Samsung picks the low hanging fruit
But you don’t have to believe me- Apple itself has admitted as much in its recent lawsuit that it filed against the South Korean electronics giant in which it claims Samsung has "slavishly" copied Apples products. Ouch- that’s gotta hurt!
But did we need a US lawyer to tell us that? Well, maybe the use of the term ‘slavish’ is a touch harsh (damn those overdramatic trademark attorneys) but looking at Samsung’s recently released smart phones, tablets and even the its latest laptop, the uber-sleek Series 9 notebook, which is what you get when you cross a MacBook Air with Lara Croft, maybe Apple is more than just a bit worried.
To top that off, in what can only be described as a deft move, Samsung has designed it’s packaging in a very, well, shall we say Apple-esque kinda way? Not sure what the meaning of that is although I bet the industrial designers over at Apple were unimpressed.
But why is Apple so upset? After all, isn’t copying the sincerest (if not entirely the most legal) form of flattery? Shouldn’t the folks over at Apple be somewhat chuffed that their products are in such high demand that one of the world’s biggest and most progressive companies wants to emulate them both in form and design? Hell no! – In fact there are two important reasons why Apple fears Samsung more than it has ever feared anyone – even Microsoft.
Firstly, unlike Microsoft (and Apple for that matter), Samsung is a manufacturer that makes a heap of gadgetry. From mobile phones, to cameras, interactive whiteboards, printers, laptops, monitors, TV’s, storage devices, sound systems, fridges, vacuum cleaners, microwave ovens and the list goes on.
Apple is entirely focused on laptops, smartphones and online music and while this does provide the company some clearly defined market segmentation it also deprives it of the ability to cater for just about everything a modern home user would need, something that Samsung has no problem in catering to.
So imagine being able to buy a laptop, camera, phone, printer, TV and tablet all from the one company, especially if the products could cross-communicate? We recently saw this type of consumer electronics convergence with Samsung’s latest release of TV’s printers and cameras- all of which can via Wi-Fi or DLNA connect to one another, meaning that eventually there is the promise that no device will remain a standalone ‘dumb’ piece of tech, but rather an integral part of an digital ecosystem, symbiotically interacting with a plethora of other like-branded devices in the home.
Secondly there is the issue of platforms. Whilst Apple hangs on to its proprietary platform such as iOS4 for dear life, Samsung has quietly (and wisely) embraced the Open Source Android platform.
Many experts have been warning for years now that proprietary platforms are like the Dinosaurs- too rigid and too specialized to adapt.
These same learned voices have also been saying that Open Source is the way to go and when companies like Google take note and embrace the Android ecosystem with open arms, you know there must be something in the Open Source theory.
Apple for its part would rather swallow hot razor blades than even consider Android- something that Apple supremo Steve Jobs has intimated repeatedly over the past few years.
All this is of course mere speculation, but considering that Apple wants spend a respectable chunk of its profits to keep legions of US lawyers employed for at least the next 12 to 18 months, you start getting the impression the company may at the very least, be a touch spooked by the likes of Samsung.
To quote Homer Simpson; "No matter how good you are at something, there's always about a million people better than you".