Samsung Schadenfreude And The Fall Of The Church Of Market Share

John Kirk / October 12th, 2014

Schadenfreude |ˈSHädənˌfroidə | noun | pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune. ORIGIN German Schadenfreude, from Schaden ‘harm’ + Freude ‘joy.’

Samsung has reported a 60% fall in quarterly profits. Just three years ago, Samsung rose from seemingly nowhere to dominate the global smartphone market. Today, Samsung is being pressured from above and below as Apple steals away its premium customers and Xiomi and others steal away customers from the low-end.


Keep in mind that these numbers come from BEFORE the introduction of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The blood-letting has just begun.

Cheer up, the worst is yet to come. ~ Philander Johnson

The Church Of Market Share

Truth be told, I take no pleasure in Samsung’s distress. It is the pundits who preached the gospel of the Church Of Market share who grind my gears.

I don’t suffer fools, and I like to see fools suffer.~ Florence King

They jeered Apple’s premium business model, all the while cheering Samsung on and on — encouraging them to grow market share faster and faster…


…until the train that was Samsung went right off the rails.

Why Can’t Apple Be More Like Samsung?

Remember when the analysts were saying that Apple should be more like Samsung? Seems like only yesterday. Oh wait! It WAS only yesterday.

Thinking of all the pundits that wanted Apple to be like Samsung (low-end iPhone etc.). They aren’t saying that this morning. ~ Sammy the Walrus IV 10/7/14

Remember blogger turned @WSJ then @nytimes columnist recommending Apple cut prices and give free products to gain market share? ~ Rags Srinivasan (@rags)

Ah, good times. Good times.

Here’s a couple of additional Samsung/Apple predictions/recommendations from the archives just to remind us all of how long this nonsense has been going on for.

(Apple) once stood the undisputed leader of the smartphone arena, but ceded its crown to Samsung in 2012. ~ Poornima Gupta, Reuters, 13 March 2013

How royally stupid does that statement look, now that Samsung is the one that is getting crowned…if you take my meaning.

After spending the better part of yesterday digging deeply into Samsung’s analyst day materials, it has become clear to me that Apple, over the long haul, stands very little chance against the Samsung behemoth. ~ Ashraf Eassa, Seeking Alpha , 7 November 2013

Hmm. It seems to me that your digging created a hole, and you fell right into it.

If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin’. ~ Cowboy wisdom

Why Isn’t Apple Suffering The Same Fate As Samsung?

All this bad news for Samsung begs the question: If all these bad things are happening to Samsung, why aren’t they happening to Apple too? I could be all snarky and simply say it is because Apple doesn’t follow easily disprovable economic principles and business practices — and that would be true — but it would make this article way too short.

So, just for funsies, let’s do something that the High Priests of the Church of Marketshare never seem to do. Let’s stop and think.

Never be afraid to sit awhile and think. ~ Lorraine Hansberry

It is neither an accident, nor a surprise, that Samsung is struggling while Apple continues to thrive. Many astute observers predicted it long ago.

Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men. ~ Thomas Henry Huxley

Why then was this a shock to so many? And what lessons can we learn both from Samsung’s fall and Apple’s continued ascent?

Samsung, grab your sh*tty stylus and prepare to take f*ck*ng notes. ~ not Jony F*ck*ng Ive

Commoditization, Average Sales Price, And Margins


(T)he Apple brand has faltered … And it’s all because Samsung ignored the industry lock-in to constantly focusing on product, and instead changed the game on Apple. ~ Adam Hartung, Forbes, 4 April 2013

…it’s clear that Samsung will brute-force its way into taking more and more marketshare from Apple at the high end while at the same time will enjoy key structural advantages in the low end that Apple would – at least in its present form – not be able to match. ~ Ashraf Eassa, Seeking Alpha , 7 November 2013

This is the “Samsung-is-so-big-they-don’t-have-to-play-by-the-rules” theory of business. Samsung didn’t change the game. Pundits only thought they did because they didn’t understand the rules of the game.

Pundits have predicted, correctly, that hardware would inevitably become commoditized. This, they proclaimed with confidence, would cause Apple’s prices to fall while Samsung, with its good-enough and better-than-good-enough hardware and its lower prices, would usurp Apple’s market share, relegating Apple to niche status. Ironically, commoditization DOES apply to Samsung — the favorite of the Priests of Market Share — but it DOES NOT apply to their favorite whipping boy, Apple. Why? Differentiation.

From Ben Thompson:

Almost all industries have two tenable positions: the differentiated high-end, and the low-cost low-end. The iPhone faces little threat in the differentiated high-end of the market. Suggesting this market is limited in size is fair; counting the days until customers flee for cheap phones is silly. ~ Ben Thompson

What differentiates Samsung?

  1. Hardware? Please. Xiaomi and others are taking a page out of the Samsung playbook by copying Samsung’s designs and making hardware that is more than good enough.
  2. Software? Please. They’re all running the same Android operating system.
  3. TouchWiz? Please. Stop before I die laughing!

Samsung actually DID have some differentiators like scale, time to market, marketing prowess and budget. But none of those is unique to Samsung, and none of them provided Samsung with sustainable differentiation. To put this in military terms, the Samsung army was able to take ground, but they were unable to hold it.


There is no doubt, in my mind, that the whole (smartphone) sector is hugely overstretched. The whole sector is priced as if the average player would sustain 25 per cent margin in eternity. It’s bordering on absurdity. This will end in tears. ~ Per Lindberg, MF Global Ltd, Feb 2009

Well, Samsung and the rest of the mobile hardware manufactures may be overstretched and left in tears, but Apple is doing just fine, thank you very much.


And here’s something else to chew upon. The iPhone 6 Plus is 100 dollars MORE than Apple’s previously highest priced phone model. While the rest of the industry is in a race to the bottom of the pricing barrel, Apple is preparing to INCREASE the average selling price of their phones.

ASP will rise significantly this quarter. ~ Horace Dediu (@asymco) 9/9/14


Here are Apple’s actual margins:


And here is how badly Apple’s critics mis-predicted Apple’s margins:

Apple is focused on defending the high end of the market, and that is becoming harder to do each year. Competitors, such as the Galaxy from Samsung, are starting to catch up. I think it is inevitable that the margin pressure increases.”
Mark Newman, Director of Mobile Research, Informa Telecoms and Media, 26 Feb 2012

And even if the industry just continues as it has for the past few years, with companies like Samsung continuing to build phones that are as good as or better than the iPhone, it’s hard to see how Apple’s profit margin will continue to expand the way it has over the last several years. ~ Henry Blodget, Business Insider, 7 Sep 2012

Overall, the iPhone 5 is a good phone and will probably sell well, but in the long run Apple will have a hard time maintaining its extremely high margins because the iPhone is clearly no longer cut above the rest. Since Steve Jobs is gone, Apple should be honest with itself and begin to dramatically increase its R&D budget to stay in the game. Otherwise, the competition will leave it in the dust.”
Alvin Gonzales, Motley Fool, 17 Sep 2012

Market Share

Apple’s critics obsess over the relatively high price of Apple’s products and insist that Apple must lower their price in order to gain market share.

Bleier believes Apple will have to dramatically lower iPhone prices or risk losing market share to Android-based phones. ~ Scott Bleier,, 24 Oct 2008

I think they should invest more of it in the margin, in the business. Get lower-priced products out there. Stop going after just the premium piece. Get into the real growth engine of the smartphone market, which right now is Android, it’s low-priced phones in China and India, same thing on the tablets. ~ Henry Blodget, CNBC, 3 January 2013

If Apple products remain expensive the company’s penetration rates will hit a brick wall sooner or later. ~ Ishfaque Faruk, Motley Fool , 26 October 2013

I have been left disappointed by Apple’s decision not to release iPhone Lite as I thought this was the most important product for Apple to stop its marketshare decline. ~ Sneha Shah, Seeking Alpha, 25 October 2013

Apple’s already lost. Samsung has taken over the global market share in terms of smartphones and tablets ~ Porter Bibb, venture capitalist, 14 March 2013

These pundits couldn’t have gotten it more wrong.

First, Apple DID NOT lower their prices and their market share has gone UP in important markets such as the United States And Japan.


It’s looking possible Apple will sell more iPhones than Samsung sells Androids this quarter. ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans)

Second, Samsung followed the pundits advice, lowered their prices…and lost market share anyway.


It appears that Samsung has been cutting prices in order to maintain market share but has lost market share anyway ~ via Charles Arthur, The Guardian


The fetish with Market Share is bizarre. Market share times margins equals profits. Market share and margins are the means. Profit is the end. Market share doesn’t mean a thing if it doesn’t lead to more profits and a better platform.

For example, Sony recently announced that it has been improving its smartphone market share in Western Europe and Japan…and is projecting a £1.3 billion loss.

For what hath a man profited, if he shall gain a whole bunch of market share, and loseth his own shirt? ~ John 09:12

Bill Shamblin explains:

More than a 1-to-1 ratio of profit share to market share demonstrates a company’s ability to differentiate its products, provide more value than its competitors, command higher prices, charge a premium and enjoy pricing power.

Less than a 1-to-1 ratio of profit share to market share demonstrates that a company is buying market share; that the company has not been able to differentiate its product in the market and is likely competing primarily on price.

Pricing to gain market share simply for the sake of market share is a chump’s game. ~ Bill Shamblin

Market share is not the sine qua non of business — profit is. In football terms, market share is the yardage, profits are the points. In baseball terms, market share is the number of hits, profits are the number of runs. In hockey terms, market share is the number of shots on net, profits are the number of goals. Market share, like yardage, hits, and shots, are a necessary means but profits, like points, runs, and goals, are the end. Pretending otherwise for even one second borders on the inane. Continuing to stubbornly believe such rubbish borders on the insane.

To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one’s thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one’s mind and to evict oneself from the realm of reality. ~ Ayn Rand



If I had to name just one thing that the pundits got wrong about about Samsung and Apple, it would be their myopic focus on hardware (sometimes called “innovation”) comparisons.

Samsung’s hardware was better, they said. Samsung was out innovating Apple, they said. Samsung was on the rise and Apple was all-but-dead, they said.

(T)he Galaxy S II is remarkably easy to summarize. It’s the best Android smartphone yet, but more importantly, it might well be the best smartphone, period. ~ Vlad Savov, Engadget, 28 April 2011

(I)ncreasingly gadget fiends are tossing away their iPhone 4S to drool over the new Samsung Galaxy S3. ~ Patrick Barkham, The Guardian, 9 August 2012

Samsung has not only surpassed Apple in sales, it’s out-innovating Apple. ~ Edward Zabitsky, ACI Research, 21 Dec 2012

(C)ompetitors have caught up with the iPhone. Some reviewers think Samsung’s new phone is superior to Apple’s latest phone. ~ Henry Blodget, Business Insider, 4 January 2013

We are afraid that Apple has lost its ground in the smartphone arms race against Samsung Electronics. ~ Daniel Kim, Macquarie Equities Research, 15 January 2013

What [Samsung] are doing is they’re innovating faster. just the pace that they’re coming out with [products] is so much faster ~ Gene Munster, Piper Jaffray, 12 March 2013

The competition is increasing its lead over Apple. Samsung’s S5 seems to have enjoyed a strong launch, outstripping the iPhone 5S launch for which Apple bulls were prepared to declare a national holiday. ~ Michael Blair, Seeking Alpha, 4 May 2014

Samsung DOES make superb hardware. But how has all that supposed hardware superiority worked out for them?


By focusing on hardware alone, the pundits totally ignored software and — even more — they totally ignored hardware/software integration. Judging a smartphone by hardware alone is like judging a sailboat by the boat alone. The size, shape and design of the boat is important, but the sails make the boat go. Similarly, the size, shape and design of the phone is important, but it is the software that puts the “smart” in smartphone.

As Ben Thomson put it:

Software Matters – For years analysts treated all computers the same, regardless of operating system, and too many do the same thing for phones. … (Y)ou cannot do any serious sort of analysis about Apple specifically without appreciating how they use software to differentiate their hardware. … (M)any people buy iPhones (and Macs) because of the operating system that they run. … Not grokking this fact is at the root of almost all of the Apple-is-doomed narrative. … (And) for the high end buyer app quality matters as well, and here iOS remains far ahead of Android. ~ Ben Thompson

Here is a video (via Abdel Ibrahim (@abdophoto) of The Tech Block) of Steve Jobs explaining that the iPod is just software in a beautiful box.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: When I see a video link, I generally skip it. But I highly encourage you to follow the link and watch at least the first 90 seconds of the video. I think you’ll find it worth your while.

Some professional reviewers may have voted for the Samsung hardware while declaring Samsung more innovative, but the only reviewers that count — the buyers — voted with their dollars, and when it came to premium phones, they voted 3-to-1 in favor of the iPhone.



The real game changers in the S4 are Samsung’s pace of innovation and the platform it is creating to challenge Apple in this crucial area of innovation – platform economics. ~ Haydn Shaughnessy, Forbes, 18 March 2013

Samsung is innovating on ‘platform economics’? Wow. How wrong could one be? Samsung is currently suffering precisely because it has no platform to help differentiate its products. Samsung’s lack of platform makes it the polar opposite of Apple. Which reminds me of an awful, awful joke:

Samsung’s profits.

No, that THAT awful joke. This awful joke:

Question: Why couldn’t the polar bear get along with the penguin?

Answer: They were polar opposites.


There is an illusion that the current lopsided shipment market share is irrelevant. This idea is completely false. Losing market share is almost always never a good sign. Android is roasting Apple and if things keep going the way they are, Apple will be toast. ~ Alvin Gonzales, Motley Fool, 21 Dec 2012

That was written in 2012 and it got it exactly wrong. Android currently runs on two times as many devices as iOS. TWO TIMES. But it is Samsung, not Apple that is getting roasted.

Sooner or later that [market share discrepancy] ought to make a difference. ~ John Gaffney ‏(@jfpgaffney)

And there it is. Your faith based argument:

“Sure, Apple’s App store is doing okay now — BUT JUST YOU WAIT! Once Android has more market share than iOS, the tide will turn.

