It’s hard to expect too much from a TechCrunch op-ed, but there’s no denying this headline grabbed my attention: The Post Post-PC Era: Will Apple, Google, Samsung, Amazon Or Microsoft Win? I wasn’t expecting answers—I’m not crazy—but I was expecting at least a slice of BWUH? from former something or other for Oracle, Peter Relan.
To be fair to Relan, he doesn’t spend his entire time frothing at the mouth over Android marketshare, nor suggesting that Tim Cook should set fire to his eyebrows and let Jony Ive run the Cupertino show. However, he does smack into a wall when trying to predict the ‘winner’ in tablet device distribution channels:
Though Apple owns the market now, Samsung will likely push ahead since the brand seems to be out-innovating Cupertino and may continue to do so on tablets.
That’s a pretty vague statement. Out-innovating Apple how, exactly? Is this a general claim, in which case it’s pretty difficult for Samsung to out-innovate Apple without some kind of time machine, where its designers can scoot back into the past and come out with its iOS device clones before Apple even releases its own products. (Hint to Samsung: Apple’s Time Machine is merely back-up software, not an actual time machine. You’ll have to look elsewhere or, heaven forbid, actually invent one of your own.)
If we’re talking strict distribution channels, I also fail to see where Samsung is out-innovating Apple. It’s certainly out-spending Apple, and it’s also out-flinging-stuff-at-walls-and-seeing-what-sticks-ing Apple, through selling approximately eight billion different devices. This potentially gives Samsung more widespread distribution in certain markets simply through being (in some cases) cheaper—a race-to-the-bottom that’s worked so well in the PC industry. By contrast, the iPad’s available in Apple’s growing number of genuinely innovative stores, along with being possible to buy from countless other stores worldwide. There’s also now the iPad mini, grabbing a chunk of the lower end of the market.
Still, perhaps Relan is right and Samsung will soon truly out-innovate Apple—once Apple releases something new and innovative that Samsung can innovate from in an innovative fashion.