Steve Jobs exit may change the equations of the Tech markets for ever in very interesting ways.
It is no doubt that the one responsible for making Apple as valuable a company as it is today, is Steve Jobs. He has changed the rules of the tech game. His departure from Apple raises the doubt that it would change global tech equations once and for all.
Firstly Apple, the ones that realized the full potential of the Tablet and smart-phone, is slated to concede space in the same to many rivals, the most prominent being Samsung. And this is at a crucial time when the war for smartphone dominance will determine the future of companies, and the tech world.
Jobs found the most logical suitor in his right hand man Tim Cook. However, no one, not even his arch rival and nemesis Bill Gates, could ever fill in the gap left by Brand Steve Jobs. The man was after all a genius, who saw through issues and in the most commonsensical manner, went about changing things. And the changes he did, completely revamping and revolutionizing the PC, animation, music and smart phone industries in his career. It is not just hard, but literally impossible to fill into his big sized boots.
Yet, beyond all the ones who perhaps celebrated his departure the most, is a company from across the Pacific Ocean in South Korea – Samsung. Samsung’s Galaxy range of smartphones and table PCs that run on Apple rival Google’s Android OS, is the only competitor to Apple’s domination in iPhone and iPads. To understand why, consider this statistics: Samsung’s smartphone sales have risen more than 500% in the second quarter of the year, over three times higher than Apple’s 142% growth in the same time. In comparison, Nokia’s sales dropped 30% further.
Yet, this has to be taken into perspective. Despite the above statistics, Apple sold 1 million more units than Samsung. And though Samsung is way past its other Asian rivals with its total market value of around $110 billion more than Sony, Toshiba and Panasonic combined, it is one third of Apple that is close to $350 billion. Yet, though nowhere close to Apple, what the 500% increase in sales in the last quarter means for the world of technology is that Samsung is catching up, and fast. And with Nokia nowhere in the horizon, Samsung clearly has the edge and benefits most from Steve Jobs departure. The only competition, from upstart rivals in China and Taiwan, like Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp from China and HTC from Taiwan, are far behind.
Thus if there is anyone who can challenge Apple in the SmartPhone market, it is Samsung. And it is in no mood to play it subtle. In the week that Steve Jobs resigned, Samsung unveiled four new cheaper smartphones that are aimed at fast growing emerging markets, challenging both iPhone and even Nokia which in many emerging markets like India is the phone of choice. Nokia, the undisputed leader in mobile phones, had to give up its superiority to both Apple and Samsung in the smartphone segment thus proving that old world rules will no longer apply to the new world smartphone market.
Samsung, however, has a lot of catching up to do in the tablets market with Apple expected to sell four times more tablets than Samsung in 2011. However there are fears that Apple would soon peak out, leaving the ground open for Samsung and LG, both of whom have been in the mobile hardware manufacturing industry for over 10 years now.
And once Apple peaks out who is better than to take its position, than Samsung which, quite ironically, has been providing components for the same iPads and iPhones it is competing against. Last year, Samsung supplied Apple with about $5.7billion in components.
Apple and Samsung, as evident from this last fact, thus share a very uneasy relationship that is filled as much with cooperation as it is with competition. It is thus a matter of extreme irony that the two are at loggerheads. And the near disappearance of Steve Jobs from the equation, obviously will change the global tech game much more than anyone can envisage right now.
April 22, 2013, 5:55 am UTC
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