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Is Samsung Really in Trouble?

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Is Samsung Really in Trouble?

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Samsung has more or less dominated the smartphone market in the past couple of years. After a short, yet fruitful reign of the Cupertino based Apple Inc. and their iPhone, Samsung took the pole position and has not wanted to let go ever since then.

With the power of 100% component control, in-house manufacturing and software R&D, Samsung led the rat race thanks to all its strengths. But, just like every other leader in the past, Samsung took the threat of competition lightly. So sure of their position and their loyalties, the Korean manufacturer failed to realise the need of the modern day man.

2014 may have seen less of it, but up until last year it was impossible to go ten days without an announcement from Samsung and that too just the mobile division. With their consumer electronics and home appliances doing their bit separately. Samsung wanted to be present, and today it is present in each and every price segment.

So here is a big question; why has Samsung started to dwindle, why are the consumers against the company they loved so much and what has really happened?

The answer lies in Samsung’s own flawed approach. Even though the company made sure it could tighten its ends and function like a well-oiled single operational unit, too much goodwill from within the organization led to almost zero critical feedback. Everyone in-house was busy appreciating how wonderful they are,  no one telling them where they are wrong.

The Korean giant also failed to answer people’s unanimous need of better-built phones that not only performed well but were also made with the use of premium materials. Samsung failed the consumer’s demand and hope within a brand that people had only just begun to trust. Samsung never changed their design philosophy, making handset after handset to feed the familiarity of the brand.

Note 3 4

A premium phone to create excitement in the flagship market; and then a mid-segment with similar looks and software capabilities to excite and create aspiration for those who could not afford the premium segment. Then there was the down segment shift of the same design to the lowest price point.

Not to say that this strategy didn’t work for Samsung, 2012 and 2013 alone saw an estimated 150+ launches for Samsung Mobile division, that is four times their next closest competitor and 75 times that of Apple Smartphone announcements, being the iPhone 5s and 5c.

2014 was also supposed to be a year of Samsung; many launches and many price segments and many new-magical innovations. But, things like multi-window and air gesture were not going to get attention. Hopes were pegged on a metal built handset with a 2k display, which was supposed to woo the crowd and earn the Korean company millions and millions of dollars with the Samsung Galaxy S5. But, ironically the complete opposite started to happen, the Korean giant started to lose market share and how. The company is worried, to the extent that they have reshuffled policies and opened up board rooms for strategy building. Resources are being spent, and ideas are being made within the company to rebuild the position that Samsung seems to be losing fast.

Samsung knows very well that they failed with the Samsung Galaxy S5, especially in markets like India, where they offered a sub standard and sub performance flagship, which not only quickly dropped in price but also in fan fare.

Samsung lost their prime spot in major markets like China, being overtaken by Xiaomi, and in India thanks to the notorious Micromax Mobile.

What happened?

Lee-Kun-Hee

Lee Kun-hee

Samsung has never been a humble company; employees seem to be trained always to be arrogant and adamant about their policies, and about the position of the company. The beginning of the company itself is said to be tainted by a tale of controversy. Originally started as a trucking business in 1938, by the name of Samsung Trading Co, the company had corrupt ties with war governments trying to give an industrial strength to the country and survived through the war to become what is now a mega company.

The company’s chairman of 25 years, Lee Kun-hee resigned from Samsung in 2008 after being indicted and found guilty of embezzlement and tax evasion in Samsung’s infamous slush funds scandal. It is estimated that the company had over US $200 million in budgets for bribing prosecutors and politicians in favour of Samsung policies and making them blind towards the company’s misconduct.

But how does that play in today’s scenario? and how does that affect us in any manner?

It is speculated that Samsung has kept a stiff upper lip in India since its inception in the early days. The company is said to have deep ties with the Indian government and deeper pockets for the not so honest few in control. Samsung has often managed to bend rules in favour of their products and managing to change laws to better help the company’s growth.

However, while the Korean company was busy playing its deep rooted tactics, a new enemy was lurking in the shadows. Samsung essentially dethroned by local competition in markets they wouldn’t have imagined possible.

