Miruna Codeanu

Samsung vs Apple or Samsung plus Apple?

In Uncategorized on August 6, 2014 at 7:07 am

downloadSamsung and Apple have agreed to drop patent lawsuits outside the US. Both companies agreed to drop all litigation outside the US. The game is still on in the US. In the US Apple has two victories against Samsung, the case remaining still unresolved. In a heated argument, I once said “Yes, sure, when Apple and Samsung will be friends” and I found myself half amused thinking of an epic movie scene from Benigni’s movie “La Tigre e la neve”: “when I’ll see a tiger in the snow”. Samsung and Apple seemed to be at war.

The improbable happened. Apple and Samsung are making peace outside the US. Why outside the US, why not US included? Remember a few months ago when Apple asked that the products breaking its patent stop being commercialized in the US? Even if you don’t remember, they did. Which meant Samsung’s smartphones will be not sold in the US. Which would leave Apple without competition in the US.  However, with all the huge marketing efforts Samsung put in the US, let me express my doubts they will give up the American market. They will not. Last year, Samsung unofficially spent $882 million while Apple spent $662 million, according to Adage. 

You know I’m an advocate of the “buy local movement”. I also believe Apple has been pushing its “designed in California” trademark to match this global trend. Apple has this competitive advantage in from of Samsung. Apple is somewhat local, in comparison to Samsung and it market segment likes that.  So, on the consumer side, Apple has an advantage: proudly designed in California. On the governmental side of this issue, Apple also has an advantage. Apple pays taxes in taxes in the US , and is, somewhat, an American company. I’ve added “somewhat” to avoid disputes on the manufacturing of Apple products by Foxconn and the tax avoidance scandal.

North America is still a big game, both for Apple and Samsung. While Apple finds itself at home in the US, Samsung’s investments in the US are not to be neglected, also quite a big market for future development. Although both companies relied on the Chinese market for their growth, they were both surprised by Xiaomi’s triumph which became the market leader for the Chinese market. Thus, recently Xiaomi became the fastest growing handset maker, its second quarter sales exploding by 240%, taking 14% of the world’s largest smartphone market (according to Marketwatch). Of course, we all know, data coming from China can be easily debated. Also, do not forget, China does not like international companies taking over its market, remember the PR crisis Apple had to handle in China. In China, it was basically Apple and Samsung fighting over the first place, while Xiaomi was silently winning.

Today, Apple announced its Iphone6 launch for September 3, while Samsung plans to release its new phablet, Galaxy Note4 on September 9. We know Samsung is launching a phablet. What will Apple launch? Most people say it will the iphone6. Some say it will be the iphon6 and another, cheaper, one. It will probably be the larger iphone, enabling Apple to enter a market segment, his competitor invented. Will there be a patent lawsuit? Apple and Samsung are almost friends, in the sense in which they are not fighting, but still competitors. The American market is quite important for both of them. However, with China almost lost as a market, I’m wondering who is going to Africa, the next big market. I know, you’ll tell me there’s Ebola in Africa right now. There’s Ebola and there are smartphones and people using them to predict the weather and maybe find out more about the deadly virus. Ebola? Probably the last outbreak until pharma companies find it an interesting market segment.

Sure, looking at the price range of their products, it seems Samsung will be the next big thing in Africa. However, having the typology of 3rd world countries market development on the back of my mind, where consumers manifest a preference for show-off consumption, Apple and Samsung might be sharing this market quite brotherly. As I was saying yesterday, consumerism seems to be losing in front of some other models. However, when development reaches Africa, it will probably consumerism first. It will, show-off consumerism for middle and upper class. I’ve lived through the development of a free market, Romania was sometimes the case studies for how markets evolved in the developing countries. And it is like this: you’ll see expensive cars for those who don’t really afford them, you’ll see indecently expensive cars for those who can actually afford expensive cars. Also you’ll see second cars looking too old to be out on the streets. And this usually at once, until the market become mature, and everybody is happy to consume. With Facebook making its steps into Africa, will Samsung and Apple consider making a move in those territories too? Until then, they Samsung and Apple lived happily ever after until the next patent trial, or maybe until September. Who will make a first move?

  1. Reblogged this on Cẩm Vân Phan and commented:
    The most arduous struggle for both of them!

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