Apple and the iPad: The Triumph of Close

Apple sold nearly 15 million iPads in 2010, generating about $9.5 billion in revenue. Is this the fastest product ever to reach $10 billion in annual revenues (the iPad was first shipped in April 2010)?

And is this the best proof that there is no “business theory” (in this case, the argument that only an “open” device could work in today’s computer industry and that “closed” platforms caused the demise of past computer giants) that can be applied to all companies, even companies in the same industry?

Steve Lohr assessed the conventional wisdom at the time of the iPad launch in the New York Times: “The iPad bet could prove a loser for Apple. Some skeptics see it occupying an uncertain ground between an iPod and a notebook computer, and a pricey gadget as well, at $499 to $829. Do recall, though, that when the iPod was introduced in 2001, critics joked that the name was an acronym for ‘idiots price our devices.’ And we know who had the last laugh that time.”

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