Samsung and Google Still Can't Out-Innovate Apple

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) has taken a lot of flack for failing to wow consumers with new products over the past three years. Ever since the iPad was released, there have been fewer flashy product releases, as CEO Tim Cook relies more heavily on incremental improvements rather than big innovations, which were the forte of Steve Jobs.

But that doesn't mean that Apple has lost its edge over the competition. In fact, Apple has managed to stay ahead, and even expanded its ecosystem to a number of new areas.

Falling behind no one
comScore's latest numbers show Apple's smartphone market share edged up slightly between May and August, to 40.7%. Samsung held 24.3% of the market, but it's worth noting that the company launched the Galaxy S4 in late April and, during those three months, Apple enthusiasts were awaiting the iPhone 5s and 5c. 

Google's (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Android still holds an operating system lead, with 51.6% of the market, driven by Samsung devices.

The combination of Google and Samsung is a challenge to Apple, but also gives the company its biggest competitive advantage. 

The big challenge to Apple is the flagship product from Samsung and Google Android -- the Galaxy S4. The problem is, there's not a lot of difference between the S4 and the iPhone 5s. The S4 has a larger screen, better battery life, and very arguably a better screen, while the iPhone arguably has a better processor and operating system. The S4 isn't a leap ahead of the iPhone in any measurable way. 

Comparing tablets is even more difficult, with the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 comparing well with the iPad on size, speed, and display -- though not user experience. 

In a way, Samsung has tried to differentiate itself with gimmicks like the "no touch" features on the Galaxy S4, as well as near-field communication, neither of which have been a hit. Samsung may have caught up to Apple, but it certainly isn't out-innovating the company.

Galaxy Gear and Smart TV
Samsung has taken the battle with Apple to watches and televisions but, again, it hasn't wowed many people. The Galaxy Gear smartwatch has been criticized for having little functionality and a high price tag of $299.

Maybe there's a reason an Apple smartwatch hasn't been released yet. Apple allowed Samsung to be on the bleeding edge of the industry, and to prove that there's a lot to be done to make smartwatches work.

Samsung's Smart TV is another new product that's a nice feature, but it's a copy and paste of what Apple did with the Apple TV, not a great leap forward. I have both devices, and the Apple TV gets far more use and is much easier to use. 

Samsung can't out-Apple Apple
It's true that Apple hasn't introduced any revolutionary products in the last few years, but neither has anyone else in the industry. Samsung, HTC, and Nokia aren't improving smartphones, tablets, watches, or TVs at breakneck speed, and that keeps Apple in a comfortable lead in tech.

Google continues to command strong market share with Android, but it has run into a challenge persuading manufacturers and users to upgrade to the latest operating system. Combine that with the fact that companies like Amazon.com and Samsung modify Android, and strip out features that push users to Google's service, and you have a disjointed ecosystem of devices. 

The bottom line is that even behemoths like Samsung and Google can't combine to make a product far superior to the iPhone or iPad. Apple may not be the innovation machine it once was, but it's not being overtaken by the competition. That makes Apple's stock a safe bet even in a volatile tech industry. 

The handful of winners emerging in smartphones
Mobile is the future of tech; that much isn't hard to see. But not every company is able to compete in this massive market, and scale has become just as important as technology. To find out which tech giants are set to rule the next decade, we've created a free report called, "Who Will Win the War Between the 5 Biggest Tech Stocks?" Inside, you'll find out which companies are set to dominate, and we'll give in-the-know investors an edge. To grab a copy of this report, simply click here -- it's free!


Read/Post Comments (12) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2013, at 5:55 PM, scubasteve1280 wrote:

    Innovate? When did they innovate ANYTHING??? the slide lock? no, nokia did that first, touch screen? nope, a Japanese company did that... REALLY??? They didnt even innovate the camera phone. APPLE DOES NOT INNOVATE!!! The only thing they have been innovative about is producing a $800 phone and a $1600 laptop that doesn't even have basic networking abilities like an ETHERNET PORT, or the ability to readily use WPAmix encryption.

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2013, at 6:17 PM, Maintainin wrote:

    The biggest thing they've innovated is selling overpriced products to gullible fanboys. This article is silly. Makes it out that just because google and samsung haven't out-innovated apple(huh?) that they are somehow doing bad. Samsung and Google are doing just fine. Do you really want to compare Samsungs whole product portfolio to Apple?

