News Update September 2019 (2): Highlight — Apple relies on subscription for growth!

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Photo: Screenshot Apple Special Event, 10. September 2019, Steve Jobs Theater.

Apple relies on subscription for growth

In addition to the technical novelties, in the context of the recent Apple Special Event on 10 September 2019 and financial experts, the question was discussed as whether Apple can continue to grow strongly or even not.

German financial market TV journalist Valerie Haller said on ZDF Heute Journal in her comment from September 10, 2019 (starting at minute 23:20), “The subscription business is becoming increasingly important to Apple.” The future growth of Apple would therefore decide not more by product sales, but the number of subscribers. According to Haller, Apple has completed more than 420 million subscription contracts worldwide to date, specially in the areas of cloud storage and entertainment (music, games, movies).

According to experts, subscription contracts for consumers will be available for min. 2 users per contract and household. By comparison, Amazon Prime had more than 100 million subscribers worldwide in 2018. Netflix reached around 150 million subscribers in March 2019.


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Apple setzt beim Wachstum auf Subskription

Neben den technischen Neuheiten wurde im Umfeld des jüngsten Apple Special Events vom 10. September 2019 und Finanzexperten die Frage diskutiert, wie und ob Apple weiterhin stark wachsen kann. Die deutsche Finanzmarkt-TV-Journalistin Valerie Haller sagte im ZDF Heute Journal in Ihrem Kommentar vom 10. September 2019 (ab Minute 23.20), „das Geschäft mit den Abo’s wird für Apple immer wichtiger“. Über das künftige Wachstum von Apple würden demnach nicht mehr Produktverkäufe entscheiden, sondern die Zahl der Subskribenten. Apple habe laut Haller bis dato weltweit über 420 Millionen Subskriptionsverträge abgeschlossen, v.a. in den Bereichen Cloud-Speicherplatz und Entertainment (Music, Games, Movies).

Laut Experteneinschätzung können bei Subskriptionsverträgen für Konsumenten min. 2 Nutzer pro Vertrag und Haushalt stehen. Zum Vergleich: Amazon Prime hatte 2018 weltweit über 100 Millionen Subskribenten. Netflix erreichte im März 2019 die Zahl von rund 150 Millionen Subskribenten.



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Scientific investigation on subscription in the industrial environment | Wissenschaftliche Untersuchung zu Subskription im Industrieumfeld

“Nonownership Business Models in the Manufacturing Industry: The Role of Uncertainty and the Industrial Internet of Things” is the title of an investigation by Maximilian Bock, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg / Germany, Chair of IT Management, and Martin Wiener, Bentley University, Information and Process Management (IPM) Department, which was presented at the 39th International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS). This results in the high complexity of opportunities and risks.


„Nonownership Business Models in the Manufacturing Industry: The Role of Uncertainty and the Industrial Internet of Things“ ist der Titel einer Untersuchung von Maximilian Bock, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg/Germany, Chair of IT Management, und Martin Wiener, Bentley University, Information and Process Management (IPM) Department, die im Rahmen der 39th International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) vorgetragen wurde. Hieraus ergibt sich die hohe Komplexität bei Chancen und Risiken.


In a nonownership business model (NOBM), a company maintains product ownership and sells only product performance to its customers. While NOBMs are not an entirely new phenomenon, the digital technologies—such as the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)—that facilitate the use of such BMs are relatively new. An increasing number of manufacturing companies are looking into offering nonownership services.

However, prior research highlights that, so far, manufacturers have had mixed experiences with servitization strategies including IIoT-based services.

Therefore, there is an important theoretical and practical impetus for research on how manufacturers can benefit from NOBMs, and how new technologies help manage the uncertainties associated with such BMs.

Drawing on a multiple-case study with three globally operating manufacturers, our study examines the uncertainty upsides and downsides resulting from the adoption of NOBMs, as well as the role of IIoT capabilities in unlocking and mitigating these upsides and downsides, respectively. Preliminary study findings are presented, followed by a discussion of contributions and opportunities for future research.




Conflict: Investigative reporter discovers discrepancies

At Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG Subscription causes discrepancies and causes a dispute over investment funds, as Melanie Bergermann published for the German WirtschaftsWoche on (premium contribution) on September 1, 2019.

“A major shareholder wants to get rid of the CEO apparently with some dubious methods. And the workforce is divided into two camps,“ Bergermann writes. And goes on to say: “One fraction stands for the old business: the sale of printing machines at double-digit margins. Problem: The market is shrinking. That’s why the company has introduced a subscription model to earn more with material and service. Heidelberger provides the customer with a machine, paper, ink and other materials. Payment is made per sheet. The yield is spread over five years, but overall the profit should be higher than the simple sale of a machine. The second fraction wants to accelerate this model with speed. (…) Even employees from the traditional camp find the new model good. Because Heidelberger is financially weak, there is a dispute over the scarce investment funds.”

However, Bergermann admits that the company is still innovative, especially in industrial digital printing. The conclusion: “The situation is tricky. The company has to invest in such future technologies, but has little financial scope.“

Zerreißprobe: Investigativ-Reporterin entdeckt Unstimmigkeiten

Bei Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG verursache Subscription Unstimmigkeiten und sorge für Streit bei Investitionsmitteln, wie Melanie Bergermann für die deutsche WirtschaftsWoche auf  (Premiumbeitrag) am 1. September 2019 publizierte.

„Ein Großaktionär will den Vorstandschef offenbar loswerden – mit teilweise zweifelhaften Methoden. Und die Belegschaft ist in zwei Lager gespalten“, schreibt Bergermann. Und führt weiter aus: „Das eine Lager steht für das alte Geschäft: den Verkauf von Druckmaschinen zu zweistelligen Margen. Problem: Der Markt schrumpft. Deshalb hat das Unternehmen ein Subscription-Modell eingeführt, um mehr mit Material und Service zu verdienen. Dabei stellt Heidelberger dem Kunden eine Maschine nebst Papier, Farbe und anderer Materialien zur Verfügung. Bezahlt wird pro Blatt. Der Ertrag verteilt sich über fünf Jahre, soll insgesamt aber höher ausfallen als beim schlichten Verkauf einer Maschine. Die zweite Fraktion will dieses Modell mit Tempo vorantreiben. (…) Selbst Mitarbeiter aus dem Traditionslager finden das neue Modell gut. Weil Heidelberger aber finanzschwach ist, gibt es Streit um die knappen Investitionsmittel.“

Bergermann räumt allerdings dem Unternehmen ein, immer noch innovativ zu sein, vor allem im industriellen Digitaldruck. Das Fazit: „Die Lage ist vertrackt. Das Unternehmen muss in solche Zukunftstechnologien investieren, hat aber finanziell nur wenig Spielraum.“




On 16 October 2019 the 1st. Subscription Leaders Summit will happen in Francfort/Germany. If you can you should join to get cool insights enriching your network capabilities as well. Beside WirtschaftsWoche and Mobile Zeitgeist our Blog #HotspotSubscription will be one of the media partners.


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