Okay, okay, Android has more market share than iOS and the developers haven’t flocked to the Google Play store…yet. BUT JUST YOU WAIT. Once Android has a super-majority, iOS is doomed.

Okay, okay, Android now has twice as many handsets in the wild as does iOS and the Apple App store just keeps growing stronger every day. BUT JUST YOU WAIT! Sooner or later the weight of Android’s market share ought to make a difference.


The bedrock theory upon which the Church of Marketshare is founded, is that the platform with the most market share wins. And that theory is demonstrably wrong.

The great tragedy…the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact. ~ T.H. Huxley


Absolute numbers matter more than share (percentages).

As of June (2014 there were 886,580,000 iOS devices sold. 1 Billion sold will happen well before this year is out. Horace Dediu (@asymco)

One billion units is hardly niche.

Absolute numbers matter more than percentages – While it’s natural to talk about market size as a percentage, the absolute size is just as important. In the case of Apple, for example, the fact they “only” had 15.5% percent of the market in 2013 is less important for understanding the iPhone’s viability than is the fact they sold 153.4 million iPhones. That is more than enough to support the iOS ecosystem, percentages be damned. ~ Ben Thompson


The collective development opportunities made possible by the fact that Android is Open Source will see to that. (What will) matter to the mobile application developer (is that) there are eight or ten Android handsets shipped for every iPhone. Addressable market will again trump elegance. ~ Brian Prentice, Gartner, 21 September 2009

That’s flat out wrong. Always has been. Always will be.

Developers don’t care about people who spend time on the platform. They care about people who spend on the platform. Platforms aren’t a democracy. It’s not one vote per person. It’s one vote per dollar, and each person is free to vote as often as they can afford to do so.


Perhaps you’re thinking of Metcalf’s law. Metcalf’s law says that the more people you have on a network, the more valuable that network becomes.

Android and iOS are platforms. Nowadays, the internet is the network. Don’t conflate the two. iOS can remain closed and still communicate with the rest of the world via the internet.

There’s something problematic in the idea that platforms with 1.5 billion users and 100 billion+ 3rd party apps installed are ‘closed’. ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) April, 2014


There is a striking difference between the two companies though, Apple produces their own hardware and software, they collect all the money whereas Google licenses out the software and occasionally gets in on the manufacturing of a device. iOS is a closed system, Android is open-source and if history proves to be right time and time again then I’m sure that Android will end up winning the battle. ~ Ash Anderson, Motley Fool, 21 Dec 2012

Once Steve Jobs goes away, which is probably not far away, then Apple will have to make a strategic decision on whether to open up the platform. Ultimately a closed system just can’t go that far … If they continue to close it and let Android continue to creep up then it’s pretty difficult as I see it. ~ Patrick Lo, CEO, Netgear, 31 January 2011

That’s the theory of “Open”. These are the facts.

The Apple App Store has now paid out over 20 billion dollars to developers, half of that in the last 12 months.


The Apple App Store has paid out 10 billion dollars to developers in the past year. During that same time, Google has paid out 5 billion.


In other words, Apple has half the users that Android has but pays out twice as much to developers. That means that an Apple user is worth four times more than an Android user to developers or, conversely, that it takes four Android users to equal one Apple user.

A sobering thought: in order for Google to match Apple’s iOS revenue with Android, they would need 3.6 billion Android users. ~ Ari Najarian (@stickbyatlas) 6/27/14

Arguing that the Android market share is going to sink the iOS platform is like arguing that the Titanic is going to sink the iceberg.


The difference in payout between iOS and Android is telling in a whole different way too. We used to think that Android engagement averages were much lower because there were so many more Android users. It was assumed that high-end Android users were worth as much to Android as high-end iOS users were worth to Apple. The numbers tell us that this is not so.

There are roughly the same number of high-end Android and iOS users. Yet the total payout over the past 12 months was 5 billion for Android and 10 billion for iOS. This means that Android engagement numbers are not lower because of all the low-end users. It means, instead, that high-end Android users act very differently than high-end iOS users.

Either the Apple App Store motivates the high-end user to spend more or the high-end user chooses the Android platform because they want to spend less. Neither bodes well for Android developers.


The Prophets of the Church Of Market Share have had it wrong all along. Market share does not draw developers to a platform. Dollars draw developers to a platform.

And the strength of a platform is not dependant upon the number of users. It is dependant upon the amount those users spend.



Android now commands 80% of the smartphone O/S market and over 50% of the tablet O/S market. Apple, which pioneered the touch screen smartphones and tablets, finds itself increasingly becoming a niche premium player. ~ Sneha Shah, Seeking Alpha, 16 January 2014

Shah treats the role of the premium provider as though it were that of a vulgar street walker.

As the mobile phone market increasingly offers more quality phones at a range of price points, Apple now faces a difficult choice. Does it try to remain a premium product-premium price company, or does it dive into the commoditized lower priced arena? Neither choice is very appealing. ~ Bob Chandler, Motley Fool, 2 May 2013

Why does Chandler think that choosing between being a premium provider and a low-cost provider is difficult? If you can make the choice, premium is the obvious choice to make.

In the fourth quarter of 2013, Apple sold 64% of all the premium smartphones in the U.S. That number will grow in the the fourth quarter of 2014. Yet pundits seem to treat the premium sector as a ghetto that must be avoided at all costs.

Presuming all decisions are based on price is the easiest way to mispredict the future. ~ Ben Thompson (@monkbent)

The pundits seem wholly incapable of understanding two simple facts. First, Apple WANTS to be the premium provider. They are targeting that market. Second, Apple will not pursue additional market share if it endangers their position as the sector’s premium provider.

This is such heresy to the priests of the Church of Market Share that they simply cannot grok it.

The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see. ~ Ayn Rand

Yet it is the norm everywhere in every market! There isn’t a good or service that doesn’t have a premium and a low-end sector and, as a general rule, the premium sector is the place to be.


Samsung makes some truly lovely high-end phones, but by selling a million, bazillion, gazillion mid-tier and low-end phones too, their brand has become diluted.

If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times: Resist hyperbole. ~ William Safire

No one mentions of “Samsung” and “premium” in the same breath.


High end buys iPhones. Low end cares only about price. No middle. There.~ Ben Thompson (@monkbent)

Samsung sells high, mid, and low-end phones — which is exactly what the pundits have been urging Apple to do — and Samsung is paying dearly for it. Samsung is losing the high-end to Apple. They are losing the low-end to Xiaomi and others. They’re trapped in the wholly undifferentiated and wholly indefensible middle.

Two Ways To Grow

There were two ways for Apple to broaden its ecosystem – take a chunk of the mid-range or take another chunk of the high-end. ~ Benedict Evans (@BenedictEvans) 9/11/14

Clearly, Apple has chosen the latter. Unlike Samsung, Apple doesn’t WANT to corner the phone market. They want to corner the PREMIUM phone market.

If you want to catch trout, don’t fish in a herring barrel. ~ Ann Landers

And they’re doing it, too. The new iPhone is a direct assault on that part of the premium market still being controlled by Samsung.

(W)ith the iPhone 6 and iOS 8, Apple has done its best to close off all the reasons to buy high-end Android beyond simple personal preference. You can get a bigger screen, you can change the keyboard, you can put widgets on the notification panel (if you insist) and so on. Pretty much all the external reasons to choose Android are addressed – what remains is personal taste. ~ Benedict Evans

Apple Is Doomed Anyway

“Apple is screwed” – 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. ~ Sammy the Walrus IV (@SammyWalrusIV)

None of what I’ve said will deter the High Priests of The Church Of Market Share from continuing to predict Apple’s doom. If the facts disprove their theory in the here-and-now, they simply fall back upon irrefutable prophesies that will only occur in the here-in-after.

Faith is an oasis in the heart which will never be reached by the caravan of thinking. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Apple’s lack of market share will be their doom, they say. It is going to happen, they say. All we have to do is patiently wait for the day that is sure to come, they say.

CAPTION: Waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting and…

And what the hey, while we’re waiting, we can always have some fun by twisting every story into anti-Apple FUD:

“Is Samsung Sales Disaster Bad for Apple?” ~ an actual headline

Well, of course Samsung’s problems are bad news for Apple. All news is bad news for Apple…in accordance with the prophecy!

My only hope is that the pundits who told Apple to be more like Samsung, shorted Apple and invested heavily in Samsung. That would be some schadenfreude that I could really get behind.

The best way to convince a fool that he is wrong is to let him have his own way. ~ Josh Billings

John Kirk

John R. Kirk is a recovering attorney. He has also worked as a financial advisor and a business coach. His love affair with computing started with his purchase of the original Mac in 1985. His primary interest is the field of personal computing (which includes phones, tablets, notebooks and desktops) and his primary focus is on long-term business strategies: What makes a company unique; How do those unique qualities aid or inhibit the success of the company; and why don’t (or can’t) other companies adopt the successful attributes of their competitors?
  • Defendor

    A tour-de-force entry John.

    Since I have long considered pundits trailing indicators, at best, I tend to ignore them so I really didn’t think much about them with the latest turn of events.

    Though I did experience Schadenfreude at Samsungs expense. I followed the copying lawsuit and I don’t think their can be much doubt that they blatantly copied everything about the iPhone when launching their line of smartphones, right down the the packaging. So I am quite happy to see their fortunes turn sour. Doubly so when they are being pressured from below by people copying their designs, and they have Apple’s new iPhone in direct competition with their most profitable big phones (Galaxy S and Galaxy Note). Leaving Samsung with the non-existent middle.

    Sucks to be Samsung right now, and IMO, they deserve it.

    • FalKirk

      “A tour-de-force entry John” – Defendor

      Thanks so much. You’re a straight shooter, so those words really mean a lot to me.

    • creeper

      I’m currently at war with an older Samsung phone and a Tab 2 tablet. You’re right. They DO deserve it.

  • obarthelemy

    I’m a bit puzzled… Samsung’s flagships prices haven’t been going down, actually they’re sharply up for the Note series (550€ for the “1” to 750 for the “4”; and also is more than $100 than the S series, and the Note Edge is even more expensive), and very slightly up for the S series.

    • Stevie Jobso

      Selling at high prices doesn’t necessarily mean that is a premium product. If you sell at premium price for a mediocre device, what will happen?Yes. People are not going to buy it.

    • Kizedek

      I’m a bit puzzled: I’m not sure why you’re “puzzled” since you posted a very similar comment on Asymco at least 24 hours before your above comment.

      And you received a reply there before posting the one above here. The reply was to the effect that there are lots of promo deals and offers for Samsung devices, and “everyone knows the list prices are just for show”.

      You immediately reply, again before posting above, that “Indeed, Samsung prices are not that steady, and they run promotions permanently.” But, you hasten to add, you haven’t seen any particular rise in promotions lately.

      In fact, you said, you are currently looking for a deal on a tablet, one which you call “woefully overpriced”. Yes, you and every other Android customer are looking for a promo deal.

      Isn’t that rather the point? Y’all find Android devices “woefully overpriced” for the value you receive; and still, after months or years of this back and forth, you continue to profess to be absolutely amazed that Apple customers don’t feel the same way about the even more expensive Apple products? Project much?

      And you wonder why people consider you a troll?

      • art hackett

        They used to be called BOGOF deals in Oz (buy one, get one free), but I think they’re given away with TVs and washing machines now.

        • klahanas

          That may suck for Samsung, but how is that a bad thing for the buyer?

          • art hackett

            Uh, don’t they get a Samsung or similar?

          • abazigal

            Lower profits may mean less resources to spend on R&D, which means that smartphones may stop innovating in newer features barring faster specs, much less new features that actually work properly. It would be something like the PC market all over again, where everyone was simply competing on price and specs, with very little differentiate them.

          • klahanas

            If you think the PC market is undifferentiated, then you’re not looking. Simply, there are tiers of pricing based on capabilities. In each tier there is competition and pricing is minimized. There are tangible differences in experience between machines of different tiers.
            As far as R&D goes, if the OEM’s don’t do it, the component suppliers will. OEM’s spend far more on the D side of the equation. Look at the advent of SSD’s or evolution of CPU’s for instance.

          • abazigal

            Problem is, that’s advancement in terms of specs only. Sure, processors will get faster, storage cheaper, but what about more specialized use cases. For example, if I want a secure enclave on my processor chip to store the user’s fingerprint on, the only option is to design it yourself. No manufacturer is going to bother researching such a niche feature until all mobile devices suddenly decide they want to adopt fingerprint scanners.

            And Apple is able to do this precisely because their higher margins makes this sort of R&D possible. The end result is that are able to define the user experience they want their customers to have, then work backwards and make that experience a reality.

          • klahanas

            It also helps that Apple wisely purchased the component suppliers that make these things.

          • Mark Jones

            If the buyer plans to use it for a short time (so isn’t expecting upgrades), doesn’t need problem-solving support, and refuses to let her/himself get locked-in to Samsung’s own hardware/services (so he can easily switch), then I agree it’s not a bad thing for the buyer.

            Anecdote disclaimer: My co-worker (who switched from Mac to PC years ago) bought a Samsung Galaxy Tab for cheap; I think it was $149. After about a year of getting more laggy, he found it unusable due to both hardware and software random locking up/reboot issues. Never got it satisfactorily resolved; it went into a drawer and he’s sworn off tablets. He still has a Samsung smartphone.

          • klahanas

            You’re fair and level headed as always. True, why would anyone want to buy from locked-in services? On the Samsung, or on any Android device, you’re not obligated to buy from anyone in particular. Not even Google! You can shop from a multitude of stores, or even from developers websites, just like on a PC.

            That’s flat out impossible on Apple though.

            Your co-worker got a dirt cheap tablet, and got what they paid for. I personally have four Android tablets (A Note Pro 12.2, A Tab S 8.2, One Nexus 7, One Nexus 10) and they work great. (And they all run Flash). 😉

          • Mark Jones

            As I’ve implied before, like any relationship, being locked-in requires trust in the other to do what is best for you over the long haul. For millions of consumers, Apple has built up that trust over time (largely by delivering on the first two items I mentioned). And if you have that trust, there is incredible sense of freedom.

            But if you’re unsure, just like on the Galaxy, one can still use third-party services on iPhone.

