If it’s another day, and it is, then Samsung is trying yet another way to be like Apple. It’s not enough to steal Apple’s designs while trying to eke out a profit in the smartphone business, but Samsung uses the iPhone maker as an inexpensive R&D lab, too.
Samsung differs greatly from Apple’s corporate and product structure. The Korean giant is a manufacturing conglomerate with many business units, revenue streams, and profit centers. Instead of spending tens of billions of dollars on smartphone research and development, Samsung merely copies what Apple does, and stuffs its products with off-the-shelf components; many of which it makes for competitors.
Be Like Ike, Mike
A key point of differentiation between a conglomerate like Samsung and a company like Apple is how much time it takes to get a product to market. Apple has the patience of Job and seems to take forever, while Samsung introduces new models with abandon, and whatever sticks they make more, whatever doesn’t stick gets dumped.
Apple has a used product program where older iPhones are refurbished and then sold to buyers in other countries at a discount. The vast majority of Samsung smartphone models already are inexpensive but the company wants to refurbish high end models and make them available to buyers.
You know, just like Apple.
Even before Apple launched Apple Music, Samsung could see what the iPhone maker would do in the future so hurriedly launch Milk Music in 2014 as a pre-competitor to Apple. That’s like trying to be like Apple by copying Apple’s future. Well, here we are a couple of years later, Apple Music is out and growing fast and Samsung decided to shutter Milk Music.
We have made the strategic decision to invest in a partner model focused on seamlessly integrating the best music services available today into our family of Galaxy devices. We believe that working with partners will accelerate innovation, enhance device sales and provide amazing new experiences for our customers
Translation: We lost a boatload of money so we plan to partner with someone else willing to lose a boatload of money.
It’s Hardware, Stupid
Most reviews of Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 7 flagship smartphone tout the great screen, iris scanner, camera, and assorted hardware features as proof that the Korean manufacturer has yet again leap-frogged Apple to claim the hardware crown.
Not so fast. Despite having an Octa-core CPU and 4GB of RAM (iPhone 6s has 2GB of RAM and dual cores) the iPhone 6s, in a side-by-side shootout, and despite being nearly 12 months old, ran rings around Samsung’s latest and greatest. Apple focuses on performance and usability, while Samsung opts for feature clutter and off-the-shelf technology components which are not well optimized.
For all the copying of Apple that Samsung does– instead of doing its own R&D to produce more usable, user-friendly products with higher real world performance– the Korean company assumes that a bullet point list of features is sufficient to convince smartphone customers that it’s OK to switch to Samsung because a Galaxy whatever is just like an iPhone. Only cheaper.
Kudos to Samsung for being the only Android device maker to eke out a profit in the smartphone business, but if the company truly wants to be like Apple it needs to dump Android and roll their own OS, and that’s no mean feat.