Apple Strikes Back

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I am not an Apple ( AAPL) "fanboi." I find the company controlling, its products overpriced.

That said, I still own Apple stock, and I'm thinking of buying more.

The reason, or so the market tells me, is that computers aren't computers any more. They're consumer electronics.

Our parents bought TVs and stereos based on a perception of value and the reputation of the maker. It was a simple decision. I worked in my dad's TV repair shop as a kid, and I knew which brands were best -- the ones that weren't sitting around the place with their backs open.

Computers have become that kind of decision. We don't want surprises. That's what Apple promises. Come inside the Apple walled garden and you will be cared for, protected from the harsh world of viruses and controversy outside the walls. The "spaceship" design of its new headquarters is actually revealing -- it's the customers who live inside the wall.

The latest numbers from ComScore tell the tale. Apple's market share is going up, not down. The market share for Google ( GOOG)Android is going down, not up.

That's not what the computer press has been writing the last months. We've been writing that Apple is doomed - DOOMED - because Android is just so open and Apple's iOS so closed. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook ( FB) said it just the other day .

Wait, I've got it in my notes. "We're focusing on Android, because it's so open. You don't need to fork Android." This openness was a big advantage to Microsoft ( MSFT) when Windows was beating the Mac operating system "back in the day." But if computers are consumer electronics -- and smartphones are computers you hold in your hand -- maybe consumer views have changed.

What Apple has done over the last few years is what Microsoft did back in the day. It has focused on the channel.

The channel was my first beat as a tech freelancer, 30 years ago, and magazines like Computer Merchandiser gave me my first checks. The theme was the same, from that day to this - increased simplicity, smaller margins, efficiency. The IBM PC was a simpler sale than the machines it replaced, but the computer store became a super-store, and then people ordered them direct.

Apple made things simpler still. You go into an Apple store and they take care of you. You buy it online and they take care of you. You get it home, you turn it on, it works. There are no moving parts, and no more opening of manuals or even "Dummies" books.

Apple's channel focus has been to line up all the phone companies with deals that make Apple's high prices look low. The deal with T-Mobile is classic -- 20% down, $20/month, and when the hardware is paid for you can walk away from the carrier. The assumption, of course, is that when the hardware is paid for, two years from now, you'll want new hardware and another deal. If that sounds a lot like the way salesmen lease cars, it's because it is.

If the price hurdle is cleared, and Apple is a safe brand, and you don't have to know anything to make the thing work -- just poke a finger at it -- then it's just a matter of wash, rinse, repeat. That's what Tim Cook has been working on.

Of course that's not sexy. There's no drama in any of that. But drama is what the media wants. Consumers just want something that works.

At the time of publication, the author was long GOOG and AAPL.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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