Why Trying to Upstage Apple Could Backfire

Last Sunday, Samsung held a press conference to share why some units of the Galaxy Note 7 caught fire and caused real damage to their phones and their reputation. Although the reason is clearly a technical one, the underlying problem is they did not take the time to do the proper QA to make sure all of the components were tested properly and worked flawlessly in this new model.

More importantly, the reason they did not take the time is they wanted to beat Apple to the market with a smartphone they believed would trump what Apple would bring out in the fall and to try and minimize the damage a new iPhone would have on Samsung’s premium smartphone. Look how that turned out. Not only did they have phones “blow up”, literally and figuratively, it caused a major PR nightmare for the company that was magnified when the FAA banned the Galaxy Note7 from all airplanes and created a constant reminder to the flying public how bad Samsung’s product.

One key message to Samsung and other smartphone makers from this debacle is that trying to beat Apple to the punch to gain mind share without doing serious QA is not only foolish but could be dangerous to the public and the brand. I am still amazed Samsung let this happen, given its history of creating great and safe products. The urge to beat Apple at all costs is just not worth it.

By contrast, Apple’s QA process is precise, thorough, and detailed. They will not bring any product to market unless it meets their high standards for quality and safety. The recent delay in bringing the AirPods to market is a good example. By not getting them to market in a timely fashion for the holiday season, they left a lot of money on the table and caused great frustration to those who really wanted them for Christmas. But Apple’s attention to detail and quality outweighed any profit push. They only brought the AirPods to market when they were actually fine tuned and really ready.

Now, to be clear, Apple has not been perfect in this area. They have had a few missteps with products (remember “Antennagate?) but they were minor compared to what happened to Samsung.

Apple’s competitors need to be realistic about the market and how stumbles could really hurt them. It is one thing to think a company has a great product and believes it will be better than what the competition may bring out. But, in the case of Apple who is so secretive we never really know what they will deliver until they announce it, trying to out guess them and beat them to market without doing the proper due diligence and quality controls is pure folly.

Published by

Tim Bajarin

Tim Bajarin is the President of Creative Strategies, Inc. He is recognized as one of the leading industry consultants, analysts and futurists covering the field of personal computers and consumer technology. Mr. Bajarin has been with Creative Strategies since 1981 and has served as a consultant to most of the leading hardware and software vendors in the industry including IBM, Apple, Xerox, Compaq, Dell, AT&T, Microsoft, Polaroid, Lotus, Epson, Toshiba and numerous others.

One thought on “Why Trying to Upstage Apple Could Backfire”

  1. No argument on the quality points, they are true with or without Apple, but one must try, there are no sacred cows.

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