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2013, at 6:24 PM, Expert01565 wrote:

    Another horrible article, by none other than these morons..lol I mean fools!!

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2013, at 6:25 PM, Maintainin wrote:

    Apple sells six or seven products. 4 of which are virtually the same thing except one has a phone built in. When's the last time Apple out innovated Samsung on a tv, a blu ray player, dishwasher, microwave, fridge. Oh that's right, they make none of those things. When's the last time Apple built a ship? Oh that's right they don't do that. Samsung does. 2nd largest ship builder in the world. When's the last time apple provided life insurance? Samsung does. Do I need to go on. They sell six or seven products to moronic fanboys. Want to compare Samsungs total revenue and equity to Apple. Apple is a third of what Samsung is as a company.

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2013, at 7:07 PM, st0815 wrote:

    From a financial point of view, I'm not sure whether it makes sense to focus on US market share when analysing internationally operating companies. Maybe there is a benefit to it which I can not see, in this case I'd like that explained, please.

    However even if that was the case, it's certainly not in any way acceptable to simply refer to the US as "the market" without any qualifiers and footnotes, and report utterly misleading numbers.

    Total market share for Android reached 79% in Q2, while Apple held 14%. Is it within the Fool's ethical standards to report these numbers as 51.6% vs 40.7%?

    This is not about being an Apple fanboy - I like their devices, too. Argue about the screen being better (though I'd disagree there) or about the smoother UI, if you like. However this forum is intended for people making investment decisions. Is it fair to feed them falsified data about stocks you happen to own?

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2013, at 7:16 PM, tychicum wrote:

    Maintainin ... they make a really great toilet set as well.

    The SAMSUNG SBD-970C Dynamic Digital Bidet Toilet Seat + Remote Control.

    Tell me what kid would want Apple when they can have a Samdung?

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2013, at 9:22 PM, slapppy wrote:

    Google, Samsung, Innovate? Oh my! lol

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2013, at 9:49 PM, CluckChicken wrote:

    So "innovation" = market share, that is the point of this paper. It is either that or the point is "nobody expect Apple can innovate anything because I say it isn't innovative", I say that because you spend half the paper claiming things that would be called innovative if Apple did them not innovative.

    The best part is that you suggest that Apple TV is or was innovative at some point in time. Apple TV is a dumb terminal and those have been around for decades.

  • Report this Comment On October 16, 2013, at 10:17 PM, HiramWalker wrote:

    Samsung's primary innovation is in discovering that in the modern world there is little consequence to unethical behavior. This leads them to replace reputation building with mega-marketing: large expenditures in traditional advertising, supported by massive and innovative purchasing of internet advertising both overt and covert - the buying of bloggers and paid commenters in a way that would shame western companies.

    This shamelessness also allows them to be the fastest follower of any successful technology, as they copy without wasting time to disguise or redress, even to the point of copying the advertising and packaging of the products they wish to copy. This enables them to save the money involved in perfecting a product, and then undercut their rivals.

    Samsung's main innovation is that of the criminal who has realized that his town hasn't enough law enforcement to stop his pillaging,

  • Report this Comment On October 17, 2013, at 6:18 AM, pk22901 wrote:

    GS4 parity with 5s?

    Watch the markets uptake of

    64 bit A7

    Advanced photos

    Touch Security

    M7

    IOS 7

    Vs Samsung's features.

  • Report this Comment On October 17, 2013, at 7:19 AM, jdmeck wrote:

    Of course not. Everything they sell has been stolen or borrowed in one way or another.

  • Report this Comment On October 18, 2013, at 9:00 AM, wildeweasel wrote:

    Is this an investing website or the Apple fanboi section on gizmodo. I wouldn't call apple a safe bet at all. Innovation and quality has always been the driving force for Apple, the fact that someone hasn't done better yet has no bearing on the fact that Apple isn't doing it. Samsung's failed smart watch does not mean that every company that makes one is going to get it wrong. More notable is the lack of Apple releasing one, are they paralyzed with fear of failure? Apple seems to have lost direction and until they find it there are other bets with better odds.

Add your comment.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2685733, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 8/27/2014 2:57:58 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement