Motorola Mobility President Rick Osterloh blasted Apple's prices as "outrageous" and said that Motorola and Apple have different design philosophies and strategies. The comments appear to be a slap back against Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) executive Jony Ive, who appears to have issued veiled insults against Motorola in a recent magazine article.
In a New Yorker profile, Ive was reportedly "scathing about a rival's product," which he insisted on not naming.
"Their value proposition was 'Make it whatever you want. You can choose whatever color you want,'" said Ive, who is Apple's senior vice president of design. "And I believe that's abdicating your responsibility as a designer."
The design scheme Ive was hinting at is likely Motorola's Moto Maker, which lets customers pick out the color and design scheme of their Motorola Moto X smartphone. Motorola has heavily promoted the online Moto Maker studio as a key point of differentiation.
"Our belief is that the end user should be directly involved in the process of designing products," Osterloh told BBC News. "We're making the entire product line accessible. And frankly, we're taking a directly opposite approach to them [Apple]."
Osterloh added that Motorola, which is now part of Lenovo, and Apple have different views on the smartphone market.
"We do see a real dichotomy in this marketplace, where you've got people like Apple making so much money and charging such outrageous prices. We think that's not the future," he said. "We believe the future is in offering similar experiences and great consumer choice at accessible prices."
Indeed, while the high-end Moto X costs $400, the mid-range Moto G costs $180, and the entry-level Moto E costs $120 (though the Moto E do not support LTE networks). In comparison, the 16 GB iPhone 6 costs $649 and the 16 GB iPhone 6 Plus costs $749.
"The mobile phone industry's greatest failure is also its greatest opportunity: to make really good, affordable devices for people who don't want to spend a lot of money," Osterloh said. "A great smartphone, and a great mobile internet experience, shouldn't be an expensive luxury. It should be a simple choice for everyone."
An Apple spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook recently expounded on the company's philosophy on smartphone prices and whether Apple needs to make a cheaper iPhone.
"What we've said is we want to give people a good value, and if we can develop something that's really great that costs even less than what we're offering today, which we think is a really good value, then we would do that," Cook said earlier this month at an investor conference. "But what we don't do is do something that's second rate or that's only a good product, not a great product, because that's not what Apple stands for and not what we think customers want."
"People everywhere in this world want a great product. And that doesn't mean everyone, every single person in the world can afford one yet, but everyone wants one," Cook added. "And so, if we do our jobs right and keep making great products I think there's a pretty good business there for us."
Late last month Apple reported a blowout holiday quarter with record sales of 74.5 million iPhones, up from the 39.3 million it sold in the previous quarter and the 51 million it sold in the year-ago period. It was the first full quarter of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus sales and Cook said that the results showed that the company did not need to make a cheaper iPhone to grow its business.
- see this BBC News article
- see this CNET article
Cook: Apple doesn't need to make a cheap iPhone to be successful
Apple's blowout: 74.5M iPhone sales, net profit of $18B
Lenovo's Motorola sells record 10M smartphones in Q4
Samsung loses top smartphone vendor title to Apple in Q4, according to analysts
Xiaomi, OnePlus and other Chinese manufacturers face hurdles in international smartphone expansion
Lenovo warns of end of 'hypergrowth' in Chinese smartphone market as Q3 mobile sales dip
Correction, Feb. 19, 2014: This article incorrectly stated that the Moto G does not support LTE. the second-generation version of the devices does support LTE.