Help needed please

Discussion in 'General Smartphone/Handheld/Wearable Discussion' started by anetazz, Apr 8, 2013.

  1. anetazz

    anetazz Newbie

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    I'm currently writing my bachelor thesis at college. The topic is: Strategic management. Since I'm a big fan of smartphones, I decided to write about Apple, Samsung and Nokia. I've compared their recent market shares, profits, etc.. But I would like to ask for help concerning their strategies. I'd like to know different opinions. Why do you think Samsung's and Apple's strategies are successful, while Nokia's isn't?

    Thanks a lot for your answers.

  2. scjjtt

    scjjtt A Former Palm User

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    Aneta, you came to a good place for information. Many here across the years have discussed your question as they even had the products from the companies you have mentioned. They will be able to help you with your thesis. By the way, good luck with it.

    I'll simply point out that Apple kept it simple with apps that worked and provided great hardware. Many of us here at Brighthand like some of the freedom that other Operating Systems give us - but I believe that most of the public would rather pay, for an instance, $1 for a song or $5-$15 for a movie rather than going through all the steps to convert music and movies that they may already had purchased (let alone all the legal and moral questions that arise from that). When Apple's products came out, people were able to enjoy on their product what geeks (not a negative term here) were enjoying manipulating their phones. It's like driving a car - I don't care how it all works - I just want to put my key in the ignition and go. Apple products really provided such an experience for people in my opinion which lead to their strong early success.

    As you know, the smartphone market has grown and continues to grow. Other companies, like Samsung, have done the same as Apple has plus going further making products that give the customer choices in size and performance. I believe that Apple will have to be making some changes in the near future if they are going to hold onto their success.

    Again, good luck on the thesis. I'm just saying hi and maybe getting things started here for you. The people here at Brighthand will definitely provide you with more information than you can imagine.

    -- Sent from my TouchPad using Communities
    Mi An likes this.
  3. r0k

    r0k Dazed

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    Welcome to Brighthand, anetazz!

    Bachelor thesis? What's your major? How many credits? Getting information from us may help you understand the topic but forum posts don't fit well with APA standards for references. I suggest you take the responses you get here (and on other forums such as Macrumors and Phandroid) and use them to get you pointed in the right direction for your research. This should make it easy for you to zero in on articles at sites like ars and wsj tech blogs that are more suitable for reference in a thesis.

    Apple's strategy is somewhat complex. They insist on thinking of themselves as a hardware company rather than a content or a software company. iTunes exists to sell iPods and iPhones, not mainly to profit on music or movies. To me this has led to some mistakes on Apple's part. For instance, Amazon has no doubt they are a content company and they view the Kindle as a way to push the sale of more books (and music and apps). This means you can get the Kindle software on competing platforms like Android and iOS. It is unthinkable for Apple to make iBooks available on anything but iPads and iPhones because Apple hasn't (yet) figured out how to be a content company. And this is despite the fact the entire music industry recognizes Apple as the 800 pound gorilla in the room when it comes to music content. Nevertheless Apple's strategy continues to be successful because their underlying philosophy is to make the user delighted with their product by "weeding out" trivial variances up front and presenting a simple interface that appeals to 95 percent of the people. It doesn't bother Apple one bit that 5 percent of users are fuming because they can't change this or that thing in iOS because they have a simple easy to use product that even a senior citizen can use and understand. An important strategy for Apple that paid off was the priority in putting a true desktop browser experience in a handheld device. If you watch Steve Jobs talk about iPhone in his 2007 speech, he spends a lot of time touting the browser. Keep in mind that at the time, most mobile web relied on "WAP" which was a dumbed down, nothing works version that left users (including me) frustrated.

    Samsung is a hardware company that is content to get its software from Google... For now. Just as Google's Chrome browser recently "forked" off of webkit, I think it is only a matter of time before Samsung forks their OS off of Android. Samsung wants to beat Apple, and to me it seems clear they think the first step in that process is to BE Apple.

    Nokia, Nokia, Nokia. Only a few years ago they were the 800 pound gorilla in the cell phone space. Not just the smart phone space but the entire cell phone space. What injured (killed?) Nokia is the same thing that kills many companies: Complacency. They kept shipping devices based on their home grown OS and even tried a very Palm-like spinoff of their OS to no avail. Next to iOS and Android, nothing Nokia had to offer passed muster with end users. No Nokia finds itself using a Microsoft OS that while very nice doesn't compete well with iOS and Android.

    Blackberry. Blackberry. Blackberry. Another company found asleep at the switch is RIM. They were the 800 pound gorilla in the smartphone space and had a fanatic loyal following. Most of whom have moved on to iOS or Android. BB10 just came out and while it does impress it doesn't sell particularly well. Blackberry (the company formerly known as RIM) eked out a modest profit on BB10 but the jury is out as to whether they will be around a year or two from now.

