Enderle: The king is dead. Can Samsung slay Apple and steal its crown?

“As Apple’s reputation for execution falters in the post-Jobs years, Samsung’s ruthless pace could put it ahead, even if customers would ultimately suffer,” Rob Enderle writes for DigitalTrends.

“Apple has excelled by taking Microsoft ideas and improving on them. The problem hasn’t been that Microsoft didn’t innovate; the company just didn’t execute. Microsoft manufactured smartphones and even had the idea for the iPhone before Apple did,” Enderle writes. “Microsoft produced MP3 players before Apple had an Apple iPod Touch-like product on the market. They played music and did most of what the iPod Touch did years before the Touch came to market. Even though Microsoft wasn’t the first with tablets, Microsoft tablets were on the market years before the iPad.”

Enderle writes, “The consumer electronics market is speeding up. Smartphones in particular have moved quickly to 4G along with larger screens and faster processors. Apple, which once led this market in technology, always had issues, with the latest radios being late to both 3G and 4G. More recently, Apple has fallen behind in screen size. Even if the iPhone is 4 inches, the market appears to have already moved to 4.5 inches, placing Apple behind.”

MacDailyNews Take: While the off-his-meds Enderle clearly ought to change his name to Old Man Jenkins, his disinformative ramblings do raise a central question:

What have we really seen from Apple since Steve Jobs passed?

• A “new” iPhone (4S) that looks exactly like the previous iPhone and whose claim to fame is a beta feature (Siri) that Apple purchased and which even Apple’s co-founder lampoons with regularity.

• Expected, predictable evolutions of the MacBook Pro and Air model lines.

• A new iPad that looks exactly like the previous iPad, but with a better screen and a faster chip. In other words: another totally predictable evolution.

• A new OS X, drop the “Mac” please; another predictable evolution.

• A new iOS, about which we can barely imagine muster the interest to bother installing. Oh, yeah, we get the promise of “Facebook” integration – coming “later this fall.” Thrilling. On the positive side: Maybe Siri will actually finally work more than 20% of the time.

• Ron Johnson, the guy who built the most profitable retailer in the world, exited Apple and was replaced by Cook with some random dunce from Dixons who obviously doesn’t understand the Apple way and who is already “fixing” what isn’t broken, but instead is the public face of the company and one of the main engines for its success.

• Bob Mansfield, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering, retires. Replaced by someone from inside Apple, at least (Dan Riccio, Apple’s vice president of iPad Hardware Engineering). We’ll see. Fingers crossed.

• Apple continuing to do billions of dollars of business with Samsung, a company which is stealing Apple’s intellectual property left and right, outselling Apple by tens of millions of handset units in the process.

• A Mac Pro flagship that is, for now, the ultimate symbol of the post-Jobs Apple: Stagnant, slow, old, neglected and rapidly becoming a sad joke.

Bottom line: We haven’t seen much to get excited about yet, but we have seen much about which to be concerned.

As we wrote in a response to a reader yesterday: [The success you see from Apple thus far has been the result of] Steve Jobs’ massive momentum. [Virtually anyone with a brain could have been Apple’s CEO and experienced the same degree of success – or more – so far (and they likely wouldn’t have hired John Browett, either)].

Until we see something insanely great created under Tim Cook’s leadership, with no prior input from Jobs, the jury remains out on Cook as CEO.

Is Cook a visionary CEO or a mere caretaker? We’ll know soon enough.

Yes, we know Steve Jobs personally handpicked Tim Cook. He also handpicked John Sculley.

Enderle writes, “Samsung is cycling its products quicker and thus improving them faster than Apple does, which should result in a sustainable execution advantage. Given this is how Samsung beat Sony, one can easily conclude that, using the same strategy, Samsung may be poised to beat Apple.”

“Besides Samsung’s speed advantages, there are early indications that Apple is getting weaker. I’m seeing reports out of the Apple stores that satisfaction is dropping as Jobs’ policies of focusing staff on customer satisfaction are replaced by policies focusing staff on sales (and Apple has had a history of underpaying staff),” Enderle writes.

“On the product side, the product-refresh cycle has clearly slowed down. The expected iPhone launch (traditionally in June) has apparently slipped until September, the Mac refresh was very late, and unless something happens quickly, even the fourth-quarter refresh of the iPods (generally in August) will be late,” Enderle writes. “Word out of Apple suggests postponed decisions, missed deadlines, and an increase in secrets leaking out of the company, all of which points to Apple having difficulty executing. With Samsung increasing its level of execution and Apple falling off, one has the potential to replace the other, but the customer gets screwed.”

