Samsung just beat Apple in Iphone sales – why is that?

If you follow me on Twitter, you would have seen these tweets over the past few weeks:

Japanese borrowing Western methods?

Crowded runners at Start Area in 2005 Samsung ...
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Now that’s saying a lot, when a company from Korea can outtake Apple in Smartphone sales. But why did this happen? How did this happen? Perhaps we can gain some insights from a Harvard Business Review article:

Here’s one tidbit the article mentions:

“For two decades now, Samsung has grafted Western business practices onto its essentially Japanese system, combining its traditional low-cost manufacturing prowess with an ability to bring high-quality, high-margin branded products swiftly to market.”

America borrowing Japanese methods?

Yet here’s another Tweet I shared on Amazon, from the Business Insider:

Here are some elements Amazon uses:

  • Amazon apologetically builds its business for the long-term, without worrying about what short-term Wall Street traders think.
  • Amazon sacrifices near-term profits for long-term investments, again without worrying about what short-term traders think.

Amazon is successfully borrowing elements of the Japanese business model. Yet we see Samsung incorporating elements of western business into its Japanese model. Yet both businesses are very successful.

See the irony here, folks?

Apple Inc
Image by Phil Bradley via Flickr

In order to be successful, Amazon – am American company – adopts Japanese business methods.

Samsung, which is a Korean company traditionally using Japanese business methods – borrows from American business practices.

Where is the balance here?

Samsung and operations

Here’s an article from Operations Research: The Science of Better:

Speeding up delivery and market time is a great reason. I leave the specifics to the article in question.

What can Apple do to catch up?

Perhaps we can take a clue from a Forbes article:

The article comments on why Samsung overtook Apple:

“This was not surprising considering that Apple had a comparatively weaker last quarter when it could only sell 17 million iPhone units, a sequential quarterly decline of 16%…”

But it goes on to suggest what Apple must do to regain the lead:

“If Apple wants to overtake Samsung, it will need to come out with newer versions of the iPhone at a faster rate and bring new hit features like Siri to its new lineup.”

My thoughts

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I haven’t compared the prices of Samsung and Iphone. I suspect that the Iphone is very expensive. A Samsung phone with the same features is probably much cheaper.

Recently I experienced this with 2 video services. Redbox and Blockbuster Express run movie DVS dispensers. There are many in my area. Both used to have new releases for one dollar.

Recently Blockbuster Express raised their prices for new movies to $2.99. Redbox kept their price at one dollar. They only raised the price to 1.20 for next day rentals. Both have similar movies around the same time.

Guess which service I’m now using?



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