20140812

Freebies in? Mojo out!

If you're a frequent flyer on these miserable errlines (believe me, I feel your pain), you've been prepared years ahead for Apple's and Samsung's troubles.

The Apple case is very simple: Cupertino lost the leadership in smartphones the day they decided not to open their platforms to other manufacturers. You can't beat manufacturers and users demographics, and the Android community was bound to catch up very quickly.

For Samsung, the "Nokia Syndrom" hits a leader that can't cover all bases when commoditization strikes. It's not how far you stretch in today's range of products, but how deep you stretch into tomorrow's value chains. Nokia kept churning out great stuff from its research centers, yet didn't convert them into innovations because the leadership forgot to focus on innovation itself. Samsung is very much aware of the need to extend its leadership into fields more sustainable than hardware design, but that's easier said than done (Bada? Tizen?). And as smartphones become commodities, it's getting harder to differentiate from Chinese or Indian players that can themselves sell massively and invest massively in research (Xiaomi, Micromax... Motorolax?).

If plummeting market shares are only sanctions from the market, giving away freebies remains the ultimate sign that a leader is losing its mojo. Significantly, the freebies that signaled the end of the race for innovation leadership came in the form of cash for shareholders (see "Apple - the end of the affair"). Samsung chose to bribe endusers instead, by giving away gifts across Southeast Asia markets (see "" - WSJ 20140811). 

A quick fix before the next big hit. Maybe the Galaxy Note 4 next month, supposedly a LG G3 killer that could come in flat and curve versions, and preferably unbuzz the upcoming Apple iPhone 6.

But again*, we're talking Fall/Winter collections here, not game changers.

mot-bile 2014

* remember "Apple's Ready to Ware v. Fast-Fashion"?



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