Enderle writes, “I’ve personally bought a number of Samsung products, and the company’s service and support organization is truly horrid, particularly compared to Apple’s… Unless Samsung improves the way it treats customers, I can’t support that company replacing Apple at the top of the pile.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Here’s hoping Apple’s malaise on the product side so far in the post-Jobs era is not because the magic died with Steve Jobs, but because Tim Cook, Jony Ive, Scott Forstall et al. have been working just as hard as they did with Jobs there to push them and are just about ready to stun us with some real envelope-pushing again!

166 Comments

    1. MDN : fantastic take. You state the facts without being a rah,rah fanboy. You tell it like it REALLY is. Beautiful. I’m always amazed how people on this site are taken to task as being a troll or an Apple hater just because they point out the obvious problems with Apple. It doesn’t bother someone like me because as a parent I understand that the good comes with the bad. Fanboys are the last thing that any company or individual ever needs. Honesty is all that matters. I’m going to guess that Tim Cook scans through the different Apple sites and hopefully will read your take on the current Apple company. If he does, I hope he pays attention. The removal of Browett would be a start but it’s just one of many things that needs to be corrected at Apple. And I’m speaking as a long time Apple user and investor not as a fanboy.

      1. Lots of people on this site state facts without being “rah, rah fanboys.” I am getting a bit tired of your supercilious posts, Weekend.

        I am not willing to push the panic button, at this point. People seem to forget that there were droughts of products during Job’s reign as CEO, as well.

        As far as Enderle (and Thurott, for that matter) goes, I wonder why MDN even bothers to post their drivel anymore.

        1. MDN should run stories from all points of view regarding Apple. They usually run pro or over the top pro Apple stories. So I don’t know why you would complain unless you are nothing but a fanboy? You learn more about your accomplishments in a battle after speaking to your enemy. In other words, you need all perspectives regarding any subject matter. Only immature Fanboys want nothing but positive stories. Just write stories and then read them back to yourself that should make you happy. Right,kingmel? Start an Apple blog and then listen to yourself later. It should really make you happy. You’re tired? Try taking a nap. Sounds like you could use one. If you don’t care for my posts why would you read them? A bit full of yourself aren’t you? We’ll all try to post things that make you happy in the future. In fact, I think we will all run our posts by you to see if they are acceptable. Will that make you happy,kingmel?

          1. I don’t want only “pro Apple” stories, Weekend. That is *your* assertion. However, I don’t like wasting my time with FUD from Enderle and Thurott. I don’t consider them “enemies,” just ill-informed and fond of wild, highly speculative behavior.

            I have been critical of Apple on many occasions. But I strongly prefer to base my inputs on evidence and sound reasoning. Too often nowadays, people seem to feel that a strong belief in something is equivalent to a factual basis. Conviction is no substitute for the truth, no matter how strong.

            You can call me a fanboy all you like. I am certainly a strong supporter of Apple and a fanboy in the good sense of the word. I stuck with Apple through the dark ages of the mid-1990s. But I don’t blindly follow anyone or accept any important assertion without critical examination.

            There are a few people who might benefit from “running their posts past me,” Weekend. It might help them avoid sounding foolish. You just might be one of those people. But I am not your editor, and I am not volunteering for that job.

            1. I have been using Macs and everything Apple for 30 plus years. I too support Apple through thick and thin. I use my Macs professionally so I need the company to succeed. I am heavily invested in AAPL. I’m hoping this week will mirror last weeks success. But in the end it’s a company that doesn’t care if I like or approve of them and their moves. They only want to sell more stuff. The difference between them and other companies is that they also want to sell great stuff. But make no mistake, they’re not our buddy. And they are ignoring the professional users. But there is more money to be made with the everyday consumer so I understand. When something better comes along I won’t hesitate to move away from Apple. Even after all these years. I am no fanboy.

        2. mel – it’s the first time in a while i’ve heard anything from Enderle. I really thought MSFT pulled him from the teat and kicked him to the curb like a runt piglet. He never ceases to amaze me at how his take on things mixes revisionist reality with B.S. Flair that helps the average wall street analyst believe his tripe. Comparing a 2005 HP Tablet PC to the first gen. iPad is absolute ridiculousness, yet he feels the need to hold microsoft up on a pillar for some reason.

