Samsung could be Asus to Apple’s Dell

James Allworth, posting to Asymco:

While there’s no doubt that Google has played a key role in Samsung’s success by handing out a free mobile operating system to pretty much anyone who wants to build one — it is actually Apple, more than any other company, that is responsible for Samsung’s present success.

How? By outsourcing as much work to Samsung as they have. And it’s impossible not to wonder whether Tim Cook’s announcement yesterday on bringing back Apple’s manufacturing to the USA is the beginnings of an attempt to rectify the problem.

Allworth provides a very thought-provoking argument to explain why Apple may have inadvertently helped to create its single biggest competitor in the phone market right now. Though the analogy isn’t perfect (and Allworth is quick to point out where it fails), he compares the situation to that which Dell created by outsourcing work to Asus, which later challenged Dell’s market position by releasing its own computers instead of just doing manufacturing for Dell.

Certainly worth a read.



  • normm

    As long as Apple pushes cutting edge technologies at its partners, it’s getting a large benefit from using their proprietary expertise. Apple is also deeply involved in all phases of their partners’ production, so they are learning the expertise. The only alternative to relying on partners is to be the cutting edge expert on everything, and that may not be possible. At least Apple is acquiring the expertise to bring technologies in house when necessary.

    • JohnDoey

      Apple is already the cutting-edge expert on system software, API, maintaining app platforms, as well as media apps like video editing and audio production. That is what matters. The hardware is just a plant pot, the software is the plant. Nobody outside of Silicon Valley knows how to make software. The Asian companies are still not getting it. Google gave them an extra few years is all.

  • http://twitter.com/NWNirvana The Dictator

    Thanks Google for helping out the Koreans, Taiwanese, and Chinese. How about helping Americans now.

  • JohnDoey

    The right analogy is Samsung is Dell.

    They make a cheap version of Apple products by making then out of plastic and terrible software, and tell people it is exactly the same as the high-end Apple product (Mac, iPhone) but available for a low-end price.

    Solution for Dell: iPad. A low-end computer that is not a stripped down Mac, but rather a Mac that is totally redesigned for the needs of the low-end computer market, and with such high-end construction and features that people literally forget it is a low-end PC.

    Solution for Samsung: iPhone nano, same as above. Not a stripped down iPhone, but an iPhone designed specifically for the low-end phone market where the 3 primary features are calls, texts, and music.

    When Steve Jobs introduced iPhone, it was to replace a BlackBerry+iPod. What replaces a beater candy bar phone and an iPod? iPod nano, free with a feature phone contract.

    • Tvaddic

      I don’t know if your using hyperbole or if your really feeling that way, but Android is not terrible, or the custom software Samsung puts on their phones; like the apps stylized for the sPen in the Galaxy Note. And Samsung doesn’t market their products by saying they are just like Apples, they say they are better. Marketing 101.

  • Tvaddic

    Samsung has been making phones for a long time, Apple didn’t create its competitor, it awakened it.