          • klahanas

            It absolutely requires trust. An even better situation is “trust not required”. Good if it’s been earned, but not necessary. You then can always walk away easier.

          • Mark Jones

            Not sure I’d agree that that’s a better situation, but this is likely subjective. For me, it’s worse to have to keep walking away because upgrades and support are lacking.

          • informed

            I cannot think of a single situation, inside or outside of tech, where “trust not required” exists. Whether its a candy bar or piece of furniture, trust is essential. The “needs” of any consumer who buys with ignorant bliss is not worthy of consideration in any discussion.

          • klahanas

            I’m more comfortable with informed skepticism being a substitute for trust in a buyer/seller relationship. Like your name btw.

          • informed

            klahanas, as a longtime lurker, I’ve admired the way you hold your own in the devil’s advocate department. Not sure I could remain as restrained if I ventured into hostile territory as often as you. The name is a nick I used to use when I berated the over-the-top PLEASE-get-off-my-side folks at MacDailyNews. I was eventually banished. Nice to put it to use again. Mr. Kirk’s articles have been a source of joy since I first discovered them.

          • klahanas

            Thank you. You’re very kind.

      • Mark Jones

        Watch out, Kizedek, next thing he’ll say is that you’re calling him names, and being peevish…

  • klahanas

    Excellent job. You even had me engaged, and I don’t really care too much about these pesky business things.

    If things come to pass as you’re indicating, for me, the Linux phone couldn’t come soon enough.

    • aardman

      Who said it that human beings have the uncanny ability to simultaneously believe in two diametrically opposed ideas? Can one be truly engaged about something they don’t care much for? Apparently yes! 🙂

      And the foregoing, by the way, is the reason why I think a computer, no matter how powerful, can never ever fully replicate and replace the human brain (mind?).

      • klahanas

        Well one can still acknowledge the importance of things that they personally aren’t interested. The author made it interesting. I may not like country music, but once in a while a gem appears.

        As far as computers not replicating the human mind, I TOTALLY agree. They are a tool, nothing more.

      • In data, “bits are bits”.
        In the brain, “physical bits are physical bits”.
        While they may be difficult to replicate now, I am confident we will eventually match and exceed their “physical bit” capabilities.
        Thereafter the challenge is in number of bits and most important the richness of their interconnection.
        I’ll admit that all this still beggars the question of brain forming mind (but I don’t see/believe-in a non-physical explanation.)

        • aardman

          Oh, I don’t believe in a non-physical explanation either. But how do you explain the brain generating desire, disgust, sympathy, and other “illogical” motivators without the ability to experience physical and psychological pain and pleasure? I have no idea how a densely bundled circuit can be made to feel pain and pleasure, so I remain skeptical that a computer can ever replicate and replace the human brain. In truth, I don’t even see why we would want to do that.

          Okay, I’ve dragged this off-topic far enough. Sorry. This is my last post about this.

        • jfutral

          Do you really think an AI will be capable of cognitive dissonance?


        • mhikl

          Nathan, are you presuming that the mind is local to the brain? None locality of consciousness is gaining greater credence and that is not something to be replicated by machine ever, should it be proven true.
          Regardless, both non-local consciousness and the mechanical mind are interesting subjects of dreams and possibilities.
          Namaste and care,

  • Another barn burner, John. Well done. And that video is important for those that simply refuse to think about what is going on. And it’s from 2007!

    • FalKirk

      Thank you for the nice comment and I especially appreciate your thoughts on the video.

  • obarthelemy

    I’m amazed by Benedict Evans. Either he’s of absolute bad faith, or he just doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
    “(W)ith the iPhone 6 and iOS 8, Apple has done its best to close off all the reasons to buy high-end Android beyond simple personal preference. You can get a bigger screen, you can change the keyboard, you can put widgets on the notification panel (if you insist) and so on. Pretty much all the external reasons to choose Android are addressed – what remains is personal taste. ~ Benedict Evans”
    That’s just utterly false. There still are boatloads of features that are only available on Android or on certain Androids: pen input, larger or smaller sizes, removable/XL batteries, rugged or water-resistant phones, NFC, … Even of what he lists, Apple’s widgets are a misnomer, nowhere near Android’s. You can’t customize the iOS keyboards anywhere near Android’s, you can get a bigger screen (even in a smaller phone, bezels suck), etc etc…
    These may be important or not, but to just take Apple list of catch-up features, misinterpret it, and conclude “well, that’s it”, it beyond ridiculous.

    • klahanas

      I almost commented on Evans’ quote, but he’s not the author of this article. It is fair game, however, since he got quoted.

      The additions to iOS “borrowed” from Android are even more significant than “slide to unlock”. I don’t object to this “borrowing” though. These kinds of things shouldn’t even be patentable. At most, it’s about trade dress. What gets me most are double standards, when it’s okay for one and not the other. If pundits are to be viewed critically, as they should, pro-Apple pundits should be viewed critically as well.

      But you’re absolutely right! Apple could never come up with the hardware diversity that several companies can provide. No one can. Software diversity is intentionally restricted too, so the kinds of widgets and how they can be used and placed is more limited too.

      • Me

        You have issues with reading and comprehension. Your Android advantages are laughable and the market is proving that out. You are even unaware that the iPhone 6 has NFC and Apple is going to make it sucked where it has failed on Android.

        • klahanas

          I’m sorry. As you say, I have comprehension issues. Is English your second language?

          “going to make it sucked…”
          What does that even mean?

          • Kizedek

            Succeed. I think Siri or whatever is doing the predictive text in iOS has not caught up with the fact that NFC doesn’t have to suck now that Apple has found a way to make it succeed and not suck.

          • klahanas

            I did get it. I was responding to the insult.
            I wasn’t aware that NFC sucked.
            It may be anecdotal, but you can see how silly it may seem that something sucks until Apple does it. NFC done right, “Big” done right, unlaunched watches being the best, etc. Tomato Tomahto…

          • Kizedek

            And I should have put a smiley face. Still, I would use NFC now, whereas I wouldn’t before, because Apple’s implementation uses unique tokens and does not transmit the CC number, etc.

            So, yes, when Apple does something, it tends to suck less, and even succeed where others have failed. And no, that doesn’t seem silly, because Apple does its homework, lays a good foundation, gets all the pieces in place, and then executes strongly. That’s only silly to people who think Apple is all about marketing hype or something. I find it rather silly for you to spend time here and still think Apple doesn’t have a different process of how it goes about things, with results that differ wildly from others who try “the same things”, before or after.

          • klahanas

            I will grant you that Apple does their homework well. In that regard I wish they were copied more.

            That has never been my objection with them. You know my objections very well.
            I won’t repeat them.

            Tokenization is not something they own. If it’s better it will fine broader use. If Apple becomes a popularized of NFC I presume my Android devices will work too.

          • Kizedek

            I am sure they will work, too. And I’m sure Google will know where, when and what you purchased, and how much you paid.

          • art hackett

            The tide will also reveal the non floaters.

    • Glaurung-Quena

      “That’s just utterly false. There still are boatloads of features that are only available on Android or on certain Androids:”

      Have you read Evans’ original column? Because if you have, you give no signs of having understood it. Evans is *not* saying that Apple has covered every edge case of personal preference. Obviously for some people removable batteries or SD cards or what have you are a deal-breaker. (and from the other direction for some people being forced to use an ugly phone or to give Google access to their personal data is a deal-breaker). But Evans’ argument is that the overall number of people who care about such things is small. In comparison, bigger screens is a massive draw for many people. Custom keyboards and customizable widgets are a draw for a sizable number of geeks. Evans concludes that Apple’s new phones and new OS have covered most of the “big ticket” differences that were causing them to lose significant numbers of customers to Android.

    • FalKirk

      “I’m amazed by Benedict Evans. Either he’s of absolute bad faith, or he just doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” – obarthelemy

      I assure you it’s neither. Benedict Evans is one of the smartest and most even-handed observers of mobile tech.

      Perhaps I quoted Evans out of context. Or perhaps you are not taking in his full meaning. The point being made is that few will now feel they HAVE to go Android because there is something big missing in iOS. The big barriers have been removed. The things you mention in your post are exactly the kinds of things that are matters of personal taste. If you want them, go Android. If you don’t, you can choose to go either Android or iOS.

      • simon

        “Perhaps I quoted Evans out of context. Or perhaps you are not taking in his full meaning.”

        I don’t think you really realize who you’re replying to. obarthelemy has been doing it for years. Seemingly everywhere I go, he’s writing how limited, expensive, and vapid Apple products are.

    • abazigal

      You can call it anecdotal, but many of my friends who jumped ship from an iPhone to a Note 2 or 3 did so for the larger screen. Many of the other purported benefits remain unused. They don’t use expandable storage, or carry around spare batteries. I don’t think they even know their phones have NFC, or what it is. Their widget is probably still the default calendar widget which hardly gets used. I think one of my colleagues lost her stylus one fine day and never got round to replacing it because it simply didn’t seem that useful.
      Yes, Android phones may sport features the iPhone doesn’t have, but not all features are created equal. I don’t think those features you mentioned are the deal breakers you are making them out to be.

      • art hackett

        I’m still of the opinion that only certain types of people deliberately buy “android”. The rest can’t tell the difference or believe they have a cheaper iDevice. Once the rest have tried to make their cheapo device do stuff and give up in frustration (I’m sick of people asking me why their phone or pad doesn’t do what they want), they could well become apple customers.

        • abazigal

          It’s not that bad. My friends basically use their Android smartphones as a larger-screened iPhone. Facebook, youtube, whatsapp, the basic stuff. Only there seems to be more hiccups. Like not being able to figure out how to set up their mail account when they had no problems setting up theirs in ios. One colleague claims her gmail is randomly eating up selective emails because she is not receiving them. Another wonders why Touchwiz doesn’t seem to sport a unified design (some apps have the search bar at the top while others sport theirs at the bottom). One tried to show me photos, but it took 3 taps before the gallery app launched, the preview thumbnails took forever to render, and scrolling was laggy.
          And all throughout, we see one culprit. Touchwiz. Which for them, is for all intents and purposes, Android.

          • art hackett

            And people accuse apple of “marketing”. Why not buy one of the quality alternatives like htc or Sony? Obviously sucked in by their marketing bs and spiteful ads.

          • abazigal

            The easy answer is that at one time, the only ‘real’ choices was either an iPhone or a Note or S3, depending on whether you preferred iOS or Android. My telcos were also pushing these high-end Samsung phones pretty hard, and other alternatives like HTC were consigned to some less visible corner in the store. For a time, even the tech section of my local newspaper covered Samsung smartphones almost exclusively (and positioning them as the anti-iPhone), and paid little attention to other smaller brands.

            So these other companies simply didn’t have the mindshare (and arguably, the marketing budget) to compete with Samsung. Though I would argue that HTC also did themselves in with their horrible ads starring Robert Downing Junior.

          • klahanas

            Bullseye! When my Galaxy S5 was recently stolen, guess what, it was replaced by a LG G3. Samsung isn’t automatic.

            On the other hand, I did pre-order a Note 4, which I’m picking up on Friday. I carry two phones.

          • art hackett

            You’re lucky the theif didn’t find you beat you up for not having a worthwhile phone to steal. Imagine his embarrassment when he discovered what he actually had.

          • klahanas

            Ha! He was on a bicycle and snatched it right out of my hands as he was riding. See what happens when you can run “Flash”?

            Next time I’m in that neighborhood, I’m going to buy a toy phone, coat it in dog poo. and hope the same thief snatches it. They might think it’s an iPhone! 🙂

    • undoubtable

      I would take the “pretty much” as meaning that “pen input, larger or smaller sizes, removable/XL batteries, rugged or water-resistant phones, NFC,” are not at all important in the market. In which case he is almost undoubtably correct.

    • kgelner

      “There still are boatloads of features that are only available on Android or on certain Androids: ”
      Oh really?

      “pen input” – There are a number of third party pens now, some pressure sensitive… not everyone needs or wants a pen so why should everyone pay for one?

      “larger or smaller sizes”

      Between the iPhone 5 ranging from 6 to 6 plus, Apple has all popular sizes covered.

      “removable/XL batteries” which you don’t need in a 6 Plus because the battery lasts for a long time already, and doesn’t fail after a few months as many Android phone batteries do.

      “rugged or water-resistant phones”

      It’s called a case man, I’ve shot many an underwater video with my iPhone.

      “NFC”- Surely you are joking, or did you REALLY not yet read anything about ApplePay support on the iPhone 6/plus? Do you think that works over carrier pigeon?

    • tech01xpert

      No one cares for the general stack that is NFC. Apple is only using a small part of NFC for a specific reason and even that part is re-engineered for better security. NFC rolled out with serious security problems for payment systems and Apple wasn’t going to be a part of that. Apple Pay requires significant support from the credit card vendors, payment gateways, merchants, and banks. Obviously that’s not the same thing as just sticking the NFC hardware and software stack onto an iPhone. It is significantly different from Google Wallet and other NFC based payment schemes including being both more secure from an overall transaction perspective and more private – no need for Google or Apple to know the details of my credit card transaction history.

      Pen input – very few people care. You can buy a pen for an iPhone if you wish. Compromising the case for batteries is again putting supposed features ahead of usability. If battery life was such an issue that 5-10 hours is not enough, then you can get external battery cases and external batteries. For the vast majority of people, an iPhone has more than enough battery life for a day and the phone is better for it.

      A lot of people ask for MicroSD slot. That’s a real pain in the *ss to manage from a software perspective, so it ends up being far less useful – plus, try getting a SDXC card that can read at 225 megabytes/sec and write at 80+ megabytes/sec. That’s the current NAND speed in an iPhone 6. Yeah, we’re talking SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II to beat those speeds. That’s around $225 for 64GB.

      Apple is interested in delivering features that matter. Features that enable people, not just sit on a spec sheet and are rarely successfully used.

      • klahanas

        A very sober and pragmatic response. I do disagree with SD cards though. If DOS could use floppies, and other external storage, I expect a modern device to be able to do the same thing.

