In the heyday of the PC, despite its diminutive size, Apple became a kingmaker by embracing those new technologies. It was the first one to embrace the WiFi early, even when WiFi was expensive. I was thinking about that fruit-boost today, when another company benefitted from Apple, albeit indirectly.
When iPhone came out in 2007, it provided a shot in the arm for the WiFi gear makers. Within a year, WiFi networking gear makers saw the demand for equipment grow like crazy. Phone companies who used to hate WiFi couldn’t stop singing the praises. AT&T went out and bought a company. Cable companies set-up their own WiFi networks. Why because all of us loved using our iPhones and iPads.
Yeah, people were using Android-based devices, but it was Apple that acted like the HGH for WiFi. “The iPhone is doing to the mobile world, what the browser did to the wireline world,” Juniper Networks’ founder Pradeep Sindhu told me in a chat a year-and-a-half ago.
That has helped make the fortunes of many companies. Aruba is doing very well. Ruckus just raised $126 million in a public offering. And Meraki Networks, which started life as part of MIT Roofnet project has now been acquired by Cisco for $1.2 billion. As I explained in my post, the reason it was attractive to Cisco was the is explosion of traffic on the corporate WiFi networks thanks to iPhone and iPad. And guess what, Google is an investor in Meraki. A very happy one, I bet.
Rising iPhone lifts all boats….