Apple’s secret sauce of success is not easily copied of remanufactured. And, it’s not Apple iOS vs. Google Android OS. It’s Apple vs. Samsung. The question is, ‘Can Samsung copy enough of Apple to succeed?‘
Desperation And Differentiation
When it comes to product marketing there is one important axiom that I hold near and dear. Product differentiation. Apple’s iPhone was clearly differentiated from smartphones of the 2007 era.
Early on it may have appeared that Apple had clear sailing, an open field to run in, sans serious competition. Within a few years the pile of fallen phone makers grew– Microsoft, Motorola, Nokia, BlackBerry.
Apple quickly commanded 75-percent of the entire cell phone industry’s profits. In total desperation, Google pushed Android OS to cell phone makers and gave it away free, hoping to make money on mobile advertising.
Android may look and feel somewhat like iOS, but free usage is a compelling motivator, and Android became the industry savior. Except for one thing. The only saving Android did was to Samsung. Every other smartphone maker, using Android or otherwise, is slowly suffocating with low sales and no profits.
How, then, is Samsung succeeding against Apple’s iPhone? Differentiation? Samsung seemed more intent to copy Apple’s iPhone and iPad atoms than making products wholly different than Apple. If differentiation is a key component of product marketing, how does Samsung garner success by copying?
Samsung differentiated itself from Microsoft, Google, Motorola, Nokia, BlackBerry, and that long tail of also ran smartphone competitors by becoming more like Apple. Samsung doesn’t want to be too much different than Apple. Samsung wants to be more Apple-like and different when compared to other smartphone and tablet makers.
Apple’s secret sauce of success is a deep and rich meal where Samsung does not compare favorably. 400 Apple Stores. iPhone and iPad ecosystem. An app store will nearly 1-million quality apps. A rabid customer base with extreme product loyalty.
Samsung doesn’t have Apple’s sauce, but by comparing itself to Apple, displaying an Apple-like hubris of panache and cool, the Galaxy maker clearly differentiates itself from every other competitor. Samsung’s success speaks for itself.
The only two profitable smartphone makers are Apple and Samsung. Profits are disproportional to comparative unit sales and market share, yes, but even more so when comparing Samsung’s results to Microsoft, Google, Motorola, Nokia, BlackBerry, et al.
Desperation and differentiation are sometimes strange bedfellows. Avis vs. Hertz, anyone? Microsoft is opening Microsoft stores. Amazon and Google are selling tablets at manufacturing cost in a desperate move to slow Apple’s industry dominance.
To date, no competing company has concocted a sauce of success to compete with Apple. If Amazon buys Radio Shack and establishes a 4,000 store retail presence, then you’ll see another act of desperate differentiation. For Amazon, retail stores wouldn’t make it more like Apple, but would clearly differentiate the Kindle maker from other competitors without a retail presence.