    2. You’re right. It is all about the number of hits he can get and virtually nothing to do with reality.

      I am quite surprised that MDN fell for this bullshit hook, line and sinker.

      Every minute, another fish is born.

    3. Enderle has the basics facts of his story wrong: Tim Cook has been running Apple on a day-to-day basis since 2009, and all Apple products issued since October 2010 bear the imprint of Steve Jobs despite the fact that he’s dead. So if Apple’s market share is not growing as fast as Samsung’s, it has nothing to do with changes at the top of the company.

      And speaking of that, Apple is easily beating Samsung in the US market, where carriers subsidize phones for customers. Apple’s problem is trying to sell an expensive phone in lower-income markets, without carrier subsidies or other forms of financing. Financing is one big reason why Samsung’s share of the world market exceeds Apple’s share, while in America Apple is dominant.

    1. That is the reason I invested in the iPhone 4S in the first place. It is a snazzy piece of machinery, and takes simply flawless photos. You should be able to pick up one pretty soon with the new generation coming out.

  1. Logic? “Given this is how Samsung beat Sony, one can easily conclude that, using the same strategy, Samsung may be poised to beat Apple.” No, now the market is different and Apple is no Sony.

    Enderle is an extremist: instead of looking at what is there, he uses the facts to support his prejudices.

  2. Oh come on the apple haters keep saying this over and over, Apple’s magic is gone!
    -They said it after the iPod dominated the market, they said it was a one time anomaly and that Apple would sink back down to the “niche” status, from where they came.
    -Then came the phone (which revolutionized not only the telecommunications industry but also the mobile computing industry as well) But again (after the initial poo poo’ing it as not working that well and lacking features that other phone like the blackbury and the motorolloa “q” had (ha ha!) But again thay said it has been several years and apple has not released (yet) another blockbuster product (never mind that most companies (like Goooooogle, MS and samesung NEVER introduce groundbreaking products blockbuster or otherwise)
    -Then Apple launches the iPad, again the haterz proclaimed it a failure (upon launch) and labeled it “a big iPod”
    Now here we are again just 3 years from an industry upending product release and the haters are at it again, Appel hasn’t upended and then dominated an entire industry in 3 whole years! They are DOOOOOOOOMED for sure!!!
    Give me a break.

      1. I was regularly hearing that the magic was gone and that the good old Apple had been replaced by a horrible Microsoftian monster drunk on its own success, long before Steve Jobs was even diagnosed with a problem.

        You could barely even say the word “apple” on a public forum without some clown coming in and claiming this.

      2. Then you, my friend, have a short memory.
        It is a constant, dismissing apple’s new product (until it was wildly successful) and then proclaiming it an anomaly that apple can’t do it again.

    1. ^ this.

      Also the resolution changes in the iPad and even more the new MacBook are indeed revolutionary. The MacBook was the first giant leap in resolution in all of computing history going back to the original Mac. It’s a huge breakthrough product, we are just so spoiled at how incredible Apple has been that we think it’s nothong special.

      1. That is a very good point. Show me any other device with the resolution of the current iPad–any device at any price, much less $499.
        Also remember, it took 6 years between the iPod, iTunes, Apple retail and the iPhone. And the iPad was an extension of the iPhone.
        Cook needs another 3 or 4 years before we know if he is a creative genius or if he can recognize creative genius.

        1. I am typing this on a Macbook Retina, which is not simply evolutionary. It is radically superior to anything else on the market. When Jobs was CEO, there were years going by with simply new dayglo colors of the original iMac. There were years of no significant innovation other than updating the ipod. The only big hardware landmarks of his entire return tenure were the ipod, the flat iMac, and the iphone. So let’s not be too harsh on Cook yet. I agree that Browett is a catastrophe that must go. But keep in mind that Johnson is failing at JC Penney. Enderle exaggerates about delays at Apple: the last iphone was introduced in the fall as well, under Jobs, and THAT was the delayed launch. This year will be ahead of the one year schedule.
          There is no question they need to refresh quicker, or at least they’re late this time. But Christmas lies ahead, and that market will dominate what happened in the last quarter or so. if ITV is great, that’s a landmark, and a new breakthrough.
          Remember as well, Jobs knew the next 5 years plan. So if there are no innovations yet, that is simply the time required to get a product RIGHT. And that, above all, is what sets Apple apart. They get it right.

