Why Google and Microsoft couldn’t emulate the Apple mobile device model

“Microsoft’s announcement that it is writing off the Nokia devices acquisition represents commendable candor on the part of CEO Nadella,” Mark Hibben writes for Seeking Alpha. “It also represents only the second time that a major competitor to Apple has thrown in the towel on emulating the Apple business model, the first time being Google’s sale of Motorola. Vertical integration of hardware, software and services in mobile devices has fueled unparalleled profitability for Apple. Why has the formula not worked for Apple’s competitors?”

“The write off of Nokia and the spin-off of Motorola leave significant unanswered questions about the mobile device strategies of Microsoft and Google going forward,” Hibben writes. “The key takeaway for Apple investors is that Apple is endowed with a powerful advantage in smartphones that no other company has been able to duplicate. Apple’s chief competitors in mobile device operating systems are Microsoft and Google. If they’ve given up on emulating Apple, who is left? The obvious answer is Samsung and… I view Samsung as a diminishing threat. I don’t see any other company overcoming Apple’s advantage in the next five years.”

Much more in the full article – recommendedhere.

MacDailyNews Take: Samsung is a joke. They’re only successes have been blatant knockoffs of Apple products – and even that dubious and rather illegal “strategy” is failing them now. Samsung doesn’t have a chance in Tizen.


  1. Samsung isn’t in the same category, as it isn’t trying to emulate Apple’s business model. Their Tizen is clearly not an independently built, proprietary mobile OS, even remotely comparable to iOS or Windows Mobile.

    BlackBerry is the only remaining competitor with a similar model (proprietary hardware, OS, services). So apparently, there really aren’t viable competitors to Apple’s business model.

    1. Samsung competes directly with Apple at the complete device level. They have a complimentary strategy in terms of building more of their own hardware components and using a third party OS, whereas Apple is more the opposite.

      But they are losing traction and no way is Tizen going to succeed. Tizen is a “solution” for Samsung problems, not customer problems. Nobody is begging for it.

  2. With Google the biggest key in my eyes is differentiation. Google offers nothing that any other phone manufacturer could not offer for less. As the various makers started competing on price that simply started a downward spiral. Eventually, either quality, or features, or profitability, and often all three suffer. That would likely have been the same for Apple had Cook listened to those who called on the company to release an Android phone, Not that I ever expected Apple to be so stupid.

    Microsoft was somewhat different. Yes, they offered the system to others but had few takers. Their problem was at least partially that they were way too late to release something even remotely compelling. For all its faults, at least Microsoft tried to do something different rather than clone iOS.

  3. Samesong has had success in supplying components. They managed to inflate their otherwise empty heads to get market in ‘these new-fangled phone thingees’, joining Google in the same endeavor, and, now, being joined at the hip with that deadweight, struggles. Good riddance, actually. Stick to refrigerators, Samesong.

  4. I believe that what prevents the great talents at Microsoft and Google is the very thing they and their consumers disdain the most about Apple…, Apple’s tight control of the user experience. Apple’s competitors insist that giving everyone the ability to do any, and everything is a winning concept, in reality that sort of loose control of the end-user experience is anathema to forward momentum, and, means that each individual poses some limitation, or disruption on the next users ultimate experience. It’s an impossible scenario with no clear winners, and the smart & talented programmers at those companies are forever drawn into a nightmarish catch22 of trying to produce the next version while at the same time drag enough users into the current environment, and still compete with Apple’s onslaught. Someone has to be the parent!

  5. there are key things that the author left out :

    1) the ‘free’ Android model destroyed Msft’s OEM strategies

    2) human foibles completely left out.
    there was greed, power manoeuvring among managers etc.

    Example: there was a power fight between the managers of the Windows devision and the Mobile Division (“Entertainment and Devices Division”) of Msft. The Mobile division had a plethora of Mobile OS’ like Win CE, Win Mo, Win Phone, Courier, Zune OS, Kin OS (Danger, Pink) ETC yet the Windows Desktop Division (which had all the clout and money) QUASHED ALL the Win Mobile Division initiatives (!!) and took over mobile development to put Windows DESKTOP into the Windows phone and tablets …

    The Windows Desktop managers weren’t going to let themselves be crushed like the iPod managers (which was the most profitable Apple ‘division’ at one point) by the iPhone.

    . Msft is a bureaucracy with ‘fiefdoms’, if you don’t explain that you can’t really explain what is going on. because of this they wasted time trying to shoehorn a desktop Os into mobile. etc.
    Nadella has tried to re-org but so far with scant results.
    (Apple has a ‘flat’ org structure. e.g Ive designs both iPod and iPhone)

    3) Bill Gates as Chairman was calling the shots in the background when Ballmer around. Gates Microsoft made all it’s money by following and copying : Windows copied Mac, Explorer /Netscape, Xbox/Playstation, Bing/Google etc and because of that Msft does NOT HAVE TRUE INNOVATION in it’s DNA unlike Apple.

    1. The story of Courier continues to disgruntle some of us who hoped to see a competitive renaissance. Instead the MS blockheads dismissed radical innovation, and kept on plodding along Bozo Boulevard, their blinders in place like wheezing horses.

  6. Samsung is not a joke!

    Wait until next year’s Galaxy 7 Wrap. The screen is going to go all the way around the phone, not just wrapped around the edges. It will KILL the iPhone.

    Ha, ha. 8^)

    1. And it will still have no built in kill switch that police want because it is the best deterrent to phone theft. No real fingerprint scanner that is easy to use and does not send your prints over the web. This way people actually use passwords to unlock their phone. No protection for NFC payments so the person next to you can’t get all your info. Enjoy.

    2. Obviously, Samsung is not a joke. But so what about a fully-wrapped screen? It would be nothing more than a gimmick. A few people would derive some sort of benefit, but for most it would be mainly for show.
      And if the current edge-wrapped glass model bends easier than a 6Plus and the glass doesn’t bend but shatter, I can imagine the wailing.
      People should survey the hundreds of phone designs over the past decade. It is beyond insane how many different designs were one-cycle wonders, with most of the differentiation being in the area of impractical attempts at coolness.

  7. People fail to realize that Apple’s success is based in how their corporate personnel are structured. No matter what you do if you have uninspired people leading you, you are bound to fail. Also Steve Jobs have time and again showed slides of how he have combined liberal Art and Science in his thinking and hence his corporate culture. No one seems to take his point seriously. This is the key to Apple’s success.

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