        You’re right about the speed difference between NAND and external SD. But that’s not the point for SD. I keep my entire music library on SD, leaving my internal NAND unaffected, not relying on the cloud, and I can easily migrate amongst phones/tablets. External storage is also a great place to keep GPS maps, for when there is no connectivity.

        • JKL

          iOS can use floppies and other external storage. You know this.

          • klahanas

            I responded to “it’s a pain for the OS to manage”

  • Space Gorilla

    Congrats, this article is going to make the anti-Apple crowd hysterical.

    • Mark Langston

      Whenever I see FanDroids talk about how much higher-res Samsung’s screens are it’s clear that they’re holding onto the last strands of fledging debate. I also love the “iOS 8 is playing catch-up” argument too.

      So in their world if Samsung is Usain Bolt and Apple is the unknown sprinter gaining ground on his left, isn’t that bad for Bolt? You don’t catch up to Bolt, you get left behind watching him taunt you and wink at the crowd as he takes first place.

      Arguing specs is futile but it’s all they have left.

      • klahanas

        That only matters if you’re set on rooting for a winner. In that sense it’s fandom, not tech.

        • aardman

          Second the motion. We’ve been able to leave out juvenile words like “iSheep” and “Fandroids” from this site, let’s keep it that way.

      • FalKirk

        Klahanas makes a good point in his comment, below. We try to avoid certain language here and keep the discussion above board. Of course, you’re hearing this from a guy who loves to use snark to poke fun at people. 🙂 But on the whole, its best to make our points without name calling. Thanks!

        • Brian M. Monroe

          I agree 100% and that is one of the reasons why I am sure many of us like to visit Tech.pinions as normally the discussions are kept respectful. Of course there are going to be disagreements as there are many different ways to look at many issues that are discussed here but it is important that everyone feels welcome here.

      • klahanas

        You didn’t have to retract it!
        I was just trying to keep things equitable.
        Apology accepted. I’m sorry if that caused you any angst.

      • klahanas

        You didn’t have to retract it!
        I was just trying to keep things equitable.
        Apology accepted. I’m sorry if that caused you any angst.

        • Mark Langston

          Humility is an uncommon animal on the internet these days so I felt it was necessary to retract my earlier comments.

          Civil disputes and rational thinking is one of things that draws me to this site and the last thing I want to do is violate the silent rule of the “mature adults only club” conversation.

    • art hackett

      What do you mean, make them hysterical? There’s more hysterical?

      • klahanas

        Head over to Macdailynews and have a look.

    • klahanas

      You want to see hysterics?

      Just bring up John Sculley, Henry Blodgett, John Dvorak, Robert Scoble, Jason Chen/Gawker, Mike Daisey, Australia, the EU, Adobe, Samsung, Google, MICROSOFT, etc…

      That doesn’t begin to cover it! 🙂
      Those that live in glass houses…

      • hysterical

        You might be confusing hysterics with hysterical laughter.

        • klahanas

          In unison, for sure…

      • Space Gorilla

        There’s no glass house here, or double standard. It’s just you bitching and moaning endlessly about Apple.

  • Glaurung-Quena

    “Yet it is the norm everywhere in every market! There isn’t a good or
    service that doesn’t have a premium and a low-end sector and, as a
    general rule, the premium sector is the place to be.”

    If that was true all the time, all car companies would be trying to be like Lamborghini. Whether you want to be premium or low-end depends — on the size of the market, on the distance between low end and premium, on how big and how viable the midrange is. With cars the high end is light years away from the low end. There are far more people who need to own a car but who cannot afford the high end. So luxury car companies make huge profits per sale, but their customer base is so small they remain relatively small businesses… while car companies that service those of more modest means with middle-low end cars sell huge numbers of cars (ignoring the current, self-inflicted doldrums of US car makers), allowing them to be huge corporations with the huge profits. Contrast with electronics, where the distance between high end and low end isn’t all that much. Worldwide maybe a billion-plus people can afford to buy a high end phone if they choose to do so.

    Whether a company wants to aim for the high end or not depends on a lot of thing, but one factor is the potential size of the high-end market. A tiny high end market will be very lucrative for a small company but not worth doing for a big corporation.

    Apple is in a weird position, vis-a-vis high end products. Apple has a brand with incredible prestige and aspirational cachet — so in the categories they sell to, their devices are the epitome of desirable high-end. But at the same time, they make and sell mostly affordable devices, at very modest mark-ups (for luxury items). A fashionable wealthy person who only wears the most prestigious brand names will probably have an iphone — and while everything else they are carrying or wearing will have sold for hundreds or thousands of times what it cost to make, their iphone will have sold for only three or four times what it cost to make, and might very easily be the single cheapest brand name item they have on them.

    • FalKirk

      I said that the premium sector was the place to be “as a general rule”. There are lots of exceptions, but they’re still exceptions, not the rule.

    • David Olson

      Apple has sold affordable high end. The Queen or the illuminati can’t buy a better phone. But perhaps this is changing and yet missed by the tech press’s fixation on Apple expanding their low end products.

      This is part of what I find interesting in the Apple watch. All their gear is premium but some Apple watches can sell for ten or twenty times the less expensive version. I wouldn’t be surprised to find this upper end differentiation to spread to other Apple product lines.

      In countries where there are subsidized phones, Apple already has the cheap phone for sale at zero dollars on contract. The bottom end is adequately covered. And this year Apple expands the high end with the 6 plus and many people have missed it. Perhaps soon they will expand the high end phones with jewelry options like a liquid metal case with sapphire crystal display.

      • aardman

        I would venture to say that buying an iPhone in the third world is like buying a Mercedes Benz in the first world. Maybe not a Mercedes Benz, perhaps a SubZero fridge.

        • Exactly. Baby steps. Even in places where the income disparity is even greater and people are generally worse off, the iPhone is like the first rung on the aspirational ladder and a status symbol. I might also point out that they don’t wring their hands over such things and get philosophical about it anywhere near as much as we do. Right or wrong, it simply exists. It’s why the Watch will just be a hit in China without all the punditry, analysis, and general bs we get on CNBC, the WSJ, and Forbes telling us how useless it is and how nobody will want one. I hope they’ll stop short of calling an entire country ‘stupid’ for buying such ‘useless’ products or ‘lazy’ because they don’t want to reach for their phone.

    • aardman

      I can easily visualize top management at Kia dreaming about being able to successfully break into the luxury car segment, but somehow I can’t imagine the execs at BMW aching for the day when they dominate the sub $15k econobox market. In fact you see the occasional low-to-middle end firm trying to move their brand upmarket but nobody ever goes the other way except when forced bycircumstances (such as failure to keep up with tech advances). So yes, the high end, all other things equal, does seem to be the preferred, or – shall I use it in a slightly different context? -the aspirational segment of the industry as seen from the point of view of the companies in it.

    • But your math doesn’t compute: Apple has the per-sale profits of luxury, while selling mass-market volumes. I like the way those multiply.

    • The point is margins, and profits. Can you make a profit with a non-premium product? Can Tata make reasonable profits in the US with a $2,500 plastic car? No. India? They’re all over the place.

  • Imagebloke b

    “TouchWiz? Please. Stop before I die laughing” LOL! I hve been complaining about Touchwiz for a long long time. I think it is a differentiator for the bad. Touchwiz is simple horrible!

  • Recision

    Add Reggie Jackson to the list of the wrong…

  • Alex Cumbers

    great fun, as always! I especially like the idea that having no or very few low end products, the Apple brand is not diluted and will always be considered premium. It’s been said a few times you can fit all Apple products on a kitchen table!

    • FalKirk

      Ben Thompson has made the point several times on his podcast that Coach increased their mid-tier sales by making their products more accessible but at the price of decreasing their position as a premium product.

      I think Apple targets the premium buyer because the premium buyer appreciates what Apple provides.

  • obarthelemy

    “What ruined Apple was not growth … They got very greedy … Instead of following the original trajectory of the original vision, which was to make the thing an appliance and get this out there to as many people as possible … they went for profits. They made outlandish profits for about four years. What this cost them was their future. What they should have been doing is making rational profits and going for market share.”
    S. Jobs.
    Now I have a headache.

    • FalKirk

      Apple doesn’t dominate the mobile market. They dominate the premium portion of the mobile market.

      You think you’ve got a headache, you should try being one of Apple manufacturing competitors. They, in toto, have to garner 85% of the remaining marketshare just to eek out 25% of the profits.

      • Glaurung-Quena

        “just to eek out 25% of the profits”

        Pedantic note: Eek is what you say when you see a mouse. The word you want is eke.

        • FalKirk

          Eek! Good note. Fixed.

          I wrote that comment late last night. Clearly I should have waited until morning. 🙂

          • art hackett

            I know the feeling. Also sometimes auto correct gets over excited.

      • You could argue that they stopped going only after profits once Jobs came back and that’s exactly how Apple got to where it is now. For his first 5 years back, Jobs killed hundreds of products, made sure he didn’t have to listen to a board going on about ‘shareholder value’ and focused like a laser on just a few beautiful ‘insanely great’ and innovative products. No person only after profits would have created Apple stores, but he saw that what he was trying to create was an emotional conversation and a ‘coveting’ of the Apple products and that is difficult to make happen over the web or in some corner of a Sears or CompUSA store. EVERYONE said he was insane to open stores and that it’d never work, but Jobs was focused only on his intuitive sense of what he ‘knew’ to be true about the products Apple was making and the kind of connection with the customer that they needed to sell those products. That kind of insight driving an entire company’s product strategy is rare, and I’d argue that many of the best companies are driven by such a vision (or the continuation of that vision/culture, such as a company like Disney). Even today, pundits are totally discounting the power of those Apple stores and their ability to ‘sell’ people on the Watch. The Apple store is a strategic front for the company like no other and is heavily discounted in the story of Apple’s success since the return of Steve Jobs.

        I remember my father, when he wanted a new computer for his commercial HVAC business, walked into an Apple store in 2005 and saw the first of those big screen, single unit white iMacs. He instantly wanted THAT in his office cause of its looks and it made a design statement and I think it made him feel successful even though he wouldn’t even be the one using it. Prior to that he couldn’t care less and any gray box would do. That’s the power of those stores, imho.

    • lucky

      Lucky they didn’t listen to that guy.

  • Mark Langston

    So what you’re telling me, Mr. Kirk, is that the financial advisory industry is a complete and total sham. That there are people out there making six-figure salaries spewing lies and misinformation on a consistent basis and are never disciplined for it.

    No doubt there are thousands if not millions of people who shorted Apple’s stock — losing thousands if not millions in stock earnings — after taking advice from one of these yahoos who thought that marketshare, without ANY supportive or factual information on marketshare equating to massive amounts of aftermarket revenue, was the be all, end all of Apple’s lack of a cheaper device to appeal to the Wal-Mart crowd.

    How can these people be so flippin’ wrong and still keep their jobs?!! Or are their words of little meaning or consequence? I’d like to think they do more than just spout anti-Apple sentiment all over the web but there are people you’ve been quoting that have been slaying Apple in the public eye for several years and they’re not held accountable at all.

    Just proves how messed up our system is that people are able to make such claims but who’s feet are never held to the fire.

    (I apologize if I’m a little dramatic. I’ve been binge watching “Arrow” on Netflix. Makes me want to don a green hood, crash through the window of one of these so-called financial analysts, arrow pointed at their laptop and say, “YOU HAVE FAILED THIS CIT…uh, APPLE STOCK PREDICTION!!!”)

    • “there are people out there making six-figure salaries spewing lies and misinformation on a consistent basis and are never disciplined for it.”

      Not quite.

      There are also plenty of people making seven- and eight-figure salaries as CEOs who are getting away with this, too. 😉

      The real question is, why do people keep listening to these fools when they’ve been proven wrong time after time after time?

      • art hackett

        Please see my reply to Mark. People just think I’m cynical, I think 2+2=4. On a tangential note, I think you’ll find that greed and/or stupidity will cover virtually every story on “the news”, not including natural disasters of course.

    • klahanas

      “I apologize if I’m a little dramatic…”
      You are “fan prone” aren’t you? 😉
      (Please take that as a friendly dig)

    • art hackett

      It’s hard to believe humans can be so consistently stupid and wrong, so the obvious answer is market manipulation, which I was under the impression was illegal. I guess it depends who you know or who you’re working for. To me, the stock market is Las Vegas and the house always wins. There are plenty of suckers and people to help remove their money.

    • aardman

      “So what you’re telling me, Mr. Kirk, is that the financial advisory industry is a complete and total sham.”

      Yes. It is mostly a sham. A big bad Blodgetian sham. At least the part that projects stock prices and makes recommendations to buy, hold or sell.

      You see, the business of recommending stocks faces an existential conundrum:

      If you are that good at predicting stock prices, why are you sharing your forecasts with other people? Why aren’t you playing the stock market instead and making boatloads of money?

      • I will say, for as much s*** as he gets (and I used to be one of those people, now I’m a convert and feel he gets s*** because he’s NOT towing the party line) Jim Cramer makes boatloads of money, his Action Alerts is based on his charitable trust, and he regularly gives sound advice. Even from a technical analysis position, which he often uses on his show, it all makes sense. He also points out the stupidity in the pe of Apple versus other companies, how dumb it is for analysts to go on tv and downgrade Disney and even suggest that Star Wars/Frozen 2 won’t make money (yes, CNBC actually had an analyst say this earlier in the week) and I made a ton of money on his Biogen recommendation a few days ago when he pointed out the market is so dumb right now that they haven’t priced in good news coming from a study on a new Alzheimer’s drug. He was right, the stock went up $35 on Friday even though everyone pretty much knew what was coming. And the Biogen rec was because he was, once again, stating the stupidity of the markets and the ‘geniuses’ on Wall Street in completely ignoring good news coming out ahead of pharma study releases or pretty much any company for that matter. He recommended that retail take advantage of this ‘know-it-all/unimpressed’ attitude, because it’s easy to spot successes that market makers keep missing.

        I’ve only been trading about 6 months now as a hobby and way to make extra money, but I’m pretty much flabbergasted at how biased, ignorant, uppity, and downright dangerous most of the people on Wall Street are. Collectively, in the short term, markets are a reflection of this obtuse, and reactionary version of stupidity and in the long-term, it’s why someone like Warren Buffett is one of the richest men on earth.