    2. Read MDN’s points again. Get your head out of the sand. It’s ok to agree that Apple isn’t perfect. Do you think anyone or company is? Don’t live in some make believe world where people or companies are perfect. Acting like nothing is wrong doesn’t help anyone. Pointing out the obvious sales of Apple product is just that, it’s obvious. No one needs to point that out to the rest of us. Quit acting like a 12-year-old. Quit acting like anyone who makes honest comments is a troll are an Apple hater. You are doing more harm than good by ignoring the facts.

      1. I certainly am not ignoring the obvious, but perhaps you are. Apple can’t possibly come out with groundbreaking, industry changing products like the iPod the iPhone (and the iPod touch) and the iPad every year (or even every other year. Products like this take years of R&D and years product refinement before the are ready for the market.

        No apple is far from perfect, and the gaffe by Browett was significant (though easily reversible, at least he didn’t attempt to stand on his decision. But any proof Apple has lost it’s magic will take years to confirm. And, btw spattering an attempted legitimate rebuttal (if that is what it was) with insults, will never help make you point.

        1. Gosh,I thought that it was not only deserving but more than a spattering. Your first sentence throws out the usual fanboy attack on anything negative regarding Apple ; Apple haters. Right? Then you repeat it again. And for no reason. No, you deserve it and I gave it to you. I’ll do better next time.

          1. There is a HUGE difference between personal insults and calling a category of people (who hate apple) apple haters.
            (As a matter of fact most all “apple haters” will if candid, will tell you they hate apple) so im not sure how much of an insult that really is. However, I guess I will admit to (and many in my employ will attest to) not suffering fools gladly.

            Saying that a comment is a troll is not a personal insult, trolling is the act of throwing out an intentionally controversial statement (normally in an enthusiasts forum)
            Calling someone a troll means that they are not really arguing honestly, but are in fact just making an intentionally statement simply to “stir the pot” and cause controversy.

            Unfortunately we live in a time where where people are paid to make these kind of posts and blogs (i.e. astroturfing)
            Whenever I see a post that simply doesn’t conform to a reasonable interpretation of reality (like the current talking point that is being constantly blogged “Apple has lost it’s magic”, While the constant repetition may in fact just be “web echo” I think it more likely astroturfing.

            1. Apple haters? Really now, why would anybody hate Apple? As I said before, you’re just a fanboy who reacts violently to anything that doesn’t glorify Apple. That’s a sign of immaturity. Live with it. It’s what you are. The proof is in the pudding. You go to great lengths here to justify calling someone an Apple hater or a troll. What else would I expect from a fanboy?

            2. Hey Weekend –

              Just STFU. What you are saying is so ridiculous, no matter how eloquently you try and parse it. Apple has not lost its “magic” (whatever that means). They are still churning out great products. And will continue to do so. Seems to me something is happening this September, IIRC. All signs point to a redesigned iphone and maybe an ipad mini nad maybe some sort of TV thing. Who knows. True – Apple is not perfect. They make mistakes (Browett). What’s important is how they respond to making a big mistake.

              You appear to me to be one of the generation of the over spoiled who feels entitled to earth shattering new stuff at the drop of a hat. I don’t mind name calling and to me you really do appear to be a trolling @sshat. What you fail to realize is that the tighter you hold to a ridiculous supposition, the less and less people will take you seriously. You will join the ranks of those names that people eventually just skip over when reading the comments thinking to themselves: “that guy never converses. He only yells and never listens. Pass.”

            3. Apple lost its magic? Who said that? And I hate to burst your bubble but I follow Apple as closely as anyone could possibly follow it. I’m invested heavily in Apple so it’s in my best interest to know everything they do. And I do. From rumors to facts, I follow everything Apple does and may do. I’m well aware of Apple’s product lines and scheduled and rumored release dates. I’ll be interested in seeing the new iPad Mini. Trust me, I’m not of any generation that grew up expecting anything. Quite the opposite. Browett was a mistake. He needs to go. That’s the end of that story. As far being called a fanboy, if you’re not then I suppose you’re not insulted. And feel free to skim past my posts in the future. I promise I will not be insulted. You have your opinion I have mine. Have a nice day.

