Samsung sells more Android devices than anyone else. The company’s smartphones compete head-to-head with Apple’s iPhone for market share. Samsung also is the leading non-Apple tablet maker.
Samsung is arguably the world’s largest gadget maker – unlike many others it makes a profit.
And yet Samsung has little control over its future direction in the gadget market. That’s because it has to take its lead from Google, which owns Android.
Samsung could take greater control of its destiny if it went vertical. That’s trade jargon for controlling every aspect of its technology including the software controlling its gadgets, services that make the gadgets more useful and the app stores customers use to add functionality to their devices.
This is exactly what Apple does and many believe Apple’s vertical model is behind the company’s success. It means Apple has complete control over the entire customer experience. It differentiates Apple’s products from rival kit and it offers a competitive advantage. Owning all the technology can also be lucrative.
The big question is not whether Samsung has the capability to go vertical – there’s a wealth of talent in the company and much of the technology it needs is already there – but whether it would be a smart strategic move.