Since hitting an all-time high of $702.10 in September 2012,
) have experienced a precipitous 40% decline, thanks to a
combination of product fatigue, a perceived lack of new ideas,
botched application launches, and increased competition from its
Indeed, Apple's fall from grace (at least in the eyes of investors)
has largely coincided with the rise of Korean electronics giant,
), whose Galaxy-branded smartphones have become the most popular
mobile devices worldwide this side of the iPhone.
"It's pretty interesting to see just how far [Samsung has] come in
the last few years. I think a lot of that has got to do with the
fact that they're putting out devices on operating systems now that
are pretty stable, reliable, and useful. The devices are great and
they are being marketed well. It's just a perfect combination of
everything coming together," Roy Choi, managing editor of tech news
, told Minyanville.
"At the Consumer Electronics Show this past year, I think Samsung
was the biggest, most populated booth. People were just trying to
get in to see what they had," Choi continued.
According to China-based research firm TrendForce, Samsung shipped
an impressive 65 million smartphones in the first quarter of the
year, which represented close to 30% of the global smartphone
market. Apple, on the other hand, shipped some 37.5 million iPhones
in the same period, nabbing the company a 17.3% share.
) was Apple's archrival during the PC era, Samsung appears to have
beat out others, including
), to become Apple's chief nemesis in the age of mobile devices.
But not everyone thinks that Samsung is Apple's greatest
existential threat. Dr. Richard Windsor, founder of the
mobile-focused blog Radio Free Mobile and a former tech analyst at
Nomura, told Minyanville that he considers
(GOOG) to be the main competitor for Apple in the long run, which
explains why Apple is partnering with
(YHOO) to develop mobile services and reduce its reliance on
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"In the whole mobile ecosystem game, you either make money on
devices and software on the devices, or you make money by
monetizing usage," Windsor said. "Now, Apple makes money by selling
devices and Google makes money by monetizing usage. So at the
moment, they don't really compete against each other. But in the
longer term, hardware is likely to become more commoditized, and
Apple is looking at how to grow their revenue long-term when that
"If you look at a smartphone, every single one in the world is
pretty much a single slab of black glass. There's not much space
for hardware differentiation there, so your ability to make a
superior return just by innovating in hardware is getting more and
more difficult," Windsor continued. Apple, of course, is famous for
its far-superior margins for its iPhones, which was why its recent
earnings report of falling margins have investors concerned.
"Look at the app stores - there are 700,000 apps each on the Apple
app store and the Google Marketplace. So is there much
differentiation to be had by having an app store with lots of apps
on it? Probably not," Windsor elaborated. "This is what things like
iCloud, Mobile Me, and Apple Maps are all about - [Apple's turn
toward] monetizing usage. This is why I think Apple is going to
focus on developing its own services in the next five to ten years
to bring it into competition with Google."
Of course, both Apple and Google would be remiss if they didn't
take Samsung as a serious threat. The current king of Android,
Samsung is well aware of which way the wind is blowing and is
slowly but surely building up its own unique ecosystem to rival
those of Google and Apple.
Later this year, the Korean company will be releasing a non-Android
smartphone that will be powered by Tizen, an open-source operating
system it developed in collaboration with
(INTC). All eyes will be on Samsung to see if Tizen will be an
operating system worthy of a rivalry with iOS and Android.
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