    • Kenny

      the Good thing about this Folks at Wall street is that unlike many of us here who just talking out of faith in a company they are voting with their Own Damn money.

      maybe you Guys outgh to do the same and put your money where your mouth is and convince everyone you know into buying Apple stock to become rich since you know something that wall street don’t

      • aardman

        “the Good thing about this Folks at Wall street is that unlike many of us here who just talking out of faith in a company they are voting with their Own Damn money.”

        No they are not. They are voting with other people’s money. The people who are voting with their money, and making tons more from it, aren’t sharing what they know.

        And I put my money where my mouth is. My AAPL holdings hover between four and five times my investment and assures me a comfortable retirement. Are you significantly invested in Samsung and Lenovo?

        • Kenny

          what do you mean by They are voting with other people’s money

          everyone is free to use their own savings, retirement funds and put it all in Apple stock to become rich as they see fit,

          as i said Wall street could care less about your love for Apple they only care about their money. hence if you know something that you think they don’t it is up to you to convince as much people as you can including all the folks in here to put all their money in Apple stock to become Rich,
          they’l Thank you for that.

      • I’ve been banking on this stupidity with options. First in at $106 in January, then sold after ER around $118. Still dumb, they let it go down to $115, so I bought there again. Sold once RSI was over 80 at around $131… got back in last Friday at $122.80, sold at $128 on Wednesday once RSI was high again. Now it’s dipping again and I’ll buy puts as it sinks to $120 or so. Then I’m going all in for next ER/round of buybacks after ER. Also holding commons ’til the end of time, but once you learn technical analysis, Apple is one of the easiest ways to benefit from these huge price swing while it inevitably marches upwards due to insane profits, insane buybacks, new products, and an increase in recurring revenue streams.

    • digitalclips

      Loved your post.

  • art hackett

    I take it that “premium android” is one of the jokes? Military intelligence, etc. I do feel sorry for htc though, their devices seem quite good, but android users keep demonstrating questionable taste.

    • klahanas

      Respectfully, judging anyone on taste is the very definition of snobbery. That’s because taste is personal and subjective, not measurable.

      • art hackett

        It does appear to be measurable ($), but by all means, call me a snob. I still think samsung’s stuff is vulgar and cheap, and if you must choose android, why not buy nice ones like htc or Sony?

        • klahanas

          Now I’ll call you a snob. 🙂
          To prove your premise that $’s is NOT a measurement, was Apple less elegant when they were struggling?

          • jfutral

            If you are talking about the period just before and right when Jobs came back, some would argue that was why they were struggling.


          • Space Gorilla

            Yes. Any Mac user who lived through that time period knows this. Apple lost focus on design and elegance, and as jfrutal has already pointed out, it was the reason they struggled.

          • art hackett

            A semi touché to you. Still, Apple is the only one “moving forward”, with the rest having a brief moment in the spotlight.
            Actually they were considerably less elegant when they were struggling. Remember all the putty coloured crap that looked barely different from Wintel? It wasn’t till the return of Steve that things started to turn around, but obviously not just because if appearance.

          • klahanas

            Now for the other half… 🙂
            When MS was raking in all the dough, were they the most elegant?

          • It’s called “milking the cow”. Balmer was a bean counter through and through, and he knew how to wield his abilities to great results, product be damned.

          • klahanas

            Right. But $ wasn’t elegance as asserted above.

          • And that leads to the quote from Steve Job:

            “The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste. They have absolutely no taste. And I don’t mean that in a small way, I mean that in a big way, in the sense that they don’t think of original ideas, and they don’t bring much culture into their products.”

  • I’ve long had a conundrum with commodities. My belief in quality says they shouldn’t exist, but clearly there are markets labelled commodity. I think I see the way out now. Commodities are goods that some buyers see as indistinguishable regardless of provider. These buyers, in turn, deliver commodity derived products. That is, the great chef knows that corn is not just commodity corn. The company that makes generic cans of corn sees no differentiation and, I argue, risks missing the next enrichment of their market. (i.e. staying in the basement, while others build and move into penthouses).

  • Kenny

    The sad truth John Kirk, is that you are doing the same damn thing you accused other in your article suggested that Samsung is doom because of some bump in the road without taking into account other areas of strength that they can use to solve their problem.

    besides, it wasn’t only the pundit that you quote who thought Apple had a big problem due to Samsung dominance in 2012, when Apple saw its lowest sales and profits growth compared to the previous year, even Philip W. Schiller, The head of marketing at Apple said the exact same damn things in the memo he sent about his fear of what is happening to Apple because of Samsung which i presumed you have read.

    Also John if you were to open your eyes and pay enough attention to the market you will notice that the same type of disruption that is affecting Samsung is affecting Apple too except to a lesser degree.

    • aardman

      “. . . the same type of disruption that is affecting Samsung is affecting Apple too except to a lesser degree”. No it is not. Samsung is being squeezed on both ends of its business. Apple, if at all, is being squeezed at the bottom end only. This is another of your intellectually dishonest arguments where you put in phrases (“to a lesser degree”, in this case) that basically turns your assertion into a tautology.

      And what Samsung’s smart phone business (that’s what we’re talking about, the smart phone business, not the whole company) is going through is not a “bump in the road”. An existential threat is not a bump in the road.

      What Schiller was complaining about was that Apple didn’t have a large screen phone to offer. Now, that is a bump in the road because the solution is simple: make a large screen phone. Samsung’s solution to their “bump in the road” is not that straightforward. In fact nobody has come up with a solution that has people saying, yeah that’s right, that’ll fix it. Samsung’s solution, based on their public pronouncements is really just “try harder, throw more spaghetti on the wall” i.e. we don’t have a solution.

      • Kenny

        First of all it is very hard to argue reality with you since as an Apple stock older it is not in your best interest to accept it.

        if i am intellectually dishonest Philip W. Schiller was too because in his memo he clearly stated that Apple was affected by big phone, lower pricing, Samsung strong marketing, distribution and carrier deal.

        now that Apple has a big phone then what, you think that will stop Android OEM from innovating and pushing the envelope more more to put them in corner where they will force to react again.

        i find it laughable when Benedict evens said that Apple has eliminated all the reason to choose and android phone to personnel preference as if somehow android user will just jump ship without acknowledge that Google has also done the exact same thing too with Android by eliminated the only area where Apple used to be better which was software design while pushing the innovation more and more in area where Apple is weakest.

        here the things
        the same things that is happening to Samsung now happened to Apple in 2012.
        by creating a Big phone it is clear that they solved a pressing issue, but that will not prevent them from finding themselves in a corner again where they will be force to react because as of this year, the Android OEM is no longer in catching mode as they used to be after eliminating all significant advantage that Apple had. and also the pace of Innovation in Android are many time faster hence the next 5 year will tell a lot.

        to understand my point you need to stop looking only at what Apple is doing instead you need to be looking a what is happening in the market, to clearly understand where we are compare to lest say 3-2-1 Ago

        • stunning

          “the same things that is happening to Samsung now happened to Apple in 2012”

          I must have missed the stunning decrease in Apple profits in 2012.

          • Kenny

            not a decrease in Profit
            it was a huge decrease in margin, share and profit growth which sound like the same but totally different if you’re thinking about a company potential for future growth

            (ie) Microsoft despite all you heard about them is still very profitable as a company

          • stunning

            The very article you are replying to has a chart of margins that shows no such thing. I don’t find your comparison very compelling.

          • Kenny

            go take a look at Apple own financial Data you’ll notice that they growth and margin rate has been down for many consecutive quarter during the 2012 -2013 fiscal year something that has improve lately with their growth in china.

          • jfutral

            Still hardly comparable. With Apple you had to resort to _rate of growth_ not actual decline in growth. And, margins on the rise notwithstanding, it is one thing to be losing margins, it is another to lose margins but still be industry leading. So, maybe in a very remote, metaphorical sense, Apple suffered a year ago similar to Samsung now. But only if one is intent on spin and not actual, comparable numbers or even graph slopes.

            In terms of recovery, Samsung is still in a worse position than Apple. Apple is only competing in one segment representing only one part of their consumer offerings. Samsung lost in all segments and does not have the other parts that Apple has to carry them through (control of their ecosystem). So Samsung is hurt in more ways than Apple ever was.


          • Kenny

            if i am not mistaking Samsung sold more Phone for the first 2 quarter of this year than they sold last year, hence there is not actual decline in growth rather their growth rate and their profit that is down due to the competition that forced them to reduce their price. which they can compensate by cutting cost which on itself doesn’t mean that it will solve their problem but still will help recover their profit margin just as Apple has done.

            both Apple and Samsung saw decline in their growth rate and profit margin per phone due to the same force the only difference is that unlike Samsung Apple can compensate for that with the profit generated from the App store while Samsung has to revert to other mean.

            Samsung loss is not necessarily a win for Apple as the article suggested

            the winner of that are other Android OEM’s

          • stunning

            “both Apple and Samsung saw decline in their growth rate and profit margin per phone due to the same force”

            Not really, no. The iPhone ASP was stable, so the margin decline in Apple’s case can only be attributed to temporarily greater COGS. A “problem” Samsung only wishes they had, as they’re forced to cut prices to dump product and maintain volume. Do you find these two cases comparable somehow?

          • Kenny

            IF im not mistaking The iPhone ASP has been declining over the year which may see a bump this year due to the IPhone 6+ but then what Next.

            do you really think that it would not decline in the future?

          • stunning

            I’m saying the situation Apple and Samsung in don’t currently seem at all comparable. Draw the two ASP charts and see if you think one “decline” is similar to another. My prediction for the ASP in some ill-defined future (2015? 2025? 3000?) doesn’t really seem relevant. Though, it does seem obvious that it will increase in the short term, as the iPhone 6+ is $100 more expensive and seems to be selling fine.

          • Kenny

            i think it does but not to the same extent because the same argument you made against Samsung can Also be made against Apple.

            Look at Apple declining share growth in many rich country in Europe such a Germany, Italy Spain, France even in the US for some quarter to Android

          • stunning

            What argument do you think applies? Declining share growth? I don’t believe I mentioned that at all, and you’re back in second derivative territory.

          • Mark Jones

            What’s a few percentage points, anyway?

            Due to unexpected and unusually high gross margins of 43-47% from Oct 2011 to Jun 2012, Apple wound up with 0%, -18%, and -22% decreases in quarterly net income in the corresponding quarters one year later as gross margins returned to their normal 37-39% range. Apple has since bounced back with 0%, 7%, and 12% increases.

          • Kenny

            isn’t that the same things that is happening to Samsung now?

          • Mark Jones

            One similarity and some stark differences.

            1. Both have had yoy quarterly revenue growth decrease over time, partly due to law of large numbers.

            2. iPhone quarterly revenue growth has never been negative – it went as low as 1% in 1Q13 (calendar quarter), but has stabilized between 6% and 14% for the five quarters since
            then. But for Samsung, beginning 2Q13, its IM division quarterly revenue growth has plunged from 48% to 22% to 8% to -1% to -20% and expected to be much worse this quarter. It’s negative growth. Samsung IM division operating profit has declined even more. From 52% to 19% to 1% to -1% to -30% and expected to be much worse this quarter.

            3. Samsung hasn’t provided absolute ASP values in a long long time, but did comment that its ASP has declined this quarter because its selling fewer high-end models and cheaper low-end models. The chart in the article shows that iPhone ASP has declined by about 6% over almost three years. I suspect the Samsung ASP has dropped more than 6% in this last quarter.

            4. Unlike the obvious spike up in Apple margins I mentioned earlier (and can be seen in the margin chart in the article), there’s no indication that there was a similar spike in Samsung margins, and that Samsung is returning to its previous margin range.

          • Kenny

            i Agree which the reason why i said that the low end disruption on Apple was to a lesser extent than on Samsung

            The Problem i have with John Kirk as an analysis when writing about Android VS IPhone low end disruption theory is that he never really study the market to clearly evaluated the trends, what he was doing was simply trying to prove other click bait pundit who only react to Good or bad news wrong while arguing only one side of a coin.

            you need to understand that up until KitKat and this year offering Apple was better in many area such as Hardware design, and ecosystem and the price of the IPhone was almost the same as any other including Samsung

            it is this year that we are stating to see the real low end disruption because not only that Google has close the gap with Apple in term of design but other OEM such as Xiaomi, One plus One, has introduced Phone that cost half the price with better hardware and software design and a clear strategy to undercut Apple and Samsung

            look at what is happening to the non subsidize IPad Line even in school with Chromebook

            I think the low end disruption conversation about Android versus Apple was premature, and that the next 5 year will be the determine factor.

          • Mark Jones

            If, as you say, 2014 is the year that we see real low end disruption, then such disruption hasn’t affected Apple, because from Jan to Sep 2014, iPhone is growing at a consistent ~10-15% yoy rate, and not at a negative growth rate like Samsung.

            If low end disruption is occurring in smartphones, it’s wiping out those (high and low cost) that have no valued differentiation from even lower-end phones. What’s valued in differentiation probably differs country by country, but in the US, China, UK, and others, there are good-sized markets clearly willing to pay more for differentiation as we’ve seen from iPhone 6/6p launches.

          • Kenny

            don’t expect the impact to be felt as quick, that not how its work

            the majority of the growth that you are talking have been driving by china while if you look at some other country in Europe like Germany, France, Spain, Italy including the US their home Market during some quarter it was negative just as with Samsung and the competition is getting even tougher.

            i don’t Believe that the differentiation value that you’re talking about is as much of a big deal as you may think it is
            taking Google and Facebook suite of App out of the IPhone ecossystem and a lot of consumer will jump ship despite their differentiation

          • Mark Jones

            You can’t have it both ways. I say that even though I’d really like to explore what you’re saying because I’d like to know what will cause Apple to fall, but you are logically inconsistent, and you cherry-pick data (exactly what you accuse John Kirk of doing).

