Today, Techcrunch's John Biggs has penned a controversial article suggesting that Samsung is on track to become "the next Apple." Citing Samsung's various successes with smartphone and television sales, Biggs suggests that Samsung may be moving toward a media environment akin to Apple's iTunes ecosystem. In and amongst Biggs' fairly unreasonable argument, he writes:
This isn’t about Android or iOS or Windows Phone – it’s about Samsung making and selling millions of phones to millions of people. Samsung is mercenary. They’re happy to use anyone’s OS as long as it puts phones into boxes and boxes into shopping bags.
The arrival of CES this week has prompted an outpouring of negativity toward the consumer electronics industry's propensity toward rapid product obsolescence, unreasonable product cycles, and poorly planned products. Samsung, regardless of its various successes, is renowned for the perpetuation of such characteristics. Insofar as the company is a "mercenary," Samsung lacks dedication to its own products just as much as it lacks dedication to a sole operating system.
For as long as Samsung competes against itself for product sales, it will fail to build a compelling and encompassing environment. Releasing multiple iterations of the same fundamental laptop concept per year, repeatedly and unnecessarily updating televisions, and peddling so many phones that an absurd naming convention becomes requisite are hardly the practices of a company meticulously conscious of its image and its consumer.
Samsung's flagship devices are on the market for mere months before being quickly shoved into a lesser light by their younger, sleeker siblings, thus relegating former products to pathetic support page memoriams, infrequent updates, and eventual obsolescence. While some of these products might be objectively good, without control over the software, Samsung lacks the latitude to provide and facilitate lengthy support lifetimes for its devices.
Until Samsung can shed its existence as a "mercenary" company, it is impossible for Samsung to become the next Apple. Regardless of your opinions of Apple, it is easy to identify and appreciate the extent of control, thought, and consistency across its product lines.
Samsung, on the other hand, is in the business of selling all the devices, appliances, and televisions that it can push out the door. Sure some of those might incorporate some novel concepts, but without lasting support or a dedicated ecosystem, Samsung lacks the ability to swivel its "good products" into an Apple-esque ecosystem. Interaction between devices is merely scratching the surface, and is simply and unquestionably not enough to compete on the same scale as Apple.
Moreover, limiting product release cycles, extending support, and developing its own ecosystem of complimentary media and software are paths that Samsung has chosen to avoid, and are paths that, in all likelihood, Samsung will continue to ignore.
Samsung has a winning model, but it is certainly nothing like Apple's. Nor should it be.