Apple- BB- Nokia- and Samsung: Strategy Lessons

Well, these 4 brands are probably most recognized in mobile handset industry. Though agreed, new players including Xiaomi, Gionee, etc. and oldies including Sony, HTC, etc. are also playing cool. However thru this blog I’m focusing on few Strategy Lessons which are quite interesting to me.

SAMSUNG:

Lets talk about this Korean Chaebol first. Samsung undoubtedly did a great job in mobile handset manufacturing business and yes, swelled its account hence.

But looks like they are loosing their sheen fast enough. First lets have a look how come they rose so fast at the cost of Nokia, BB, etc.

Samsung bet on low cost touch smartphones and on android platform. Both of the two turned out smart moves on Samsung’s part and helped it to gain amazing market share.

However the same two winning moves i.e. touch and android is now playing opposite in ever increased fierce and competitive mobile handset business. 

When I check with consumers who were having Samsung initially and now went with either Apple or Xiaomi, they usually complain similarly.

  1. All Samsung handsets look same these days.
  2. Many are now bored of Android platform which is common. It is notable there is a segment which don’t want to go with “common”. That was precisely the reason of popularity of Blackberry brand.
  3. Samsung sets no longer are appealing. etc.

NOKIA:

I always feel really sorry for this great company and brand which got bust because of strategy failures of its leadership.

Nokia failed because it did the opposite what Samsung did to achieve great market share. Nokia from the start was averse of touch phones and android platform. Since consumers find the flavor in these two things, Nokia failed miserably.

One additional cause of failure was Nokia’s reluctance to enter into Tablet Business which again grew very fast in last few years.

Interestingly had if Nokia not have failed, market conditions are quite favorable for this great brand. Reason I shall be discussing in later part in this blog. Plus, Microsoft’s move to relabel Nokia as Microsoft is again a miserable strategy move.

APPLE:

Now comes the ace brand Apple. Drawing power from the legacy of founder Steve Jobs who again probably the greatest entrepreneur the world ever witnessed.

Apple has an incredible fan following. It is having different OS of its own basically. Incredible touch and feel of the product, etc.

The strategy always have been there to remain at top of the value chain. Interestingly it remained top in terms of revenue and profit as well. It faced for time being tough competition from Samsung but seems it has gone way ahead as of now. I’m not going to discuss much here.

BLACKBERRY:

Again a very interesting case study in my view for MBA graduates. The rise of BB, popularity among specific corporate consumers, way high in value chain, and sudden fall is all classic example of fast changing business environments.

What companies need against fall. I believe its RESILIENCE. Which organizations should work upon.

The fall of BB was due to rise of Android and also Whatsapp. Again whatsapp was the app which went popular like fire and was free against BBM which was very similar and was coming at a fees.

The other reason for fall was reluctance to embrace touch technology. Similarly what Nokia did.

Now it is very soothing and great example of leadership to note that BB is slowly reviving while Nokia has doomed because of eagerness of their leaders to sell or failing to withstand tough times.

There is a segment which wants to be different. It is averse of Apple also which controls consumers every file transfer, downloads, etc. and is also averse of ubiquitous Android OS. Hence this segment still loves BB. Similarly this segment would have loved Nokia had if it existed. The point is there is ample room of many players and you need to have your own USP to place strongly yourself in the lucrative but fierce business of mobile handsets.

BB revival clearly shows smart move on part of Farifax Holdings which bail out this company at moment when it was having rock bottom prices of its shares and market capitalization.

Now if Samsung wants to regain its glory then it should have went for BB when it was available to be bought, reinvent some Break Through technology, come with some new OS, etc. There can be other strategies too, these are mere suggestions.

The point is it pays to remain in the market and fight if you have Resilience. You bounce back and reward your share holders too.

Moreover Strategies keep changing. What was benefiting Samsung now is working against it. What failed BB now is working in its favor.

My thoughts only on these great organizations and their businesses.

God Bless!!

www.rishabhagarwal.in

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Why USSR failed to survive while USA thrived: Role of Resilience

Well thru this blog I tried to analyse National Public Policy part from Strategy Theory of mine though which I mostly reserve for analyzing corporate strategies.

When I see case of USSR which again was a formidable bloc of its time and enjoyed huge clout and influence. But it failed to survive. While USA continued to thrive and inspired global entrepreneurs and capitalists.

Why USSR failed but USA thrived. There might be many reasons. Politically I’m neutral and appreciate what is good for mankind and humanity.

