Samsung’s growth is grinding to a halt, thanks to a failing mobile division. The company has been bleeding market share, prompting Samsung’s return to the drawing board in this year’s flagship, as can be seen in the elegant flagships that won over the media. Unnamed Executives from the company blame software as the reason behind Samsung’s woes, adding that the hardware is simply great, but software is neglected by the upper management.
Samsung’s corporate culture has traditionally been focused on hardware, and its software attempts have either been failures, abandonware or hated, don’t bring in their version of skinned Android, the Touchwiz UI, that is over-customised and sluggish. Analysts previous blamed poor build quality for the failing Mobile Division, but that cannot be said of the Galaxy S6 and its Edge variant, and the Note 5. But that did not resuscitate the sales, and they have been below expectations.
This strategy was effective in the early days of the smartphone market, when reviews were primarily based on the specs of the phone, like speed, camera, resolution. Nowadays, the market has shifted to reviewing the device as a whole, including the software and services. Without software to distinguish itself, Samsung is losing ground to Chinese smartphone makers, who offer devices at lower price points.
Former employees who spoke to Reuters articulated that Samsung, in some regards, tends to treat software “as little more than a marketing tool.” A quick look at their attempts at hardware seem to prove this, for example their chat application, the ill-fated chatOn, which despite being pre-installed on Galaxy phones, which held a significant market-share, failed to gain traction. The executives seem to believe there is need to refocus in order to remain in the market.
“Samsung’s upper management just inherently doesn’t understand software. They get hardware – in fact, they get hardware better than anyone else. But software is a completely different ballgame.”