Samsung, Enough Already!
I guess I have something to get off my chest about the Apple vs. Samsung dispute. I can’t consider myself an insider but I did live “that life” for a while. I worked at Palm and Palmsource (the Palm OS company) while the smartphone revolution was just getting started and I watched as all the industry players were setting their course.
I’ve visited Nokia in Helsinki during the dead of winter when you only get about 3 hours of daylight because you are so far away from the equator; I’ve been to Samsung in Suwon where their cafeteria manages to feed tens of thousands of factory workers during a lunch hour frenzy that is so well orchestrated that the cafeteria should be classified as a factory too; I’ve met with Ericsson (does anyone even remember who these guys are?); I’ve even met HT Cho, who tried to convince me that HTC stands for “high tech computer” when I joked with him about naming a company after his own initials, long before they thought about using Android to become a smartphone player.
Apple was not even a maybe, not even a dark horse back in those days. And then, in 2007, that all changed. Apple went from ZERO products or phone market share to launching the hottest product lines in the space and creating a tsunami wave of customers who helped drive them to become the new leader in the space.
I’m reminded of the words from one of my mentors, Jim Rohn. He equates opportunity and difficulty to the wind that blows a sailboat along the sea. He says that the same winds blow on us all (the economic, political, and social environments, etc) so it’s not the wind that determines where one ends up in life, it’s the set of the sail.
Understand this, Apple started with NOTHING. They didn’t make PDAs that morphed into phones (like Palm); they didn’t have a vast product line of “dumb” phones from which to build upon (like Samsung and Nokia, etc); they didn’t invent and manage the cell phone tower technology (like Ericsson and Motorola). Apple had just a small group of innovative engineers and designers who were obsessed with creating a new paradigm for how to interface with your phone, both through its design aesthetics and through it’s intuitive software.
They were able to think so far outside the box as to create the first generation iPhone with an entirely new approach to industrial design of the hardware to the software and user navigation. Apple wouldn’t even let AT&T sell it through their channel; you were an Apple customer and had to go to them for all purchases and support. This had never been done before! It was unimaginably ingenious and nobody had seen it coming. Certainly nobody believed that a non-player like Apple would generate such an earthquake in the phone industry.
In 2007 all the players I mentioned above and the many others that I didn’t mention all collectively said “Crap, this iPhone thing is a game-changer.” So Samsung’s best response was to copy what Apple was doing in hardware and product design? I’m not surprised at the iPhone knockoffs by the Taiwan and Chinese “cloners” who have been at it for decades, but frankly, I expect more from Samsung.
Enough already, Samsung. Stop your crying and complaining. Get innovating. Apple came into a market where you were dominating and ate your lunch by out innovating you. They didn’t copy your designs to get there. Just admit the loss and move on. You make everything from refrigerators to ocean liners, from televisions to photocopiers. Surely you have more resources at your fingertips than Apple. Get back to work and create something stunning of your own design! The world is waiting.
-Mark (just my 2 cents)