Micromax has always been playing catch up with Samsung, playing on the weaknesses of the company and essentially delivering a value for money prospect for the consumer who was sick of the boring design and hardware mix of Samsung. Micromax even brought unibody aluminium phones  to mid and low segment markets while Samsung’s flagships continued to be made out of plastic. (we meant “Polycarbonate painted – er – plastic”)

In China on the other hand, Samsung never considered Xiaomi a threat, assuming that the company would never reach production requirements of the market. Most investment specialists and market reach firms estimated that Xiaomi would fizzle out in less than a year from inception. But just like Nokia back in the day, these people were wrong, very wrong; Xiaomi dethroned Samsung to gain not only the current position but as the leader in the Chinese market. The company has secured millions of pre-orders of their upcoming phones, the Redmi and the Mi4, ensuring them success and a tight position on the top of the chain for a few months if not years.

Xiaomi mi3 Review 0

Xiaomi has also seen success in markets like India where they have managed to gather interest of the consumer, although largely lacking supply. The Indian market may not be that forgiving to the company if their current policy of sale of phones continues. However, this has set rolling the notion for a perfect budget phone, making companies like Samsung with red-rock strategies of selling dated products for newer markets obsolete.

The reign of Samsung is far from over, in-fact the company may as well be in a great place to play its strengths and recover market share with ease. The lack of great phones hasn’t helped the Korean manufacturer, and with their flagship of 2014 fizzling out in the market, Samsung will need new products and cut throat pricing strategy to regain their stronghold in markets like India. With players like Motorola, Xiaomi and Gionee playing catch-up in India, Samsung may have their work cut out for them.

Their previous relationships with their distribution and end retail chain are also in the swamp, and the company is having a real hard time coping with the situation. With all eyes perched on the new Note 4, Samsung may have more on the line than ever before. If the Korean smartphone maker fails to deliver in their monopolised category, they might have a tough time recovering. Samsung India plans to play a lot more in the online space, which initially was being ignored by the Korean company, and if previous examples have taught us anything, we know India is more than ready for e-commerce.

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About The Author
Bharat Nagpal
Founder and Chief Editor of iGyaan. Bharat likes to keep on top of technology ! Follow Him on Google Plus : Google+
89 comments
Aayaan Khan
Aayaan Khan

hii bharat, i want to konw that after resgistration of xiaomi mi 3 on Flipkart how i know my registration of mi 3 is accepted... and how i knoow now i can buy mi 3..

Aayaan Khan
Aayaan Khan

hii bharat, i want to konw that after resgistration of xiaomi mi 3 on Flipkart how i know my registration of mi 3 is accepted... and how i knoow now i can buy mi 3..

klintondc
klintondc

rajatgaur R&D's are bound to backfire.Thats why they are called R&D.So that they can improve a product and invest in it.It doesn't always work,but they do try. Agreed with your point on TouchWiz and Plastic.

ImJC
ImJC

My story in the last 18 months , After being a happy user of Note 1 and Note 2 , I got carried away with one such article last year and decided to dump polycarbonate for premium phones. As I had to sell my Note 2 because I got a good deal and i5 was costing around 50 went for a micromax canvas in the interim which started showing issues in 2 weeks of buying. Battery 30% to zero in few seconds and phone turning off.Gave it to service centre and after waiting for three weeks due to lethargic after sales service of Micromax decided for one more low brand Celkon Signature. I was happy with the phone and meanwhile got 7k from Micromax (as those idiots lost my phone and had to write to their micromax team etc etc thats another part of the story and struggle for 6 months). one day the battery burnt when i was sleeping. I had no time this time to run around celkon customer support so just bought a battery and sold the celkon too and decided to go for a  i5 after managing the money. Due to my greed bought one imported factory unlocked from Ebay instead of apple store to save 5k and it was one damn nighmare. Phone blacking out every now and then , Poor battery back-up and signal issues, last but not the least size matters, very soon i realised that After Note 1 and 2 the i5 was like a toy for me so i traded that as well and bought an HTC M7 dual sim version , M7 which has so many positive reviews both for performance and looks. Very soon i realized that the ultra pixel technology was a joke, poorest battery back up , heats well during heavy usage and it can be felt due to metal body however was pleasing myself everytime looking at the build quality, one fine day the phone slipped from my hand inside the car and the digitizer cracked by falling just two feet down. I felt like damn to the build quality and started struggling to search for the screen. Only after breaking the screen I realized how pathetic HTC after sales support is and started searching for the digitizer in various mobile service centers. finally landed myself in Jagadish market one of Indias , hyd well known mobile hubs and finally got a screen for 7k , however many technicians refusing to service an HTC one because of its complicated construction inside , however finally I got it replaced and I am managing with it. The last one year I have been thinking every now and then..Damn !!!! I should have bought the Note 3.......

