Samsung Just Copied Apple Again

Samsung's (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF  ) latest initiative, Milk Music, appears to have been heavily inspired by Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) iTunes Radio. Admittedly, Apple was far from an Internet radio pioneer -- iTunes Radio itself being a virtual Pandora (NYSE: P  ) clone -- but Samsung's move into the space comes just six months after its chief rival, Apple, launched its own Internet radio service.

Unlike Samsung's prior Apple-like initiatives (its retail stores and the Galaxy S5's fingerprint scanner) Samsung has one-upped Apple this time, offering a product that is almost indisputably better than Apple's alternative.

Milk Music vs. iTunes Radio vs. Pandora
Unveiled late last week, Samsung's Milk Music competes directly with Pandora and Apple's iTunes Radio. Like those other services, Milk Music allows listeners to create custom Internet radio stations based off particular artists or songs.

In fact, Samsung's service isn't exactly new -- it's just Slacker Radio, a longtime Pandora competitor, reskinned with a custom interface. But unlike Pandora and Slacker Radio itself, Milk Music isn't ad-supported -- listeners won't be forced to sit through annoying ads every few songs.

It's possible to get an ad-free version of Apple's iTunes Radio, but it costs money -- $25 per year. In that way, Samsung's initiative is objectively better than Apple's -- what Apple charges its customers for, Samsung is giving away for free.

Standing out from the pack
Samsung has given buyers of high-end Galaxy phones many free goodies in the past, including cloud storage through DropBox and subscriptions to various third-party apps and services like Hulu, but Milk Music seems a bit more substantial -- a custom app that only owners of Samsung-made devices can use.

A $25 perk is unlikely to convince many of Apple's customers to abandon their iPhones for Samsung's products, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. The companies most challenged, however, are Samsung's other competitors in the Android space -- LG, HTC and Motorola.

Unlike Apple, Samsung doesn't control the operating system it relies on to power its phones, making it more difficult to turn its customers into repeat buyers. By creating exclusive services like Milk Music, Samsung is helping its Android phones stand out from the competition.

It's also putting pressure on Pandora by offering an ad-free alternative. Not all of Pandora's listeners use Samsung-made devices, but those that do have a strong incentive to switch. As with Apple's iTunes Radio, Milk Music is objectively better than Pandora, as there are no ads to sit though. It's possible to get a Pandora experience without ads but, just like iTunes Radio, users must pay to get it -- in Pandora's case, $36 per year.

A Samsung app that's actually worth it
Samsung's Android skin, TouchWiz, has long included a number of Samsung-specific software features, including Air View, S-Beam and Smart Scroll. Unfortunately, most of these features are difficult to use, buggy, or largely useless.

But with Milk Music, Samsung is offering a service that its users are very likely to value. It won't give Samsung much of an advantage over Apple, but it could pressure on Pandora, and it should help Samsung continue to dominate the Android space.

A better investment than Apple?
There's a huge difference between a good stock and a stock that can make you rich. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for 2014, and it's one of those stocks that could make you rich. You can find out which stock it is in the special free report "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.


Read/Post Comments (9) | Recommend This Article (1)

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 March 09, 2014, at 4:49 PM, JohnBelg wrote:

    I pay the 25 dollars for Apple's itunes Match service - thousands of songs from my libary played by Apple on all my devices. In addition I have the itunes radio without ads for free. So that is attractive and

    it seems your article omits this factor.

  • Report this Comment On March 09, 2014, at 5:23 PM, twolf2919 wrote:

    Ditto what JohnBelg said. Not only is my uploaded library's quality improved from my original rips from CD, but my devices no longer need to waste 10GB just to store my songs - I only keep my favorites local and leave everything else in the cloud.

    And besides not having ads, iTunes Match also appears to let me skip songs as often as I like.

    ITunes Match is one of those little known treasures. It's a lot more than what you make it out to be.

  • Report this Comment On March 09, 2014, at 5:33 PM, casualsuede wrote:

    How is Milk Music a copy of iTunes Radio if iTunes Radio is already a copy of Pandora? Wouldn't that make Milk music of a copy of Pandora?

  • Report this Comment On March 09, 2014, at 7:47 PM, youfools wrote:

    Wow, what a complete, utter bs title.

    How is this even copying? Are companies not allowed to release rival products? If not, then you better accuse Apple of copying. While you're at that, why don't you just name every company in the world copiers.

    Apple maps, icloud, iwork, radio, pull down menus, passbook, ipad mini, iphone 5c, etc, etc, etc. These and so much more are all Apple features released in response to competitors. But you're never going to call Apple copiers.

    I don't think either Samsung or Apple are copiers. They're just doing what any normal business does under a competetive market.

    As long as you're not like the thieving Chinese companies that straight up rip off things completely, there's nothing foul.

  • Report this Comment On March 09, 2014, at 10:49 PM, steyoun wrote:

    I believe you are wrong. Samsung is offering the Milk service Ad free for a limited time. I think afterwards it is around $4 a month for Ad free version.

  • Report this Comment On March 09, 2014, at 11:00 PM, steyoun wrote:

    Hmm might have confused the Slaker price which powers Milk service. But from Google App store description:

    Milk Music™ is a free radio service, with no ads.*

    the footnote then says:

    * for a limited time

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2014, at 2:09 AM, GaryDMN wrote:

    From slacker to milk toast. Yawn.

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2014, at 5:49 AM, Mathman6577 wrote:

    Samsung has never had an original idea.

  • Report this Comment On March 10, 2014, at 12:32 PM, WeCameAsRomans wrote:

    christ almighty,enough of the childish whos copying who..everyone copied the sony Walkman,who do you think had the first waterproof phone,certainly wasn't apple..

    so sick of the whos copying who bull shiit but at times some of the comments are funny....

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: 2869801, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 12/19/2014 4:43:21 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