    Palm. Alas poor Palm was the company that (arguably) invented the smartphone by burying Apple's Newton with their highly successful Palm Pilot and then followed it up with the highly successful Treo series of smartphones. They are the only one in this bunch that are actually extinct thanks to malignant intervention on the part of HP. Don't get me wrong. It isn't all HP's fault. It's just that when Palm's myriad of screwups had caught up with them and the company was on life support, HP came along with what initially looked like a bailout but turned out to be a headstone.

    Company      Strategy             Health
    Apple           Hardware               A+
    Samsung      Hardware               A+
    Nokia           Hardware               D+
    Blackberry    Hardware/Services   D-
    Palm           Hardware                F
    Google         Advertising             A
    Microsoft      Software               B
    Amazon        Content                A
    scjjtt likes this.
  4. Mi An

    Mi An Nexus Refugee

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    A big part of Apple's smartphone success came as the result of timing. Touchscreens were not always the primary method of input on smartphones, and for those platforms where it was, it tended to be stylus driven rather than finger driven. The move to capacitive touchscreens and the new consumer market it opened up forced everyone to alter their software interfaces, and companies that had been successful before that period failed to adapt very quickly. Microsoft, Palm, Nokia and RIM were all prominent players who failed to understand how important it was to quickly update to a friendlier interface, for a broad consumer market, rather than the narrow business and enthusiast market they had been serving.

    Apple didn't have to make this transition. They were building their first smartphone interface as the capacitive screen was ready for the mass market. They had very strong branding from past products, and a good reputation even among folks without any Apple products. To wit, they had no baggage from pre-capacitive era holding them back.

    Nokia, on the other hand, was a massively successful player in the olden days. Their strategy then looks a lot like Samsung's strategy now: build everything anyone could possibly want. I can't point to any company with a broader portfolio of devices than Samsung, and the same could be said of the old Nokia. Smartphones, dumbphones, qwerties that flipped, twisted, winged, tilted and everything else. They had amoleds, LCDs, super small phones, every shape and size imaginable. Their success in the old area also gave them baggage. When you do something for a long time, and succeed at it, there's a reluctance to change too much too fast. So when the industry came to a point of divergence, Nokia failed to adapt quickly enough. Their interface could be muddled and confused, with apps varying in compatibility with every new device. Nokia started to look dated, found their old Symbian operating system couldn't keep up, and began experimenting without committing to lots of different OSs, including a new, incompatible Symbian, maemo, meego... and indecision reigned.

    But bear in mind that Smartphone strategy success is a lagging indicator. Just as RIM and Nokia retained a massive install base advantage well after it was obvious that Apple was the new hotness, Nokia's current strategy hasn't had long enough to be called a success or failure. I think the jury is still out on the move to and focus on Windows Phone. Microsoft itself has only just started to see growth again as an OS. Prior to very recently, we were still seeing marketshare drops based on people dropping the old Windows Mobile devices.

    Also bear in mind that everyone started at a different place. Samsung's starting place is a little between Nokia's and Apple's. They had devices in the old order of operating systems (see Omnia), but they weren't a big player, so they didn't have Apple's completely fresh start, but they didn't have much baggage either. They also didn't have Apple's reputation. While Apple's iPhone was popular before anyone had ever seen it, based on the success of the iPod, and they were able to grow really fast with a carrier exclusive, Samsung's Galaxy S didn't have nearly so much leverage. Samsung's rise in the post-resistive (resistive is the type of touchscreen used before capacitives) era looks a lot like HTC's rise in the pre-capactive era. They kowtowed to the carriers and got as wide a release as possible. The first Galaxy S was branded differently by pretty much every carrier, and carrier's love rebranding, it gives them the ability to look like they're the only one's offering the Fascinate or the Captivate or the whatever. After selling really well, Samsung had the leverage to strengthen the Galaxy S brand, so their flagship doesn't get renamed anymore.

    Samsung's big differentiator (among competing Android makers) at the outset was probably AMOLED screen technology. People saw the rich colors next to washed out LCDs on other devices and were drawn to it. Samsung built on this initial success by constantly branching out, refreshing and varying existing handsets and adding as many features as they could think of (S Pen, air view, multiwindow to name a few). It would be difficult to count the number of devices Samsung has, and though their Galaxy S and Notes get most of the press, they have more sales in the mid and low ranges with Galaxy Grands, S2 refreshes, Galaxy pockets and Ys and retros and relays, to say nothing of their dumbphone offerings. In this respect, as mentioned earlier, they look a lot like Nokia in the old days. They have something for everyone and they'll try anything.
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