This is a great question that really comes down to a matter of the degree of emphasis put on these different approaches.
While the emphasis of some companies maybe product centric what makes those companies really successful is their balance with a customer centric approach. The best example is of course Apple, they build incredible products. At the same time they are incredibly focused on the users of those products.
The do not myopically focus on their products to the exclusion of customers, in fact they have a very strong customer obsession. This is demonstrated in their retail shopping experience, their focus on how users can get the most from their products through to the simply product line that makes it easier to determine the right product to meet a customer’s needs.
The danger is when a company becomes too product-centric and losses site of the customer experience. Products have lifecycles and lose relevance to their customer bases over time. Nokia and Blackberry have experienced this in the telecommunication market, they were thinking incrementally about product improvements and were blindsided by the way in which consumers would want to use their devices in the future.
Finance centric companies usually suffer from short-term thinking and a results orientation which can lead to great short-term results but that can catch-up to them when profits are out ahead of customer satisfaction.
Companies that do this continually lose the trust of customers and those companies find it very hard to grow organically as new products/services are often rejected by customers that have been burned in the past.
Think about a poor experience you had with a bank for example, the likelihood you are going to want to expand your relationship with that bank will diminish as a result…
Again like the product-centric company, a finance-centric company must add a balance of customer thinking to be more sustainable and successful over time.