            To your details:
            – If the impact is not yet felt, then this isn’t the cause of Samsung’s rapid decline. So if not this, then what is the cause of Samsung’s decline? And then is it different than what you claim will be the cause of Apple’s decline? In which case, they are not the same – the opposite of what you asserted earlier.
            – Smartphone market share is irrelevant; the more useful metric is cellphone market share. In each of those countries, is Apple losing cellphone market share? It’s really not that critical if Apple is losing smartphone share if that smartphone share is made up of low-cost phones replacing featurephones.
            – We can either look at global data, or at each individual country’s data. You can’t say global except China, because that’s cherry-picking. Make up your mind which way you want to go, and then we can discuss.
            – According to comscore data, Apple is neither losing cellphone share nor smartphone share in the US. Rather, it has been steadily gaining while Android is flat.
            – If differentiation is not a big deal, what is causing Samsung’s severe decline?
            – Your last sentence is just a useless hypothetical as neither Google nor Facebook has any incentive to leave the iPhone ecosystem. Why concern ourselves with something that has a minuscule chance of happening?

          • Kenny

            You confused two things together

            there are Disruption from Samsung that have affected Apple such as Big Phone, Marketing and carrier promotional deal which forced them to react by creating a Big phone too and spend more on marketing, which was the claim that John Kirk was arguing was false.
            when even the head of Apple Marketing chief acknowledged it in his own Memo was true

            and there are also Low end disruption that is coming from Small OEM’s such a Xiaomi, One +One including a lot of other no name OEM’S in china that sold Smartphone as good as Samsung and the IPhone for Half the price which has impacted Samsung deeply and starting to impact Apple a little bit too because their growth rate has fall to single digit something that would never happen in a growing market otherwise if we’re taking into consideration how much growth Apple would seen without the competition , a good comparison could be with the IPod that dominated the market alone for an entire decade.

            my initial point to you is that up until this year the IPhone was the best deal for your buck hence there was no reason for anyone to opt out, something that may change in the next 5 years when those pretty good deal half price Smartphone as good as the IPhone is starting to get traction, because beyond personal choice the IPhone differentiation wont be as much of a big deal as you think because Smartphone usage is dominated by third Party cross Platform cloud base App that behave the same way on IPhone or android.

            majority of the user spent the time either on Facebook or Google dominated App no matter the phone they use.

            i also pointed out to you that the IPhone is losing steam in some very rich country with high penetration rate of High End Smartphone such as Germany, Italy, Spain, France and even in the US during some quarter, this is not a small deal

            none of that is to say that Apple is Doom or that they will collapses, but to say that Apple wont see any disruption from any front is a total non sense

          • Space Gorilla

            “i don’t Believe that the differentiation value that you’re talking about is as much of a big deal as you may think it is”

            This is why your analysis of Apple fails. You don’t believe the value Apple builds within the user experience exists, you don’t think it matters, hence you don’t understand Apple’s differentiation. But we need only look at the continued success of the Mac to see that the differentiation is real.

            Kenny, if you are correct the Mac can’t exist right now. And yet it does, plus it is thriving. So either Apple is actually magical, or you are wrong.

          • Kenny

            The Mac despite being clearly better than windows is still a niche category in the PC world with only 5-7 share of the market.

            i never said that the value that Apple builds within the user experience doesn’t exists.

            my point to you was that the value is not better than the competition.
            and also the majority of the Smartphone user spent their majority of their time on third Party cross Platform cloud base App that behave the same way on both ecosystem.

          • Space Gorilla

            “The Mac despite being clearly better than windows is still a niche category in the PC world with only 5-7 share of the market.”

            Yes, this is THE POINT Kenny. A product can thrive with minority market share. Differentiation can be sustained. Value can be added. Segmentation works. Not all customers are equal. The Mac PROVES all of this. And yet you can’t seem to grasp this truth.

          • Kenny

            is it you who cannot grasp what i said

            i never said the IPhone could not be a sustainable business.
            whoever think that Apple or Samsung are Doom doesn’t even worth talking about technology

            my initial point was it is possible that Low end disruption might impact Apple and reduce they dominance and they share of the market to a comfortable but sustainable niche base on personnel value and preference unlike the IPod where they dominated till the end.

            the way to disrupt Apple is not by creating a better Phone but rather by creating a different business model that undercut their own strength

            look at the Impact just Big phone have had on them
            now imagine a lot of Smartphone OEM’s creating niche Android phone that resonate very well with just a segment of user on the Market

            Look at the Black Phone (ie) which might resonate better with security conscious consumer than an IPhone this is just a beginning

            this are what we need to look at primarily if you are a stock older

          • jfutral

            I finally see what you are saying. Reworded (but probably still not exactly), the iPhone represents a general purpose smartphone. Larger smartphones represented a niche segment that the iPhone was not addressing, thus disrupting Apple, since it seemed they felt backed into a corner to release a larger than 4″ phone and phablet (ugh, I hate even typing that word). So segmentation is also disrupting Samsung. Thus similar disruption.

            Except I don’t think that is what is happening. As general purpose as the iPhone may be, I don’t think they have ever (even as they release larger phones) felt any of their products, much less the iPhone, is for everyone. Or put another way, Apple does not consider “everyone” as their customer. While iPhone certainly dominates profit share, they have never dominated market share. Which, from a certain perspective, very much makes them niche (although as the article pointed out, it is odd to consider a billion units “niche”). So maybe not “niche” but certainly focused.

            Samsung, by comparison, has decided they need to address everyone. Until recently, they have done quite well doing so. That is what they would even point out as their strength (interestingly, never mentioning Android in the process). Samsung was never focused. They were a “wash” (as we say in the lighting industry). by hitting everyone, they have really left themselves no were to run. All they can do now is feel pressure at every point they address, which is exactly what is happening.

            Should the low end start to disrupt Apple (even though it hasn’t and if history of any other industry is any indicator, never will), they can at least move down stream to alleviate that. I doubt they would, but they could.

            Now as for actual niche plays, like the Black Phone and what that represents to you from what I can tell, yes if the smartphone market becomes entirely segmented into narrow niches, Apple would be susceptible to that. But I can’t see that as happening. but if it does, then Apple would do what it actually does quite well, and find the niche they can address best and likely most profitably. Apple is already predisposed to market segments. Samsung is not.


          • Kenny

            I agree to some extent.

            However the thing is Apple Strength is not only about their focus or their ability to address only one part of the market, they value was up until this year they had the best product with best value for you buck, i was even surprise to see Samsung outperformed them during some quarter with what i consider was an inferior product such as the Galaxy 4 and 5.

            to be fair to Samsung, they are also a very focus on their strength and business model.

            you need to know that Apple as a statue symbol company perform better with first time IPhone buyer because those who never use an IPhone are extremely exciting and willing to do anything to get their hands on one.

            but when it come time to renew their contract or to buy a new phone these type of customer are most susceptible to other factor such as price, segmentation and value per buck for the same reason that we are often less exciting and more open minded during our second wedding than we were the first time with our first wife.

            the way i see the Low end disruption play out against Apple is not only with segmentation but also with price, and conscious factor

            Android Open nature and low price of entry enable any startup or OEM’s to build the phone they want base on the need that they want to address. hence it is not inconceivable to expect them to build phone that address a specific need base on media buzz or user complaint.

            (ie) will all the issue about celebrity getting hacked from ICloud, some company may use that as a mean to built a phone that address this concern for those who are very concern about it with all the advantage but half the price of an IPhone.

            some designer may partner with an OEM to build android phone base on their design taste for those who love fashion.

            some rich boy club brand may partner with an OEM to create a phone that cost thousand $$ only for super rich people.

            some big bank big business may partner with an OEM to create phone for their special need and brands.

            amazon can create phone primarily for those who love reading

            other OEM might create phone base on durability for worker etc

            and since thy don’t have to spend a lot of money on marketing and maintaining ecosystem they can sell these phone for a lot less than an IPhone which can it more appealing to those who value these things

            All of these is not to say that Apple is doom but having to face competition from all front will more likely impact their ability to growth which might force them to spent more on marketing that will impact their profit margin and when that Happen good luck dealing with Wall street and the media doomsayer

            John Kirk argument is flaw because he is arguing against Low end disruption by using Samsung as an example, a company which never positioned their product as a low end disruption such as Xiaomi, One+One etc.

            the next 5 year will be the determine Factor.

          • jfutral

            Some of those things already exist—Bentley and Virtu with Android, and a few companies that will bejewel or gold plate your iPhone (directly, not with a case) for many thousands of dollars. Amazon already has a phone for their services. So far none of the niches has disrupted iPhone or left iPhone users out in the cold. Not that something couldn’t happen. But it demonstrably hasn’t happened yet.

            And even if it does, as demonstrated with larger iPhones, Apple is in a far better position to shift because of its focus and ownership of its UX/I and ecosystem. Although, I think Apple’s continued monstrous sales of a small line up of phones (vs Samsung’s shotgun approach), continued platform of choice for a huge portion of mobile software development, and continued lead of user engagement even in the face of Android’s market share disagrees with your contention that Apple’s days as best product with best value are somehow endanger of being behind it, Apple is still in a better position, with its focus, to shift with the market than Samsung with its lack of market focus. This has made Samsung far more vulnerable to low-end disruption than Apple.

            Apparently the market is beginning to agree with your point “i consider was an inferior product such as the [Samsing] Galaxy 4 and 5.”, thus their losses. Samsung’s only focus is fast follow/copy and shotgun product line up. That isn’t really focus, or at least not a sufficient focus for a long term, sustainable model.


          • Kenny

            that is very premature

            This things don’t happen overnight more often than not they thing to take real effect when the market has saturated and the impact wont be instant and dramatic.

            up until this point Samsung was the only real threat for Apple, there was no Phone like One+One with half the price, and Android was still in the catch up mode.

            Apple can easily react to a product but what Happen same product cost Half the price and still as good as the IPhone.

            If you are a real Gamer who are concern about buck for graphic performance will you go for an IPad Mini or the next generation of Nvidia shield build excursively for your need and still cost less money.

            is’t not really about product than it is about business model.

            the mobile industry is so huge and profitable, is wont be that hard for a of statup to be self sustainable by focusing only on a specific segment of the market

          • jfutral

            But that is always the risk of a business, any business. And it has always been the risk Apple faces, from their inception as a company and each product they release. This isn’t a new revelation. This is life as a business. There are no guarantees. There are always threats.

            I disagree that Samsung was Apple’s only threat. Samsung was the only threat that _materialized_ in the last couple of years. Blackberry, Windows ME/Phone/Mobile, and Nokia Symbian were threats early on for the iPhone. Android became a threat, but the only Android threat that made a material difference was Samsung. And that is the only difficulty I have with your position.

            It is the position a company is in to address the threats in a timely manner that is important. Apple is in a far superior position than Samsung. Plus Apple is not complacent, like the smartphone predecessors were. In this regard Apple and Android are very much alike, in their flexibility. Apple behaves more like a startup than any of the smartphone predecessors.

            To be honest , Android was a threat to the big three more than Apple. Android grew at their expense more than Apple’s. Even now, as you and others point out, Android is still more a threat to other Android OEMs than Apple. That’s a HUGE differentiation.

            “the mobile industry is so huge and profitable, is wont be that hard for a of statup to be self sustainable by focusing only on a specific segment of the market”

            I agree with that 100%.


          • Kenny

            therefore you and i can agree, because i was only arguing about low end disruption impact that John Kirk said mean nothing when it come to Apple because he was so focus on Samsung and other doomsayer then he never really actually study the market to really understand what was Happening

            If Apple could felt some disruption from Samsung due only to Big Phone even though the product was inferior to the IPhone at this time. how in the world can we say that they cannot be disrupt in the future when the price of component with be so low and android good enough which will enable Statup to follow Xiaomi path and undercut incumbent such as Samsung and Apple with Specific phone that address specific need and cost a lot less money.

            I don’t think that Apple can behave like a statup anymore with their huge install base that cost a lot of money to protect. and support

          • jfutral

            It isn’t helpful to say that _anything could happen_. I could walk out my front door and get hit by an airplane. That doesn’t mean it is _likely_, based on history—my own and my geography’s. Sure, it’s possible. There is always a news report every couple of months or so about just such an occurrence. That doesn’t mean my threat level is automatically high.

            People have been predicting Apple’s demise/disruption at the hands of the low-end since Apple started. Hasn’t happened yet. So given Apple’s history of premium positioning and the “geographic history” that most consumer industries have been able to support a premium market, it is hard to see how Apple will be disrupted by the low end. Possible? Sure. Anything is possible. Likely? Not if history is any indicator.


          • Kenny

            In some way that it is already the case
            Take a closer look at Apple performance on some Rich European country with High end Smartphone penetration such as Germany, France, Spain, Italy including the US their home Market during some quarter their Growth rate is going down.

            I am not arguing that it can Happen, i am arguing that it already happening, and the reason we don’t see it is due to the fact they they can compensate right now with their growth in China

          • jfutral

            AFAIK, that’s not disruption, that’s pretty much status quo. I don’t recall numbers changing all that much in Europe in the last few years, where iPhone is weak it pretty much has always been weak. But it has been a while since I’ve looked indepth at European numbers. but, hey, Windows is doing well in Italy! Is that disruption for Android?


          • Space Gorilla

            “my initial point was it is possible that Low end disruption might impact Apple and reduce they dominance and they share of the market to a comfortable but sustainable niche base on personnel value and preference”

            This makes sense if you believe Apple’s differentiation, the value, within the user experience, isn’t significant and/or is easily copied. And you clearly believe that, as you say “the value is not better than the competition”.

            You’re free to believe that, but you are very, very wrong. Again, we need only look at the Mac to see how that value, that differentiation is very significant and is not easily copied. We can also see in the Mac that low end disruption has not hindered its success. We have an actual real world case study to look at in the Mac, and yet most analysis of Apple ignores the reality of the Mac’s continued success. I would guess because that reality doesn’t align with the narrative many are attempting to create re: iOS devices.

            What is most likely is that iOS devices will continue to succeed just as the Mac has, but the iOS ‘niche’ is an order of magnitude larger. We shouldn’t even call it niche really. While it will always be the minority share when looking at the entire market, in absolute numbers it is enormous.

