nexus 10 to an iPad, but unlike the Nexus 10, they never ran out. I bought one for my wife, +Hellen Stevens, and they were readily available both online and at local retailers right up to and including Christmas Eve. I've not decided to get one myself, but I'm considering it.

Even though they are unavailable, Google Play still teases the customer with a "shop now" message under the pictures of the unavailable products.