            4. Obviously you have jumped the shark (give them enough rope et all) however you (in your nonsensical rambling) have stumble onto an interesting conundrum.
              Why do apple hater hate apple so?… The reverse is easy to figure People who much preferred the ease of the Apple Mac were forced to use MS products on a PeeCee (because of the MS market lock) because “it’s compatible” (my personal favorite nonsensical answer) at work, where they didn’t have full decision authority (or were overruled by IT pinheads.) It is easy to see why they would really begin to hate MS and how it forced them to use a substandard (and often frustrating) product. (and get less done with more effort as a result)
              However the reverse, that is not so easy to understand… Why would MS fans even bother with the Mac, they aren’t forced to use it by IT pinheads (oh there may be an isolated case but 99.99% of the time wanting a win PeeCee at work will result in you getting one.) So the question is Why the hate? Why spend you time stalking the MDN board (and others) constantly posting nonsense and FUD under multiple names? What motivates these sad little trolls to hate apple and to waste their time on a site where they hate the products and the manufacturer? Shouldn’t apple just be an irrelevant side-note to them? (though not so much with iOS)

            5. I have used Macs probably longer than you have been alive. I use my Macs professionally. I’m not an amateur. I neither love nor hate Microsoft. Why would I? I just don’t use it. The taste of celery is not something that I enjoy. But I don’t hate celery. Why would I hate celery? Isn’t hating Microsoft or anything that’s not Apple sort of childish? Well of course it is. The reverse is true also. I have no reason to love Apple. They make fantastic products and I buy and use all of them. But it’s just a company, it’s not a living breathing thing. Save your devotion and support for people not for a company that doesn’t know you or care what you think. Don’t be so defensive when people make legitimate critical remarks about Apple. It’s just a company. It’s also an investment that made me, a ton of money today. Options,now there’s something to get excited about.

            6. I have to tell you when you dispute that people hate apple (no matter how long you ramble) you just sound silly (more than usual which is quite an achievement). Windows fanboys not only hate Apple, they even hate Apple users.

              I recall that one famous quote (windows user) said that it made him want to put his cigarette out in “smug” Mac users Eyes. (this was back during the switcher campaign if I recall correctly)

              Anyone attribute the quote, I don’t recall.

    3. Perfect response Tessellator.

      Enderle, and MDN too, ignore that new products (even upgrades) take a couple years to get to market. SJ has been gone for less than a year.

      Apple is 3 – 5 years ahead of the competition. NOBODY is positioned to leap frog the moat Apple has built, not even that master fast copier SamSung.

      1. Yep, they want it to be so, sooooooo badly.
        For the rise of apple to be over, or better yet just have just been a bad dream.

        So they can all get back to worshiping at the the alter of the almighty MS.

        It’s interesting that Mac proponents get labeled as zealots who worship apple & jobs, when in reality Apple fans pale by comparison to the religious devotion of the MS worshipers.

    1. Heretic! Those buggy technology is sent from the satan. We are not meant to travel at such insane speeds. Save your soul and life in a cave. Those evil high-tech Amish. They even use woven clothes and they use man-made tools. How dare they?!
      Thos amish will burn in hell.

      His holy noodleness, the flying spaghetti monster, said to me in a dream we shall dedicated out lives to harvest durum wheat and tomatoes and eat the only holy dish there is : noodles.
      RAMEN!

  3. “Microsoft manufactured smartphones and even had the idea for the iPhone before Apple did,” Enderle writes. “Microsoft produced MP3 players before Apple had an Apple iPod Touch-like product on the market. They played music and did most of what the iPod Touch did years before the Touch came to market.”

    Wrong, wrong, and wrong. Lies, John, all lies.

    The expected iPhone launch (traditionally in June) has apparently slipped until September, the Mac refresh was very late, and unless something happens quickly, even the fourth-quarter refresh of the iPods (generally in August) will be late.”

    Apple moved the annual iPhone refresh to the fall last year and even stated as much. Apple never released updated iPods in August. It’s almost always been in September.

  4. I am an Apple user/fan myself, but usually I’m turned off by MDN’s over-the-top fanboyism. MDN’s take on this article is a refreshing change to that policy. Keep it up, please – most people seek balanced reporting, not propaganda.

    1. Mdn was always the place to come to to get strong pro-Apple opinion.

      There are an excess of places where you can get ‘balanced’ opinions about Apple. Mdn was never one of them.

      If mdn is sounding ‘balanced’ then maybe I’m not interested in reading it any longer. There other places like dilger’s blog that are keeping a proper perspective still.

      1. MDN’s readership is widened to include those seeking ‘balance’. It used to be MDN was the place one sought the alternative from the negative opinion about Apple given by the majority of bloggers.
        I don’t know MDN’s motive to introduce ‘balance’. Maybe it’s an aim to become more mainstream.
        So you gain some new readers, and you lose some old ones.

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