Kaushik D Choudhury
Kaushik D Choudhury

In next 5-10 years brands like Motorola,Xiaomi and more such brands will rule the Indian market of smartphones.Mark my words!

Kaushik D Choudhury
Kaushik D Choudhury

In next 5-10 years brands like Motorola,Xiaomi and more such brands will rule the Indian market of smartphones.Mark my words!

Rupesh Ravlekar
Rupesh Ravlekar

Please stop the production of samsung company in the India. Our Micromax., xolo mobile is much better than this samsung dump mobilephone

Rupesh Ravlekar
Rupesh Ravlekar

Please stop the production of samsung company in the India. Our Micromax., xolo mobile is much better than this samsung dump mobilephone

anilkigal
anilkigal

well samsung is making fool of Indian customers from a long time No QUALCOMM snapdragon processer for indian phones only shitty Exonys and with much higher cost and in US and other market they sell snapdragon

anilkigal
anilkigal

well samsung is making fool of Indian customers from a long time No QUALCOMM snapdragon processer for indian phones only shitty Exonys and with much higher cost and in US and other market they sell snapdragon

Aditya Sharma
Aditya Sharma

After using GALAXY S4, Note 2, Note 3 and GALAXY Grand 2, conclusion says Samsung SUCKS!

Aditya Sharma
Aditya Sharma

After using GALAXY S4, Note 2, Note 3 and GALAXY Grand 2, conclusion says Samsung SUCKS!

Aditya Sharma
Aditya Sharma

Samsung is thr WORST ever company to produce Mobile Phones!

Aditya Sharma
Aditya Sharma

Samsung is thr WORST ever company to produce Mobile Phones!

Mridushman Sahariah
Mridushman Sahariah

wat r u saying? (Samsung) can,t be trouble .But it can be trouble with the Price & the screen with huge amount of money u has got a pretty little display and event in 8,000 rupees u do not get a flash. the camera mega pixel gives only 2. The samsung dot not hve any problem with the features & while playing games but it has only the problem with screen. Nce question dude (y)

Mridushman Sahariah
Mridushman Sahariah

wat r u saying? (Samsung) can,t be trouble .But it can be trouble with the Price & the screen with huge amount of money u has got a pretty little display and event in 8,000 rupees u do not get a flash. the camera mega pixel gives only 2. The samsung dot not hve any problem with the features & while playing games but it has only the problem with screen. Nce question dude (y)

TroubleShooterAnkur
TroubleShooterAnkur

my brother sold grand due to heavy lag, it even can't open facebook app.  And sold it for 12 thousand in just 6 months.  Samsung is cheating the Indians.

TroubleShooterAnkur
TroubleShooterAnkur

Samsung, you did enough trade in India and also did enough cheating. 


Time to leave India ! BByee

TroubleShooterAnkur
TroubleShooterAnkur

Samsung, you did enough trade in India and also did enough cheating.  Time to leave India ! BByee

RamkumarNatarajan
RamkumarNatarajan

gionee is better...love my s5.5...made of metal and glass...slimmest ph in the world...none can acheive that slimness...samsung phones looks cheap before this phone..

srattan
srattan

At least for India, Samsung has been cheating the customers in a pretty indecent manner.  Firstly Indian consumers are their guinea pigs, they release exynos only devices here and their costs are prohibitive, much premium than they charge in other countries with better hardware.  


