Bill, I think the smartphone market has always been competitive. [Only] the names have been changed.
Tim Cook responding to Bill Shope’s question on the competitive landscape, April, 2013.
Indeed, over the years, the companies considered Apple’s primary competitor have been many.
In years gone by in the phone market there were RIM and Nokia and Palm and HTC. In the iPod era there was Creative and Sony and innumerable others long forgotten (not to mention the tyranny of DRM).
Even today we struggle to decide whether Apple competes with Google first or Samsung. Or perhaps with the iPad it’s with Amazon or Microsoft. Or maybe iTunes is threatened by Netflix or Spotify. The Mac surely competes with HP and Dell and Toshiba. What about iCloud? Clearly it’s Dropbox or Google Drive. iWork? Both Office and Google Docs.
Doing a competitive analysis for Apple is then mostly a struggle of whom to compare it to. So forgive me that I only track the few challengers shown below.