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.


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.


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.


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.


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!!


Published by Rishabh Agarwal


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