Look at the iPad mini. People are willing to pay for something of quality that they know will give them a lot in return. It's no longer a case where it's a race to the bottom to create the cheapest and most easily-produced product. People are realizing that you frequently get what you pay for.
-- Eric Kuhn, The Wall Street JournalNEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- That's an excellent excerpt from an excellent article that reveals where so many otherwise excellent people miss with errant emotional reactions to Apple ( AAPL) over the last several weeks. If these folks credit Google ( GOOG) with any perceived weakness at Apple, they're really far gone. Anton Wahlman writes solid articles for TheStreet. I don't agree with him very often, but that doesn't mean his work isn't strong. We just don't see eye-to-eye on much. While I don't think he dislikes Apple, Wahlman appears in love with Google. A quick glance at his article history reveals that his Google love stems largely from the company's strategy to produce relatively inexpensive ("cheap") hardware. Wahlman particularly digs Google's low-priced Chromebook laptops. Most recently, he waxes bullishly about Google leading a smartphone price war. Wahlman claims there's not much room left to innovate with the smartphone and that it will go the way of the flat-screen television in terms of pricing. He might be right, but that's not the issue. The meaningfully scary part: Wahlman's not alone. In fact, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt waxes delusional about a "platform fight" between Apple and Android benefiting the consumer with "lower prices". Frightening: This notion that producing cheap products somehow makes things better for consumer, company and sector. That's a load of short-sighted, sounds-good-to-cheer, but really-isn't nonsense. Consider a comparison between Apple's iPad mini and Amazon.com's ( AMZN) Kindle Fire. Here's a refresher of my take on the mini before it was released (you know when people were saying it could never sell at a premium price) via CNBC: Handle an iPad mini after playing around with a Kindle Fire. I did yesterday. We have two Kindle Fires in my house. Nice little device. I'm on record several times praising Jeff Bezos for doing this, however I know full well this is not about some "platform fight" or device battle. So does Bezos. He knows he cannot beat Apple here so he produces a tablet -- and takes a loss or breaks even (whatever) on it -- to further Amazon's e-commerce dominance just a little more.