Xiaomi vice president Hugo Barra once again spoke out in defense against copycat accusations that have been levied against the company. Xiaomi allegedly is copying Apple products too much.
Okay, we understand – from a business point of view – that is convenient to copy the market leader. Do what the leader does and hope to ride the coattails of its marketing investment and meanwhile sell as much as possible. If you copy the leader, some of its success should rub off on you. Right?
But take Xiaomi for example. The company has been accused a number of times in the past of “borrowing” the design of Apple products. Xiaomi’s CEO Lei Jun even did his product presentations in a black turtleneck and jeans, even revealing a “One More Thing…”, very Steve Jobsian.
Vice-president Barra is surprised by the attention about the iPhone 5-style chamfered edge on a Xiaomi device: “Yes, it does look like an iPhone 5 and that chamfered edge, by the way, is present in so many other devices. People couldn’t bring themselves to believe a Chinese company actually could be a world innovator, could build amazingly high-quality products.”
Be that as it may, if you sell a similar design in even the three identical colours Apple sells them in (white, gold and grey), you cannot be surprised if you raise any suspision.
Xiaomi’s copycat antics led Apple chief designer Jony Ive to respond: “I think it’s theft and it’s lazy. I don’t think it’s okay at all.”