The number speaks pretty loud, even for an international company worth billions.
So, with one of Samsung’s billions dropping off its balance sheet, the Internet went ablaze about the verdict, claiming it was the end of technological innovation, the end of civility, the end of… well… everything. The evil giant, Apple, had single-handedly killed progress across the globe.
Settle the #@!% down.
The premise that Samsung somehow represented innovators is patently (yes, pun intended) false. In fact, there is very little about Samsung that any true innovator in their right mind would claim to sharing. What Samsung managed to do was hold their best product up against Apple’s and decide that Apple’s would forever dominate if things remained the same.
Now, to Samsung’s credit, it did something about the problem — unlike our friends at Research In Motion that turned a blind eye. Samsung wanted to look like the best and went after it. Unfortunately, Samsung copied the wrong thing.
They saw in the iPhone a tremendous product and sought to emulate it — to compete side-by-side in a market that was clearly changing in Apple’s favor. In doing so, Samsung ignored Apple’s (read: Steve Jobs’) warnings about its patents. Fast forward five years and everyone says Apple’s a horrible company, despite the fact that many of the same protestors now were convinced Apple had no shot in the mobile communications world in the first place.
So what should Samsung have copied? It should have copied Apple.
No, not the iPhone. Not the logo. Not other products or really anything tangible. Samsung was in the perfect position to truly give Apple a run for its money, but it squandered its opportunity by copying a product. What Samsung should have done was change its philosophy toward consumer electronics.
The meeting should not have been, “how can we make a phone like the iPhone,” but rather, “how can we serve customers that aren’t getting what they want or need from the iPhone?”
The iPhone, like any product, make sacrifices. Samsung, or any other phone maker, was not required to make the same sacrifices with their products. Why didn’t Samsung, or RIM for that matter, set out to make a phone that completely different, but just as compelling, as the iPhone?
What every company should be doing, what Samsung should have done, what, astoundingly, no one seems to be doing, is copying Apple’s philosophy. Watch every interview with Sir Jony Ive and take notes. Watch every product introduction that Steve Jobs gives and take notes. Watch every ad. Take notes.
Apple has given away its biggest secret time and time again and yet no one will admit that it could be that simple. And that’s just it. Simplify. Focus. Sacrifice less. Care more. Prepare. Understand. Take the lead. Make what you see better, not the same. Re-imagine — not just what something looks like, but what it feels like, how it’s used, why we need it, and who will obtain joy from it.
That’s all it is. I love Apple. I love how the company operates and what it stands for. It makes beautiful products that make my life better. All that to say, I would love to have to decide between Apple and another company that had the same ideals, the same focus, and the same ability to capture consumer wants and needs. Because, if that happens, we will have some truly innovative devices in our lives.