USA embraced variety of cultures via immigrants, tolerated change,encourage entrepreneurs, discouraged crony capitalism, worked on soft power, etc.

While on other hand USSR was monolithic society: reluctant to change; zero tolerance to new; no entrepreneurs; widespread crony capitalism; etc.

Now understanding how The Resilience Strategy comes into play. Resilience is all about the salient features which I just discussed for the USA.

When any nation or even corporate organizations accepts diversity, it embraces Resilience. It gets open to new ideas. See how entrepreneurs add value to the nation and its economy. USA is full of entrepreneurs. Huge corporates which we today know were once start-ups. When you build nation you build social fabric structure via public policies.

Creating an eco-system favouring healthy competition is all about resilience. The frequency of ups and equally downs is all about Resilience. While USA kept benefiting from this inherent feature in its national ideology, USSR was way reluctant to accept immigrants. Hence turned away from Resilience. It was like aSolid Bloc.

Solid Blocs are fragile. They are strong but they are not Resilient. They are vulnerable to shocks. Whereas Resilient economies/ nations/ corporate are able to absorb changes and they bounce back with a thrust.

Building a Nation on patriotism is good. But not accepting foreigners to live on your land maybe politically have some valid reasons but it is anti-resilient.

Curiously Japan is also monolithic society but not only it survived but it thrived. How??

Well Japan has been too strong that Resilience doesn’t matter to them. Rather being strong helped them. As the nation is concentrated to four islands, they are much more united hence form a unified force. When you are non resilient then you are hard also at the same time. Your economy rule is governed by you only.

When you are spread across Geographies it makes sense to be Resilient.

Integrating variety of cultures, religions, colours, etc. in national social fabric is highly recommended which inculcates an eco-system adding high value to the overall social chain.

Resilience after all is all about ability: to embrace change; to accept diversity; and to bounce back.

My thoughts only!

God Bless!

Will You Marry Me vs You’re Hired

Marriage Proposals vs Job Offers or

Will You Marry Me vs You’re Hired

@India

Well, I must admit its a funny blog of mine. But it has a valid argument.

Now I many times wonder why in India Govt. doesn’t releases employment data on regular basis. What my understanding says that this data is released once in 5 years. While in OECD countries this data is almost released either monthly or max. quarterly. Yeah! of course, for developing nations this data is far from rosy and may raise social unrest, hence in order to mellow down the citizens thru public policy its better to release at a longer intervals. Whereas in case of OECD countries it can be obviously released at shorter duration. 

Even interestingly Govt.s are in enormous pressure in developed nations too for maintaining healthy employment rate. Preference is of-course > 95%.

I based on few of my friends’ experiences post MBA degree, got an interesting observation. While there is scarcity of Job Offers in India (or consider developing nations as whole), there is decent opportunity for Marriage Proposals.

Suppose you are a fresh graduate passed out of a premier institute with an average job in your hand. Now you register yourself in two sites at this stage of your life. One in Job Portal and the Other in Match Making website.

I’m sure that my data is correct here, you will be surprised that you shall be getting anywhere in between 100 – 1000 serious proposals or interests thru Match Making but hardly 0 – 10 interview calls thru Job Portal, say in a time frame of one year.

Now this is quite surprising and interesting fact simultaneously. I guess this huge disproportion may not be there if you are a citizen of a developed nation, where first Match Making is a different exercise than in India, and second that there are ample job opportunities.

While in India in last one decade or more, majority have opted for career avenues in Engineering or MBA or Medical or CA, while in USA people are going for much wider range including Music, History, Arts, Painting, Photography, Fashion Industry, Law, Education, Public Policy, etc. I’m not saying that people in India are not in these fields but in terms of percentage or you say concentration it is highly concentrated in favor of the 4 streams which I mentioned above.

Now though this observation (title of this blog) on first hand looks depressing but it is not so in my view. It also shows advantages of a wider population base and simple living society. People are able to find “life” in small aspects of so called journey of life. At least one is enjoying with this ease (finding the better half).

However, it is important to understand that there is dearth of sound offers which gets badly hit when the GDP growth rate declines. As happened in India in last 4-5 years time frame. Good news is that this decline trend is now reversing.

Hopefully if country grows at double digit annual growth rate in GDP, the graphs of the two critical offers can go in parallel. AMEN!

God Bless!

www.rishabhagarwal.in