Motorola was never going to take harsh words from Apple design chief Jony Ive lying down. Ive lambasted the company's Moto Maker tool in a recent, extensive New Yorker profile. Well, he probably did. Ive asked the publication to refrain from identifying the competitor he was tearing down, but there's little doubt he was referencing Motorola and its broad customization options. Ive blasted the company for putting too many design choices (color, materials, etc.) in the hands of consumers. "I believe that’s abdicating your responsibility as a designer," he said.
Motorola president Rick Osterloh isn't fond of the unprompted smack talk. He's confident of Motorola's approach, telling the BBC that his company follows a "different philosophy" than Apple. "Our belief is that the end user should be directly involved in the process of designing products." But rather than try and fire back at Apple's own premium design — something none of Cupertino's competitors can really touch — Osterloh focused on price. "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."
"You’ve got people like Apple making so much money and charging such outrageous prices."
He's of course referring to the price disparity between Apple's iPhones and the Moto G and Moto E, Motorola's low-cost handsets that tick off most boxes for features that consumers need from a smartphone. "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." And yes, Motorola has absolutely managed to deliver those devices, but doing so hasn't yet reversed its ongoing business struggles; change comes slow when operating at those margins. Nor has the flagship Moto X become the consumer hit it arguably deserves to be. On the opposite end, Apple's "outrageous" prices just led to the biggest profit in the company's history.