Is Samsung about to sing its swan song?

Summary:So long and thanks for all the patent infringement. Samsung, it might be time to sing your Swan Song for mobile tech.

Swans
"Sam, you're the Apple of my i." "I was afraid you'd say something like that."

The typical journalistic answer to any headline question is, "No," but if you've kept up with my posts for very long, you know that I typically thumb my nose at convention and this post is no different. So, the short answer is, "Yes, I'm afraid so." I'm not suggesting that Samsung's loss is a total deal breaker for the entire company but I am suggesting that their mobile device business is, as we say in the country, 'Kaputsky.' Samsung sells a variety of products from home appliances to cameras to televisions. The Doors' song, "The End," keeps echoing in my mind when I think of Samsung now.

The ultimate Swan Song.

Sorry, but I'm a closet hippie at heart--sans the long hair, the ultra-liberal political stance and the tye dye clothes. OK, so maybe I'm not really a closet hippie at all but I like the Doors and I like Samsung but the proverbial writing (from Daniel, not Proverbs) is on the wall for Samsung--at least the Samsung we know.

I think that Samsung has invested a lot of money and time into its mobile group but it's a loss. They can't pick up and do well now. It's time to cast off the flotsam and jetsam and sail for calmer seas. Samsung needs to focus its efforts on its other products.

First, it was Germany banning the sale of Samsung's mobile devices, then the entire European Union. Now, America. There's no market for blatantly copied products. OK, with the exception of knockoff purses, sunglasses and other non-technical items, there's no market.

Actually, maybe there is a market and no one wants to admit it. Perhaps things would have been different for Samsung, if they'd negotiated a deal to license Apple's design. But, Apple has never been known for licensing clones of any kind. There are a few failed companies in the tech boneyard who've tried unsuccessfully.

The problem with Apple products, for most consumers, is the price. They're expensive. Really expensive. When you can buy a "clone" tablet for $249 or less, compared to Apple's $499, it's almost a no brainer what's going to happen. But, no, I'm not a fan of patent infringement nor am I a fan of knockoffs of any kind. Still, I empathize with people who want a nice mobile phone or mobile computing platform but can't afford to pay two to four times Apple's price for one.

As a purchaser of an Apple iPhone 4, two iPhone 4Ss, two iPhone 3GSs and a first generation iPad, I feel your pain.

However, I can also tell you that I'm ecstatic about all of them. My wife loves her iPhone 4S. I can't live without my iPad. The kids love their iPhones. They're not cheap to purchase nor is anyone competing for our monthly service business. We pay a lot for our service--an extreme amount, actually. But, we have the very best App Store, the very best support, the very best Apps and there's a little something special about carrying an iPhone when your counterparts at restaurants or at the mall have cheap imitation ones.

Yes, there's a "snob" factor to it. But, I like Apple products. And, no, they unfortunately don't pay me to write that. They don't have to and they know it. Again, unfortunately.

Also, if you know anything about me, I've not always been a fan of Apple's stuff. I used to give my friend, Jason Perlow, a lot of grief about his Apple fanboydom. He, as usual, is right about Apple kicking everyone else's backside for mobile tech and possibly tech in general. Both of us have vowed to buy Apple ultrabooks for our next PCs. My Acer laptop seems to be hanging on for dear life to prevent that transition but it's going to happen soon (fingers crossed).

If I were Samsung's CEO or on its Board of Directors, I'd suggest dumping the mobile unit and focusing on consumer tech in televisions, home appliances and cameras and hope to God that no one sues us over those.

The bottom line here is that Samsung needs to cut its losses and move on with what it's best at: Consumer Electronics other than mobile.

The consumer electronics market is competitive and if you think that a company like Apple won't sue you for infringement, you're wrong. Apple is the best at what they do and they're not about to allow anyone else to step on that. Historically, they are the innovators, not the imitators. They've always gone after the imitators with a vengeance.

My final thought is this: If you're an electronics company and you want to innovate in the mobile area, don't copy Apple. They'll bust you. Innovate on your own. Build a better mousetrap. I think that's what Apple is saying too. "Don't copy our innovations, come up with your own (if you can)."

[UPDATE] Apple loses patent infringement lawsuit in Japan. --No comment.

Everyone wants to be Prada, Mercedes, Carver Yachts and Apple but you can't be. Be yourself. Be innovative. Don't copy someone else's designs and risk destruction. You can't beat Apple at its game. Redefine the game, find another game to play or sing your Swan Song.

What do you think Samsung should do at this point? Talk back and let us know.

Related Articles:

Samsung's Apple patent loss: The financial hit is manageable

30 years before Samsung: When Apple sued Microsoft

Secrecy bid in Apple vs Samsung lawsuit denied

Apple v. Samsung verdict: What it means

Topics: Apple, Mobility, Samsung

About

Kenneth 'Ken' Hess is a full-time Windows and Linux system administrator with 20 years of experience with Mac, Linux, UNIX, and Windows systems in large multi-data center environments.

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