Samsung’s decline in fortunes could be a result of the company’s emphasis on hardware over developing proprietary software, according to a new report. Samsung’s corporate culture is described as focused on short-term sales of handsets while eschewing development of unique software platforms that could keep customers loyal over the long haul.
The report indicates a lack of trust within Samsung’s corporate hierarchy when it comes to executives who want to implement software improvements, with the prevailing focus remaining on selling hardware devices instead. Interviews with current and former employees of the company revealed confusion and overlap.
One former Samsung employee claimed that a software app he and his team was developing was actually pitted against another team within the company without even being informed. Employees claimed Samsung considered software more of a marketing tool than an essential aspect of its smartphone business.
All the while the company’s market share continues to slip, which appears to be the impetus behind the replacement of the former head of its mobile division, J.K. Shin with Dongjin Koh, the executive who helped develop Samsung Pay, arguably the jewel in Samsung’s software crown.
“Samsung has achieved notable progress in recent software and service offerings that have been well received by the market, including mobile payment service Samsung Pay, SmartThings IoT platform, mobile security solution Knox, and the Tizen operating system which powers our TVs and wearables,” reads a statement from Samsung.
Still, the company’s proprietary TouchWiz software is viewed by many users as negative, and indeed many Samsung smartphone owners move to disable the platform on their devices, preferring stock Android or alternatives such as Nova Launcher. It would be hard to find many Samsung smartphone owners who cite any of Samsung’s software offerings as a main reason for their choice of a handset by the company.
Meanwhile, Samsung’s main competitor Apple, which of course utilizes its own proprietary software operating system, iOS, has gained many of its fans and proponents specifically due to the design and ease of use of its software.
Chang Sea-jin, a business professor at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, said that Samsung is finally beginning to see the light, but time is not on the company’s side.
“There are signs that Samsung is trying to change and the company is acknowledging its failures,” said Chang. “The company is moving in the right direction, but there is a high probability this is too little, too late.”