          • Kenny

            First of all Value is a relative term

            if you are talking about value base on Functionality which will be about what you can do with an IPhone that one cannot do with Android Phone my answer to you will be Almost nothing.

            if you are talking about value base on emotion, attachment, statue symbol or familiarity my answer will be that you can compete with that with segmentation by focusing on specific need in response to specific event

            Lets me tell you Again
            Value are not static people change so do the value we associate with material and our taste hence what you might perceive as a big deal for you today might not the same thing for a lot of people in the next 5 years.

            the most important factor in value are the price we pay versus what we get

          • Space Gorilla

            “if you are talking about value based on Functionality”

            “if you are talking about value base on emotion, attachment, statue symbol or familiarity”

            Nope, I’m not talking about either of these. The integration and user experience Apple provides is a very different kind of value. You don’t see it because you don’t *value* it. I think that *for you* it actually doesn’t exist. That’s fine, but because you don’t see how the value Apple provides is different, you can’t understand it.

            Viewing value as you do, I completely understand why you make the argument you’re making. But again, you’ve got it all wrong. Here’s a great example of what you’re getting wrong:

            “Value are not static people change so do the value we associate with material and our taste hence what you might be perceive as a big deal today may not the same thing for a lot of people in the next 5 years.”

            The value Apple provides has nothing to do with any of what you say here. It may be impossible to explain Apple’s value to you, since what Apple does differently is meaningless to you. Your personal truth is that this value/differentiation doesn’t exist. However, where you fail is recognizing that what is true for you is not true for everyone.

          • Kenny

            Have you ever used let say an Android Phone?

          • Space Gorilla

            Yep. It was HTC, nice build quality. I’ve also used Samsung tablets. I understand why you think there’s no difference between an Android device and an iOS device.

            Here’s a simple question, let’s say I’m having an issue with the phone doing something weird. Who do I call for support? Google? HTC? The carrier?

          • Kenny

            the carrier.

            here the thing
            there is a big different between you and probably two third of Smartphone user.

            you probably have an IPhone,+ IPad,+ Mac hence Apple superior integration is a joy and it’s wonderful.

            the difference is that two third of user today only have one phone or one phone + computer, or one phone + tablet who more often than not doesn’t come from the same brand hence these people have no clue of this superior integration that you get from having all your product from one Brand

            which is the reason why Google are moving these Type of superior integration from Hardware + software to Hardware+ the Cloud which will enable real integration not matter the brand

            Android everywhere, Multi screen support are just the first stage of this strategy

          • Space Gorilla

            “the carrier”

            How strange. So I don’t call the company that *built the device*? Ah, but then there’s a different company that made the OS. But I suppose it’s the carrier I’m paying monthly fees to so surely they care deeply about the device HTC made 🙂

            “there is a big different between you and probably two third of Smartphone user.”

            Yes, I think we may be getting somewhere. You are correct. Android will always dominate the market as a whole, but it is Apple that dominates what I call the Best Customer Segment. Within that segment the value proposition is very different. Of course most people don’t need or care about this value. That’s fine. That’s what Android or Windows is for. However, the Best Customer Segment is very large in absolute numbers. By focusing on this segment Apple has succeeded wildly, and will continue to succeed. We can see this on a smaller scale in the Mac.

            The value Apple provides is not just “having all your product from one Brand” as you say. It is much deeper than that. And it is unlikely any other company will replicate this value, for many reasons, but perhaps the most important is that most of the tech industry views Apple’s approach as wrong, no one else is even interested in doing what Apple is doing.

            So, those people that do see value in what Apple is doing will continue to be Apple customers, and that is a large number of people, probably a billion customers not too long from now. But when we look at the entire market, it will always be a minority.

          • Kenny

            what Happened then when integration move form Hardware + Software to Hardware + Cloud

            in a world that is getting smarter and smarter what the percentage of consumer you think will want to go with only one brand for everything.

            unless you assume that Apple will make everything and make it better than anyone else isn’t this lack of cross platform and Cloud integration be a cause for concern for the company?

          • Space Gorilla

            Why would it matter? Apple devices can use all sorts of cloud services from all kinds of companies. I can buy an Apple device and use mostly Google services, or I could use mostly Microsoft services, or I could use other services from other parties. My Apple TV plugs into my Samsung TV for another example.

            Apple’s integration of hardware and software can add value to the cloud going forward. It should be a strength. That’s one of the great things about Apple’s dominance of such a valuable market segment, it would be very stupid of other companies to ignore those users. Again we can look at the Mac, none of the issues you bring up are a problem on the Mac. There’s no reason to think iOS devices will be any different. All evidence points to a bright future for Apple’s iOS business. Certainly it will be a minority share of the whole market, but that’s the point, Apple is doing that on purpose, focusing on a segment instead of the entire market. And within that segment Apple doesn’t actually have much competition.

            Again, that goes back to the fact that most of the tech industry thinks Apple’s approach is wrong, so why would they copy it? They’ll try to copy aspects of it, certain pieces, but the whole user experience that Apple delivers, that’s really, really hard to do, and it took Apple decades to do it.

            Think of it this way. There’s only one company that provides this kind of tight integration and focus on the user experience, plus computing devices from pocket size to tablet to laptop to desktop to pro (and soon wearables), all fully supported (if I have a problem I just call Apple, done), with great apps and content, great design and build quality. That is a metric crapton of value. I completely understand that for most people this value isn’t important, but for the segment that wants this, Apple is the only place to get it, and that isn’t likely to change.

          • Kenny

            Cloud Service, and Hardware +Cloud integration are two completely different things.

            Hardware + Cloud integration is about building a cloud base OS that can work on any device + screen or product and App because all the intelligence or the OS are cloud Base and not Local, otherwise the company will have to create a difference OS for each product and each screen, and developer will also have to create a different App for each product and each screen.

          • Space Gorilla

            Well, Apple is already moving towards this kind of seamless screen to screen experience, but in a different way. Again, a different approach which creates a different kind of value.

            But let’s say Microsoft creates some great cloud-based system with great apps and a great experience. What’s stopping an Apple device from simply signing on and using that? I would assume if it’s all in the cloud then it has to use standards, especially if it’s going to work on any device as you say, so why wouldn’t “any device” include iOS devices?

          • Kenny

            1- It’s not about seamless screen to screen experience, is about complexity, security, reduce friction, access to Data, compatibility, App and hardware support and development, Cost, cohesive experience etc.. from thousand of screen, interface and product, etc, a perfect example of that is Chrome OS or Google Now

            For the same reason why you cannot just install Microsoft windows OS on an IPhone that will simply become a dump terminal because the OS is a cloud base platform that need to be integrated for it to work and provide API and intelligence for developer to create App.

            none of that is to say that Apple wont be able succeed or anything like rather that their culture of Hardware+software integration can’t easily be translate to Hardware + Cloud integration.

            Look at how many issue bugs they have had with IOS 7 AND 8 Software and the ICloud even at the most basic level of cloud integration and security.

          • Space Gorilla

            Any long time Apple customer knows Apple has always had bugs with OS releases, going back many years, and they’re pretty good about fixing them. We’re only more aware of it now because of the scale Apple is at and the fact that Apple is revealing more and more complexity within iOS. I wouldn’t get too excited about minor issues Apple is having as they move forward. This isn’t anything new. Any older Mac user remembers having to sort through the Extensions menu, turning one off at a time to find out which one was buggering up the OS. Software is complex, bugs happen, I’m not at all concerned.

            But back to the cloud OS thing, I’m sure I just read some article about Google kind of sneaking large parts of Chrome onto the iPad via an app. If it’s all in the cloud why wouldn’t an app (as a kind of shell) work just fine on any device, including iOS devices?

          • Kenny

            1- i agree,
            But security and Cloud are Apple biggest weakness, and that is a huge area of concern

            Also if you are honest with yourself you will notice that things are getting a lot worst they Software team seem to have a lot of issue following the hardware team release schedules

            Chrome browser and Chrome OS is not the same things from a User and developer perspective.

            Also If user are beginning to Use chrome more and more on their Apple device it wont be long before it become a Chrome ecosystem since developer will simply create Cloud base App that support Chrome instead of IOS.

          • Space Gorilla

            Security and Cloud are simply the issues that have been in the media lately, and Apple is slowly but steadily working on any weakness. It is not a huge area of concern. Every platform has these kinds of problems. Apple just happens to be the most visible.

            Things are not getting worse, Apple is simply scaling up so issues seem worse. Trust me, going back a couple decades, Apple has had issues with OS releases as well as hardware problems. It happens. They deal with it.

            What exactly is the problem if an iOS device owner decides to use a Chrome environment? There’s nothing wrong with choice. Sure, I suppose, in some magical scenario where a cloud-based Chrome OS is really great AND web apps are superior to native apps AND they match the App Store in all areas AND connectivity isn’t an issue AND a majority of iOS users move to Chrome, then maybe that’s a problem for Apple. This all assume of course that Apple stands still and doesn’t respond to the threat. It just isn’t a realistic scenario. But, and that’s a HUGE but, if it began to happen, Apple has all sorts of time and resources to respond to it. The analyst graveyard is littered with the bones of pundits who said “Apple can’t do X”.

          • Informed

            And as long as we are making up impossible scenarios, if you took the Android OS out of Android phones, Android users would jump ship, too.

          • Kenny

            what kind of impossible scenario you are talking about

            i only argue that some of Value we associate to Apple should instead be associate with third party app

            does that sound like an impossible argument for you?

          • informed

            Leaving third party apps aside, the iOS differentiation is vast. Facetime, full encryption, consistent interface, iTunes and app store integration, etc. All are unique and integrated. Achieving similar funtionality on other OSs require 3rd party apps with questionable hardware compatibility and potentially (!) insecure implementation. And when you throw the secure enclave of recent 64-bit iPhones and iPads into the mix, the “differentiation value” only increases.

            I was trying to be simpathetic to your argument, but you lost me when you implied that Apple’s value rests on Google & Facebook apps…

          • Kenny

            All are unique and integrated. Achieving similar funtionality on other OSs require 3rd party apps with questionable hardware compatibility and potentially (!) insecure implementation. And when you throw the secure enclave of recent 64-bit iPhones and iPads into the mix, the “differentiation value” only increases.informed

            you lose me there

            that doesn’t sound like you really knew about the competition to say such thing

            every single argument you made when it come to Apple are available in Android and as well integrate as with the IPhone.

            here is a scenario
            imagine someone going to a carrier store to buy an IPhone that has been on the market for 6 month which cost 200$ + 2 year contract and close to the IPhone is the brand new One+One or the Nexus 6 that people keep on talking about that cost 0$ with 2 years or 350$ without contract .

            imagine that personnel only have 150$

            what do you think he or she will do?

            going home without a phone a take the the brand new Nexus or One +One

            is not that that Apple’s value rests on Google & Facebook apps. is that user spent almost all their time on Smartphone using mostly App from these two company hence switching to Android wont be that much of a painful process when they only have to pay let say Half the price.

          • informed

            Congratulations. You just made Mr. Kirk’s point. You did read the article, right? You know, all those parts where he points out that any old Android will do for the people in your scenario? Conversely, if someone with more money to spend wants a premium phone, then Apple. ‘Cuz Apple isn’t any old Android. I think that’s called “differentiation.”

          • klahanas

            Step back and look at the platforms. Yes. They are differentiated from each other.
            Within each platform Android is far more diverse than iOS. iOS is extremely highly standardized and Android is diverse.

          • informed

            I’ll take your word for that. But despite any diversity within the platform, Samsung lacks any compelling differentiation over other Android devices. Again, that would be the central point of the article…

          • klahanas

            Samsung is not alone within the Android category. There are several things they do, if that matters. Others now do them too.

            They did pioneer multi-window on mobile. They also pioneered the digitizing pen, again on mobile. They were the first (exquisite) large screen. They have SD card slots, and removable batteries. They are not alone in these features, and that’s a good thing. You don’t see Android users up in arms that LG an Xiaomi are “ripping off Samsung”.

            In the platform there are models with keyboards, models without SD slots or removable batteries, with NFC, without NFC, with fingerprint scanners, what have you.

    • FalKirk

      “(The) suggested that Samsung is doom because of some bump in the road… – Kenny”

      If you think this is a bump in the road then you can’t tell the difference between a molehill and a mountain. Astute observers have seen this coming for years. It’s not an anomaly. It’s predictable. If you can’t differentiate, you can’t compete.

      “Also John if you were to open your eyes and pay enough attention to the market you will notice that the same type of disruption that is affecting Samsung is affecting Apple” – Kenny

      What are you going to tell me next, Kenny? That the world is flat or that gravity doesn’t exist? All of the claims about Apple’s lack of market share have been demonstrably disproven. They’re not facing disruption from any front. But if you think I’m wrong, please provide facts, theories or examples. I’m always interested in learning.

      • Kenny

        you don’t have to take my word for it John since you seem to strongly arguing one side of a coin without looking at the other side

        to just need to read what Philip W. Schiller said in his memo about his fear of disruption from big phone, lower pricing, Samsung strong marketing, distribution and carrier deal.

        i agree that when it come to Samsung it is not simply a bump in the road but if you think that Apple is not facing disruption from any front then there is no need to show you anything since that won’t change anything.

        • rogifan

          Do you have a link to this memo you keep referring to? I don’t remember any such memo coming directly from Phil Schiller.

          • art hackett

            Why do you bother reading or replying to “kenny” and his ilk. Total waste of time. Scroll on.

          • klahanas

            There you go again…It’s called discourse!

          • jfutral

            Kenny is a pretty smart guy. I always appreciate his perspective, even when I disagree. Same with obarthelemy and klahanas. I won’t deny it has been a bit of an ordeal to chew through the gristle to get to the meat of their posts. For whatever reason it is much easier these days than it has been (of which I am very appreciative).

            I believe if we can keep respectful, then eventually the chaff falls away because it becomes unnecessary. For whatever reason the internet can be an annoying place to exchange ideas. So a place like Techpinions becomes an anomaly to get used to. I like to think those who actually have something to say will find it easier and stick around. But old habits are hard to break.

            Personally, I like and even prefer discourse with someone I disagree, especially passionately. Iron sharpens iron.