Next, their business approach is sell only.  I bought S4 last year during the initial release period, its LCD glass started peeling off, though there was no physical damage and no matter which service centre I went none resolved my problem.  So much for a high end device from a world class company.  That was it.  


Samsung may not realise it, but there are many disgruntled consumers like me.  I am proud that I prevented at least six new potential high end Samsung buyers from buying Sammy phones.  I loved every moment of it.


Will Samsung learn?

srattan
srattan

At least for India, Samsung has been cheating the customers in a pretty indecent manner.  Firstly Indian consumers are their guinea pigs, they release exynos only devices here and their costs are prohibitive, much premium than they charge in other countries with better hardware.   Next, their business approach is sell only.  I bought S4 last year during the initial release period, its LCD glass started peeling off, though there was no physical damage and no matter which service centre I went none resolved my problem.  So much for a high end device from a world class company.  That was it.   Samsung may not realise it, but there are many disgruntled consumers like me.  I am proud that I prevented at least six new potential high end Samsung buyers from buying Sammy phones.  I loved every moment of it. Will Samsung learn?

Kaushal Jhobalia
Kaushal Jhobalia

yeah, this is in real trouble, I am the owner of grand, no kitkat, phone lags like hell

TroubleShooterAnkur
TroubleShooterAnkur

my brother sold grand due to heavy lag, it even can't open facebook app. 


And sold it for 12 thousand in just 6 months. 

Samsung is cheating the Indians. 

Kaushal Jhobalia
Kaushal Jhobalia

yeah, this is in real trouble, I am the owner of grand, no kitkat, phone lags like hell

Siddharth Keshari
Siddharth Keshari

in the case of smart phones manufacturing, all phones have similar typical design being the only difference is size of phone. Secondly the price which Samsung fixes is really high & the same quality phone by other brands are available in lower prices. Samsung needs to work hard in their R&D. Look for Lenovo, the new initiative in smartphone, at-least they have some different designs for each phone.

Siddharth Keshari
Siddharth Keshari

in the case of smart phones manufacturing, all phones have similar typical design being the only difference is size of phone. Secondly the price which Samsung fixes is really high & the same quality phone by other brands are available in lower prices. Samsung needs to work hard in their R&D. Look for Lenovo, the new initiative in smartphone, at-least they have some different designs for each phone.

GurnoorMann
GurnoorMann

I have the note 2 and i can say that its a good phone in every way .it is a premium phone .what i dont like about samsung is that they give india octacore processors instead of the snapdragon.if they are not going to give us the best tech for the price we pay i think its better to opt for sony .thats the only problem that i have with samsung .

GurnoorMann
GurnoorMann

I have the note 2 and i can say that its a good phone in every way .it is a premium phone .what i dont like about samsung is that they give india octacore processors instead of the snapdragon.if they are not going to give us the best tech for the price we pay i think its better to opt for sony .thats the only problem that i have with samsung .

Anand Nayak
Anand Nayak

Its inventory has become bigger than the demand...

Anand Nayak
Anand Nayak

Its inventory has become bigger than the demand...

rajatgaur
rajatgaur

klintondc Its not just pricing that Samsung needs to correct. Sluggish TouchWiz and the plastic design are another two problems. And as far as the extra expenditure on R&D is concerned, I've seen many times R&D backfires on these big companies. Take for example, HTC One M8's two rear cameras.

Socrateszero
Socrateszero

Krish_881 Not the usual gushing blurbs & hype

Socrateszero
Socrateszero

@Krish_881 After a long time some1 in the media has tried to do a in depth study of happenings in the Indian phone market.

Socrateszero
Socrateszero

Krish_881 After a long time some1 in the media has tried to do a in depth study of happenings in the Indian phone market.