I think the lesson of Nokia's decline is pretty simple: "Don't hire an ex-Microsoft executive to run your company". Nokia probably had a winner with Meego. The Nokia N9 (never made available in the USA) had excellent reviews and won awards. Stephen Elop made sure it was the only Meego device, and insisted Nokia switch to Windows Phones.
@betajet, yes, you are right. But my feeling is that the trouble at Nokia started even a few years before the company hired Elop. So much money and time was poured into the development of various software assets, but the company was never able to come to one strong coherent conclusion, in my opinion. Their software work was spread too wide without much focus.
I'm very impressed by the Samsung LCD TV I got for my parents. The capabilities -- largely embedded in the software -- are quite vast, and the user interface is quite intuitive. For example, I can plug a Flash Drive into the back and the TV will automatically find the cute cat and kitten photos and videos, and I can show them to my techno-phobic parents. They still have some dial phones. Here's a link for readers under 30.
Here's the thing: the TV has an embedded computer and embedded software. The better the software, the less noticable it is. It software is primitive and limited in capability, you notice it. If the software has been carefully engineered to have good default behavior and carefully implemented so that it doesn't crash, you don't notice that the software is there. Everything "just works".
Here's the thing: the TV has an embedded computer and embedded software. The better the software, the less noticable it is.
Well put. I agree. The more unintrusive and invisible the software is, the better the usability of a TV becomes.
That said, I am not quite sure if TV is a good example. TV isn't exactly a kind of product that software can play a key role in differentiating itself. In other words, TV "pops" when its display technology shines.
But when it comes to products like a smartphone, wearables or any other "connected" data-driven devices, they can be more differentiated when they come with interesting software.
The gist of the article is that Samsung has achieved a dominant position by being a "fast follower": identify a market, work very hard to create products better than the what others are doing, and become the dominant player in that market. According to the article, Samsung is now in a leadership position where it has the unfamiliar job of figuring out which way to go next -- it's run out of technologies to follow.
@_hm, really? Automotive electronics is notoriously cost-driven and medical electronics demands a lengathy approval process. Neither strikes me as promising for a big company like Samsung to carry itself into the next decade.
@Junko: There is so much of scope for new development for both auto electronics and consumer medical electronics. They will be consumed by mass market. As regarding margin, if Samsung produces unique prosucts with sensors and high integration they can demand good margin.
@Junko: I was reading news. If not Samsung, Apple is interested in automotive electronics. Rumors are that Apple is in talk with Tesla. Since long I thought so. Apple must look for big market in automotive electronics.
Learn form big company rise and fall, the Hi-tech company should come out new idea every few years. Like Google, it starts with search engine, Google map to Android OS. No Hi-tech company can be follower forever, it can grow only through crazy innovation.
Junko, I'm surprised that you didn't mention Motorola in this article. If you go back in history, Motorola invented the cell phone and was the leader for many years. They dropped the ball and didn't move to digital quick enough and Nokia took the lead. Nokia didn't move to smart phone fast enough and Samsung/Apple took the lead. It looks like Samsung is not sure where to take the market next, so another company will probably take the lead.
Nokia tried to spot the trend with aquasition of Symbian, But could not capitalize on it. Similarly Samsung has spotted the trend. Next big thing seems to be a Watch. Still there is no significant player in Market who is capitalizing on it.
I agree that "wearables" in general is a "big thing." But a (smart) watch? If everyone already has a smartphone with them at all times, where is the need for a smart watch? Would it be a smartphone replacement, or just a glorified fitness tracker? I'm not sure the former is all that practical or desirable, and the latter functionality could be achieved with something far less bulky and obtrusive.
Among wearables, usability-wise, Google glass ranks higher than Watch. However, due to legal troubles and acceptability point of view, I consider Watch more adaptive. Watch+Glass can surely vanish smartphone necessity at all.
I think Samsung and Nokia are two very different companies in their business strategies, presence in hardware and software. Samsung has good presence in other hardware business along with successful smartphone market. They are the biggest supplier to Apple. Dont think how Samsung would see a lesson from Nokia. Nokia could not very well utilize the smartphone market although they were predominatly phone company.
Before Nokia came to be known as a phone company, It was a company supplying CRT tubes for TVs.
When our company launched a TV back in 1992 in India, we were importing 29" CRTs from Nokia for our large size TV models.
