Since the initial release of Apple’s iPhone in January 2007 and its subsequent mega rise, the innovative tech giant revolutionized the global smartphone market, thanks to the introduction of the first touchscreen interface. While the competition has been stiff, for almost six years Apple has managed to surpass every major smartphone competitor, until most recently.
Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Samsung Electronics is succeeding on “closing the coolness gap” that Apple has held a commanding lead on. Due largely in part to the Samsung Galaxy series, which introduced devices that finally brought Samsung to the point where it could compete with Apple, the deep-pocketed Korean company utilized a combination of trial and error experimentation on the novelty side and a brilliant dose of marketing savvy. In late January, Samsung Electronics posted a 76% profit surge in the fourth quarter, a record high on the strength of smartphone sales, including its Galaxy S line, proving to the global smartphone market that they are a driving force in this space.
Meanwhile Apple reported flat earnings for the holiday quarter, reigniting concerns about the demand for its newest release, the iPhone 5, and sending stocks tumbling down further since hitting an all-time high two days before the iPhone 5 launched in stores in September. Despite Samsung's advances, Apple still generates higher revenue, and its profit in the latest quarter was twice as large as Samsung's. The Wall Street Journal reports Apple's market value at $413 billion, nearly double Samsung's $217 billion market cap.
So, if Apple is still one of the leading global brands and demand remains strong, why all the fuss? The newest pundit meme in high tech is wondering whether the iPhone is losing its shine. Backed by an aggressive marketing campaign during the iPhone 5 release, Samsung convincingly sways consumers as the “next big thing,” while taking clever jabs at Apple, causing plenty of iPhone users to switch allegiance. Samsung also embraces Apple’s main competitor, Android, the OS introduced by Google, as of May 2012, Android officially overtook Apple as the OS market leader and because of Samsung's recent surge in smartphones, many app developers are now focusing more attention on Samsung devices. And finally, the affordability factor of Samsung devices over iPhones is a win every time with consumers.
The takeaways from this neck and neck race? Both companies have managed to combine the basics of business to get ahead: Innovation, Marketing and Consumer Satisfaction. Samsung had to reinvent itself from the inside out, and focus on what it knew consumers wanted. Apple developed on existing technology, integrated it into a series of products from the iPhone to the iPad, and created an air of anticipation of what was next to come. Hard work always pays off in the end and both companies are definitely winning on all sides.
I would like to thank Kymberly Sheckleford for preparing this article with me. Kymberly is a Marketing Analyst at C2G Resourcing a subsidiary of Consultants 2 Go, LLC. Don’t forget, you can email me at Peggy@Consultants2Go.com with any questions you might have and I’ll be glad to answer them. You can also follow me and my business on Twitter @peggymchale and @consultants2go.