          • scineram
        • FalKirk

          “if you think that Apple is not facing disruption from any front then there is no need to show you anything since that won’t change anything – Kenny

          In other words, Kenny, you got nothing.

  • doordont

    “Truth be told, I take no pleasure in Samsung’s distress.”

    Don’t you?

    “Samsung DOES make superb hardware.”

    Do they?

    • FalKirk

      I really kind of admire Samsung. I wish they didn’t copy so blatantly and I have some other qualms but they are one of the great companies of our times.

      Many people love Samsung hardware. And perhaps one’s appreciation of hardware is subjective. The point of my article was that even superb hardware is not enough unless you have a way to differentiate your hardware from that of your competitors.

      • doordont

        “Many people love Samsung hardware. And perhaps one’s appreciation of hardware is subjective.”

        Ah, I wasn’t aware. I’ve mostly heard their hardware referred to as serviceable but not particularly good. Superb seemed way out of range.

        • FalKirk

          “Superb seemed way out of range” – doordont

          I included an entire section in this article where pundits raved about Samsung’s hardware and innovation and claimed it was far superior to Apple’s. Each to his own.

  • simon

    “Samsung rose from seemingly nowhere”

    It’s obvious only from the hindsight but Samsung was really well equipped to take over the market. They were the 2nd biggest phone maker behind Nokia and thus had a great deal of distribution all over the world unlike the Japanese companies that were reluctant to expand outside the lucrative domestic Japanese market or HTC that was still somewhat of a niche player.

    Unlike Nokia they had absolutely no loyalty to a single OS. Not only Samsung had Windows Mobile smartphones, they also had Symbian phones too. Also compared to the likes of Motorola and HTC, they had a much better handle of supply channel, both by having their own vertical integration and by buying a lot of parts from other suppliers.

    Also once they saw the opening, Samsung was really aggressive. They showed no reluctance to flood the market with as many models as they could pump out while spending an enormous sum of money in marketing.

  • Mauryan

    What happened to Tizen?

    • FalKirk

      It always seemed bizarre to me that Samsung thought for every one second that Tizen would be able to compete with iOS or Android or even with Windows Phone of Blackberry. It was SO very late to the game.

      Like waiting until the winners are taking their victory laps then thinking you can join them and still win the race.

  • kgelner

    Speaking as a mobile developer it’s easy to understand why iOS commands such a higher revenue rate, it’s because the Android “smartphone” figures are a complete fabrication in all regards.

    I have an Android “smartphone” I bought that is part of that percentage. It has a tiny screen, and is so underpowered that I would never seek to run third party apps on that as a user. And yet it is counted as a device that a developer should swoon to target, simply because it runs Android without any thought as to a user of that device ever using apps besides the ones that came with the phone… I don’t see any difference between really cheap Android phones and feature phones in that regard.

    I would LOVE to see someone go to the trouble to research the actual size of the Android smartphone market (meaning devices that are powerful and modern enough to run current applications), which that $5 billion in revenue figure hints at being so disparate from the stated Android “smartphone” count.

  • Thorntondw

    I do enjoy a bit of schadenfreude seeing Xiaomi eating Samsung’s financial insides by copying their products and selling them at a lower cost. Just a little lesson on “what goes around comes around”. This is better vindication for Apple than winning a multibillion dollar settlement!

    • Kenny

      Apple has been copying Android feature a lot lately should that come around to byte them too ?

      • FalKirk

        “The original…is not one who imitates nobody, but one whom nobody can imitate.” ~ François René de Chateaubriand

        • klahanas

          Agreed. That applies to “slavish copying” too. Right?
          If iOS’s look and feel was so innovative and original, how was it so easily “copied”.

          • informed

            It was easily copied because design choices were made for them.

          • klahanas

            It was pretty obvious too. Design is like fashion. They copy all the time.

          • sbuk

            It’s easy to say something is obvious after the fact.

          • FalKirk

            Yes, everything is obvious in hindsight. Few things are obvious when using foresight. The greater the breakthrough, the more obvious it seems after the fact.

          • informed

            It was obvious that Samsung and every other “smartphone” maker would copy Blackberry. It is also obvious that Samsung and every other “smartphone” maker WERE all copying Blackberry. It is also obvious that if Apple hadn’t so obviously NOT copied Blackberry, Samsung and every other “smartphone” maker would still be copying Blackberry.

            THAT’s obvious.

            Apple’s design choices were not obvious.

          • klahanas

            Yup! Where’s everyone screaming in Blackberry’s defense?

            The answer is that it wasn’t really protectable, the appearance anyway. Using a keyboard is an obvious application. At best, their implementation of a keyboard was protectable.

            There was prior art, or at least simultaneous art (LG Prada). Full screen touchscreens were not new either. Still, I will give credit that the original design (not function) of the iPhone was a breath of fresh air. Apple’s not the only one allowed to do full screen multitouch.

          • jfutral

            “Yup! Where’s everyone screaming in Blackberry’s defense?”

            It’s hard to imagine since the current smartphone market so over shadows the pre-iPhone days. But there were numerous articles in the tech-press when Samsung copied each Blackberry and the Motorola Razr. Hardly seems worthwhile to revisit anymore. you might be able to still web search for one or two of the remnants.

          • klahanas

            I’ll take your word for it. I believe you. Where is it today? Heck, Xerox still comes up.

          • jfutral

            The players are all different. Motorola and Blackberry are barely shadows of what they once were. Effectively no one cares about that Motorola or Blackberry anymore. There’s no sport in it. It’s a different set of consumers. Any number of reasons.


  • Thorntondw

    “For example, Sony recently announced that it has been improving its smartphone market share in Western Europe and Japan…and is projecting a £1.3 billion loss.”

    Haven’t all smartphone makers been losing money or just breaking even for a few years now — except for Samsung and Apple? How long can HTC, Sony, MS Nokia, Blackberry keep losing money and stay in the market?

    • Kenny

      Loosing money is not the only way to evaluated an company potential since a lot of this OEM’s Cary over outstanding debt and cost associated with previews bad decision and reorganization

      a perfect exemplar of that is Motorola despite still loosing a lot of money due to a lot of cost associate to their reorganization and R&D have seen a lot of success lately with a lot of growth and a lot excitement around their product

      here an anecdote
      If Apple this year decide to spent let say 5 billion dollars on equipment and R&D at the end of the years their profit share might collapse
      will you then consider the company to be a failure?

      • FalKirk

        “Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone. ~ Ayn Rand

        • Kenny

          Is that you way of trolling me John

      • Kizedek

        Why, it hasn’t so far, and that is exactly what they do, actually, double that. Check the graphs for spending on Asymco. While Samsung spends 12-14B on marketing/promo, Apple spends 10-12 capital on equipment and a focused couple of billion on R&D.

        Apple gets it back very quickly, because their phones actually sell with a consistent ASP.

        The margins fluctuate slightly — they tend to go down slightly when a completely new phone is introduced (new case as well as new insides). In fact, the quarterly call always warns about this, and we thus know when a completely new product is on its way.

        But all the margins duly rise again. Why? Because Apple continues to successfully sell the same product for multiple quarters, even years. Such as the iPhone 4 and 4S. The margin continues to go up and up on these, because, the more units of a product that are produced and sold, the lower the unit cost gets. Apple actually gets its one-off costs (R&D, tooling, assembly line, etc.) back, and pretty quickly. This is Business 101.

        Samsung and anyone else who throw spaghetti at the wall to see what sells, or produce 500 different models and variations, or who have to start offering BOGOF deals within 3 months, clearly DONT recover their investments in each model.

        I dare say, the 20 million iPhone 6/6+ units that have already sold have put a big dent in any sunk costs Apple spent on the new model, already. So, if the margin on those models dipped to 38%, it is temporary. All the while, the margin on the 5S will actually be going up, even were Apple to offer a hundred dollar decrease in price. That’s how it has worked with the 4S.

        The more units you sell of one product, the more profitable that product becomes. Business 101. There are NO costs that Apple has to account for against its products. The costs are PAID right out of the gate. Read Asymco — the astounding thing about Apple is that it has ONE Profit Loss Statement. One. There is nothing hiding somewhere else. There is no Motorola on its balance sheet like there is for Google. There is no Nokia. There are no divisions to move things around and borrow and hide things in like there are for Samsung. What you see is what you get! It’s all in the quarterly phone call, all up front, all transparent. Apple are secretive about products, but are the most transparent about their business of all the tech firms.

  • Thorntondw

    To arrive at a contradiction is to confess an error in one’s thinking; to maintain a contradiction is to abdicate one’s mind and to evict oneself from the realm of reality. ~ Ayn Rand

    This is an excellent description of Steve Ballmer who will carry this proven business acumen into the NBA.

    Not to the point of the article, but I just had to say it!

  • Thorntondw

    “My only hope is that the pundits who told Apple to be more like Samsung, shorted Apple and invested heavily in Samsung. That would be some schadenfreude that I could really get behind.”

    Of course those pundits are not really the idiots they appear to be so they would never invest their money where their mouth is…

  • Amir Goodmann

    Hello John,
    thank you so much for writing and sharing with us this excellent, marvelous and brilliant article of yours. This is a perfect thesis! really…! In fact I was softly giggling myself while reading halfway through your blog! Your technical version of John 9:12 is the pinnacle! Simply marvelous!
    Hats off to you, John! And please write us some more. All your blogs are truly greatly appreciated. Your ingenuity, skill, and wisdom are your gifts and thank you so much for sharing them with us.
    It is true that those who profess that ‘market share is king’ will likely shun your writings but in the end Profit will drown them all. We, your readers, are at your back 100 percent.

    • FalKirk

      Thank you so much, Amir. Your comment is greatly appreciated.

  • alaska99801

    Great piece except the Rand quotes. Keep it Apple. We dont need the political views.
    Thats all. Dont need to rebut fans.

    • FalKirk

      I appreciate your kind words, but I won’t exclude quotes because of their author. Excluding a quote because of the author is ad hominem fallacy — attacking the source instead of the content.

      “You must accept the truth from whatever source it comes.” ~ Moses Ben Maimon Maimonides

      • Space Gorilla

        Even a broken clock is right twice a day 🙂

        • klahanas


  • jjredfish

    Smack! :0)

  • mhikl

    I do not celebrate nor do I revel in another’s bad fortune but to the Android trolls, often paid by Samsung we’ve been told, I can only quote Nelson, so elegantly spoken is the chap: “Ha ha!”


  • You were doing great until you brought up Ayn Rand. Holy smokes. Her books are a big as the phone book, and half as interesting. The quote made my brain try to shut down. Talk about someone’s philosophy being completely discredited and worth forgetting.

    • Space Gorilla

      I cringe every time I see a quote from Ayn Rand. She was a batshit crazy sociopath, and Objectivism seems to be very much ripped off from real Philosophers (and poorly at that).

    • FalKirk

      Some one said the thing to me about a month ago, but they objected to Henry Kissinger. Listen up. It is the content of the quotes that matters. Not the author. Attacking the source of a quote is a well documented logical fallacy.

      I quote republicans, democrats, christians, hindus and muslims. I quote ancient sources and modern authors. I’ve even quoted Hitler.

      Get over your hatred and read the quote itself. If you have an issue with that, we can discuss it. If you’re going to dismiss a quote because of it’s author, then you’re substituting political correctness for correctness.

      “Political correctness is a poor substitute for critical thinking.” ~ Christine Assange @AssangeC

      • klahanas

        I agree. A pure idea should be based on the quality of it’s content, not the credentials of it’s author. It’s natural, however, for someone to acknowledge agreement with a despised figure, lest one find some of that person within themselves.

        • Kizedek

          You took issue with my quoting of The Macalope a little while back. Perhaps you find something of The Macalope in yourself?

      • Space Gorilla

        You are absolutely right, but it’s tough to completely disconnect that initial emotional response, even though I’m aware intellectually that the content is what matters and not the author. When you write you put ideas, thoughts, feelings, etc into my head, and when you write the name Ayn Rand, you put that into my head. If you write the name Hitler, you put a whole universe of emotion into my head, and you do run the risk of diminishing the content of the quote when you do that. That’s the reality of writing.

  • Seraph

    Rather biased, this article.

    Of cause is Samsung’s marketshare sinking, because the Android-competitors get better and better. But where is Apple’s iOS competition?


    Congratulations. You have been trolled.

    • klahanas

      Colonel Klink’s revenge!

  • Simply awesome. And look where Apple is now. Strengthening more and more every single day while also killing other bear arguments by diversifying their revenue streams with more recurring profit streams.

    What these pundits never understood (and STILL do not understand, amazingly, their stubbornness is quite staggering) is that yes, Apple makes beautiful, expensive, well made hardware. But they ARE actually a software company. Every single Apple device is just a ticket to the ecosystem. Android is both the same and different on every single platform. It’s a double Achilles heel, as I found when I went to Android after Blackberry. If your carrier or phone maker chooses not to roll out the latest updates, you’re left behind. Swiftly. You can flash a ROM, but my in-laws, my parents, my aunts, my uncles, my 3 year old daughter… none of them want to do that or know anything about it or even consider software. They just want the software to work seamlessly and easily. And they all love their Apple products.

    Similarly, as you stated, Samsung’s problem is that there is no moat on Android phones, even for them, and the profits are not big enough to really bother trying to gain the ground once it’s lost. In my opinion, Android sort of sold the manufacturers down the river. As insane as it sounds, the real threat to Apple would be an exclusive partnership between Blackberry and Samsung or some kind of product differentiation partnership with Microsoft, Blackberry, etc. A compelling alternative with a closed system… something nobody seems able to come up with.

    Once you’re well within the Apple ecosystem, the stickiness is far more than the pundits predicted or even considered. Same with having stores devoted exclusively to the 5 or 6 major products you make. The more it all works together seamlessly, the less likely you are to leave. And if everyone in your family has the same devices, well there’s photostreaming, airplay movies at Grandma’s house, and now hand-off from iPhone to Macbook to iPad. Content and context aware devices comes down to amazing software. If the hardware is great, that’s good too… and the bonus is you can charge whatever you want.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Apple hardware (as was once said about cigarettes and nicotine) is nothing more than an amazingly well made delivery device for ios.

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