As far the comparison between Samsung and Nokia goes , in my opinion each company comes from a different culture , Nokia is a European Company where as Samsung is a Korean company and that definitely differentiates them as far as the thought process, strategy making and forward planning.
Obviously Nokia and Samsung are from different parts of the world and that comes with a certain cultural distinction--but I'm not sure what that means as far as the comparison between the two companies. Is the similarity between the two any less strong because Nokia is European and Samsung Korean? I also happen to think that the connection with Motorola is a strong one--this is a market that evolves drastically, or shifts rather, every five to ten years. It's dificult to stay ahead of the curve, but its also difficult to learn the lesson from companies in prior years who have lost their position because just seeing the problem coming doesn't mean one is in the position to avoid it.
Hidden in all the bad Nokia news is that their Windows phone sales and profits have been rising.
Before Microsoft entered the picture, Symbian sales were starting to fall off of a cliff. Nokia knew that in the modern era, it wasn't enough to have a phone. You had to have a complete cloud solution: appstore, cloud drive, music, maps. They tried to create this for Symbian, but they didn't have the software resources of Microsoft, Google, or Apple. Plus the Symbian OS wasn't up to modern GUIs and apps,
Their Meego phones were always in a 'looks promising' state, and partnering with Intel delayed things so that they were getting further and further behind the fast moving Apple and Android.
They saw their future and it was bleak. They could either build an Android machine or partner with Microsoft. Microsoft came with a lot of cash to help them through the transition. Realistically I don't see how they had any other choice, unless you are writing a fiction book where the good guys always win even when they are highly outnumbered.
Should they have gone Android? I think you need to reverse the headline. Samsung has a lesson for Nokia. Despite being one of the most well known and respected brands, and basically dominating the Android cell phone and tablet market, they are losing money.
As I said, their Windows phone division is growing and profitable.
I agree with tb100, Windows Phone while still quite small in market share is moving ahead. Consumers are very fickle and trends\tastes change.
Who will be the next leader after Samsung and when? That's unknown however, one thing is certain, Samsung like every other empire will have its sunset but it could be years or decades. Also, Samsung is not Nokia, they are very different companies and as such are not equal (Samsung has divisions in dozens of industries).
One very important aspect that they will need to consider is quality of product and experience. Another comment earlier that Samsung products 'just work'.. We got a Samsung smart Blu-ray player for Christmas and within 1 minute of using it, it locked up and did a very good imitation of a brick. It needed a long upgrade just to play a dvd out of the box.
Samsung could face stiff competition from smart phone makers who can make much cheaper phones with a Android. Samsung is definitely dependent on Google and most of the revenue is made by google selling their applications.
@elctrnx_lyf I would agree however, who will manufacture at lower cost than Samsung? They have the best volume and hence the scale. The only way around this is to sell lesser equipment (lesser specs or quality). There is a large herd of companies pushing Android devices and yet Samsung is on top. Android is also not 100% free as many phone manufacturers "license" the OS from MSFT to avoid potential patent lawsuits. I would also be interested to know which company thinks they control the other Samsung or Google..
It's worth pointing out that GSM uptake was very slow in this country, and that Nokia failed to make a dent in the Verizon / Sprint CDMA sales channel. While I was envious of my European colleagues' mini- and slim-form factor feature phones, it was nearly impossible to obtain these through the typical cellular retailers (carrier-owned stores included)here in the United States. Compare this to Apple's exclusive iPhone rollout with AT&T, and one can easily see that (as sad but true) the European manufacturers misunderstood their potential disadvantage in the North American market.
I happily use a Nokia Lumia 1020 (Windows Phone 8 w/ mechanical optics), knowing full well that it's probably my last chance to use a Nokia-branded phone (on AT&T, by the way). There are still many open-source software components that I use (or have used in the past) in my daily work that originated at Nokia (or Trolltech); the same cannot be said for Samsung's open-source contributions.
As regards Samsung's CE business (outside mobile) - I'd be very careful to avoid turning into a Sony, whose junk credit rating should be a lesson that an insular approach, resulting in forced yet massive vertical integration, without some breath of fresh ideas and not-invented-here technology, is not always the best path.
@Junko, If Nokia plans to release android based Nokia phones then it will definitely impact the sales of Samsung phones. Many people still prefer Nokia phones because it provides one of the best hardware features compared to other brand phones.