Amir Efrati for WSJ:
But Mr. Rubin also said Samsung could become a threat if it gains more ground among mobile-device makers that use Android, the person said. Mr. Rubin said Google’s recent acquisition of Motorola Mobility, which makes Android-based smartphones and tablets, served as a kind of insurance policy against a manufacturer such as Samsung gaining too much power over Android, the person said. Google said Mr. Rubin wasn’t available for an interview.
I mean, how much more ground would Samsung have to gain? It absolutely dominates the Android landscape right now:
Samsung has increased its lead in Android-based smartphones, claiming 40.2% of the market in the fourth quarter, up from 38.7% a year earlier, according to IDC. Huawei Technologies Co. was in second place, with 6.6%, the same as a year earlier.
Basically everything in this article is the opposite of what Google has said publicly on the matter, but none of it should be surprising.
The news will probably send the stock plummeting another 20%.
But really, some interesting NPD data here reported by Neil Hughes for AppleInsider:
Apple’s revenue easily beat out rival Samsung, which came in second with 9.3 percent, up from 7 percent in 2011. The rest of the top five saw their share of revenue fall in 2012: HP dipped from 8.9 percent in 2011 to 8.2 percent last year, while Sony and Dell both slid to 4.4 percent and 3 percent, respectively.
Two are horsemen, the rest are has-beens.
Together, Apple and Samsung accounted for $6.5 billion in increased sales in 2012. Meanwhile, the rest of the consumer technology industry saw sales decline by almost $9.5 billion in the U.S.
The top five categories for consumer electronics in the U.S. were notebooks, flat-panel TVs, smartphones, tablets, and desktop computers. Together, they accounted for 53 percent of sales in 2012, up from 49 percent in 2011.
One of these categories is not like the others…
The only two categories in the top five to see year-over-year growth were tablets and smartphones, markets where Apple competes with the iPad and iPhone.
Perhaps until Apple enters the one market above that they’re not in yet…
Steve Jobs, when trying to lock up a Samsung flash memory deal in 2005, according to sources who spoke with Reuters for their piece on the Apple/Samsung relationship.
One more link to Michal Lev-Ram’s story on Samsung for Fortune to highlight this tidbit:
In the late 1960s Samsung officially entered the electronics business. In the early years the company was known for cheap televisions and air conditioners. That all changed in 1995, when its chairman (and the elder Lee’s son), Kun-Hee Lee, paid a momentous visit to the company’s plant in Gumi, a factory town in south-central Korea. Legend has it that the younger Lee had sent out the company’s newest mobile phones as New Year’s presents and was horrified when word came back that they didn’t work. Later, at Gumi, he made a giant heap of the factory’s entire inventory and had it set on fire.
That’s how you send a message. It reminds me of this Steve Jobs quote:
When I got back here in 1997, I was looking for more room, and I found an archive of old Macs and other stuff. I said, ‘Get it away!’ and I shipped all that shit off to Stanford. If you look backward in this business, you’ll be crushed. You have to look forward.
Justin Denison, Samsung’s VP of strategy and market intelligence, talking to Michal Lev-Ram of Fortune (or CNNMoney or Money or something — who the hell is in charge of this branding?).
Obviously, he’s talking about Samsung’s strategy of partnering on mobile OSes. Most notably, of course, with Android. Just in case you need it spelled out for you, focus on: “up to this point”.
Clare Jim for Reuters reports on HTC’s Q1 projections:
The weaker-than-expected first-quarter revenue outlook follows a 91 percent year-on-year slide in the Taiwanese company’s net profit in the fourth quarter that fell short of analyst forecasts.
Android is an awesome business… for Samsung.
Michal Lev-Ram also dives into Samsung for Fortune. One interesting/humorous tidbit I did not realize:
Samsung, which means “three stars” in Korean, started out as a small supplier of dried fish and noodles in the city of Daegu back in 1938. Eventually the company’s ambitious founder, Byung-Chull Lee, moved the company headquarters to the country’s capital, Seoul, and expanded into new businesses.
Three stars, or as it’s known in America: “meh”.
The mobile device industry is still in its infancy. Samsung’s fate depends largely on how the industry evolves. If the computer-in-your-pocket (smartphone/tablet) business ends up being like the computer-on-your-desk (personal computer) business, Samsung is on track to be the modern Dell. Dell had a good run as the low-cost provider in a highly commoditized business, but the vast majority of the industry profits went to Microsoft.
Good follow up to my thoughts on Samsung’s rise a few weeks back.
“In China, the Apple brand on the iPhone is a status symbol. You’re going to have the Samsung device, which is a nice phone, or you’ll show your friends you have an Apple device. It’s like wearing a pair of Levi’s versus a Costco brand.”
“There wasn’t really a very clear positioning of what Windows RT meant in the marketplace, what it stood for relative to Windows 8, that was being done in an effective manner to the consumer. When we did some tests and studies on how we could go to market with a Windows RT device, we determined there was a lot of heavy lifting we still needed to do to educate the customer on what Windows RT was.”
Farhad Manjoo for Slate on the rise of Samsung:
This flood-the-market strategy isn’t elegant. It can be confusing for customers, a pain for Samsung’s carrier partners, and very difficult for the firm’s engineers and designers to keep up with. It also doesn’t have history on its side. Other firms that have tried the build-everything approach—see Apple in the early 1990s, or Hewlett-Packard over the last decade—eventually begin to lumber under their own complexity.
Yet Samsung’s strategy is extremely well suited to our current tech era. We live in a time of profound transition, when the future of everything is up in the air. The world’s tech-addled masses are switching from desktop devices to mobile ones, from bulky programs to sleek apps, from limited local storage to acres of space in the clouds. When everything is in flux, predicting what will be hot a year from now—“skating to where the puck is going to be,” to quote Steve Jobs quoting Wayne Gretzky—becomes all but impossible. Samsung’s strategy is to put a man at every spot on the ice. Be in enough places and you’re bound to catch something no one was predicting—like, for instance, the world’s bizarre love affair with phablets.
It’s fascinating that, despite copying some of Apple’s products, Samsung’s overall approach is almost the exact opposite of Apple’s (many vs. few). Even more fascinating: it’s working.
For the 20th (!) year in a row, IBM was granted the most patents in 2012.
Google and Apple were both up significantly over previous years — but only came in at numbers 21 and 22 on the list, respectively. Each were granted about 5,000 (!) fewer patents than IBM for the year.
And guess who was number two on the list? The fifth horseman.