Apple vs Samsung: A Symbiotic Rivalry
They’re two of the world’s largest, most profitable and most powerful companies. They’re competitors in the most booming industry in the world: tech. They’ve even sued each other. But the futures of Apple and Samsung are surprisingly interconnected.
By Andrew Prescott Kingsbury
How we got here
- Everybody knows Apple was first to the smartphone game. Conjuring an industry from nothing, they released the first iPhone ten years ago in 2007, ambitiously-helmed at the time by the now-fabled Steve Jobs.
- Caught off guard, South Korean electronics giant Samsung immediately realized Apple had created something revolutionary and that it would have to do something to compete. Two years later, Samsung stumbled to a release of the i7500, a weak jab back at Apple’s first blow. But the fight was on. Not until its 2013 high-resolution S4 did Samsung truly become a rival.
- Apple charged that Samsung’s initial smartphone and tablet releases to be copied their design and sued its competitor. A lengthy series of legal battles ensued in courts around the world, culminating in a favorable ruling for Samsung in the US Supreme Court.
- Powered by Google’s Android operating system, starting around 2014, Samsung began to release new even higher-resolution phones with sleek and, for once, innovative designs that would not only compete against Apple’s iPhones but also thrive and find their own niche fans; most notably with the Samsung Galaxy’s Note series.
- Samsung has also had its stumbles, not just with litigation but also with a product recall. Fierce competition that could fairly be described as excessive ambition drove Samsung to rush its flagship Note 7 smartphone to the market without adequately testing the safety of a key component: the battery. The flaming fiasco resulted in fiery exploding phones, which eventually banned from airplanes by the FAA.
Will there be any battery-related product recalls for Samsung’s new Note 8? Quibbl on it here.
What’s the latest
Apple is now the most valuable publicly-traded company in the history of the world, constantly setting and breaking valuation records. At the time of this writing, Apple’s market capitalization sits just shy of a whopping $800 billion.
When will Apple become a $1 trillion company? Quibbl here
While enjoying an unprecedented run of success, Apple hasn’t forgotten that Samsung is an innovative and skilled component and chipmaker. Right now, Samsung makes the memory (DRAM) in almost every iPhone and even the screens slated for the iPhone X; there’s even talk that Samsung might make the processors in the 2018 iPhone. The fates of the two companies are thus inextricably linked.
Although the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8+ have received mixed reviews — including those dismissing it as just an iPhone 7S with a glass back — there is little doubt that the legion of Apple die-hards will be more than happy to purchase the intricately-engineered, breathtakingly-designed phone.
How many iPhones will Apple sell during the 4th quarter? Quibbl here
Apple fans are also eagerly awaiting the home-buttonless iPhone X (ten in Roman numerals), which marks the 10th anniversary of Apple’s first iPhone and mimics the edge-to-edge screen on the Samsung Galaxy phones and other Androids. The iPhone X, like the top-of-the-line Mercedes S-Class sedans, is a flagship device intended to show the direction in which the iPhone is headed.
Samsung’s recent phone releases, the S8, S8+, and Note 8, have received mostly praise. Although Bixby, Samsung’s powerful personal assistant and belated answer to Apple’s Siri, has been met with mixed reviews.
What to watch for
The two companies will undoubtedly meet in some capacity on the next tech frontier: augmented reality.
While virtual reality still seems like a gimmick and hasn’t yet gone mainstream, the showmanship-laden spectacle that was Apple’s September iPhone conference foreshadowed that augmented reality will be a focus for the company going forward. Perhaps Apple is betting that virtual reality, like the iPhone and the App Store before it, will again land it on the cutting edge of the tech industry.
It’s hard to image a world where Apple isn’t the world’s most profitable company. Right now, it’s not even close. Ranked #1 in 2016 with a profit of $45.7 billion, Apple nearly doubled the profit of 2nd place J.P. Morgan Chase and its paltry $24.7 billion.
Which company will post more profit: Apple or Samsung? Quibbl here
Samsung’s plan for the future is available for the public to see; it hopes to grow its business’ revenue from $176.8 billion in 2016 to $400 billion in 2020. Samsung doesn’t just make phones and tablets, the diversified company has many segments: electronics and appliances (e.g., televisions, washing machines, refrigerators, etc…), biotech and pharmaceuticals, energy and more. Its smartphones, though — and the chips it supplies Apple for its iPhones — are a major segment, crucial to its overall brand.
When will Apple’s share price rise above $180? Quibbl here
When will Apple’s share price rise above $200? Quibbl here
Will Apple meet, beat or fall short of 3rd quarter earnings expectations? Quibbl here
Will there be any major product recalls for Apple’s iPhones by the end of October? Quibbl here