Few technology companies in the 21st century have been as blatant at copying industry leaders as Samsung. I came across a website which has documented the most obvious copying instances, but it’s par for the course. Samsung is a copycat. Whatever Apple does, Samsung may mock for awhile, but only until it has a copy ready.
Why? What is it about Samsung that makes it prone to outright theft of intellectual property and obviously unique designs?
Part of the answer is cultural. Asian conglomerates tend to be cutthroat at the executive level, and permit outright property and design theft– so long as no one gets caught or the company is embarrassed in public. Then heads roll. Many of Samsung’s executives have gone to prison for various and nefarious deeds of misconduct, and the company is not above bribing government officials, either.
Why does Samsung copy Apple?
Apple, for all its problems with marketshare– Mac, iPhone, iPad make up less or around 20-percent of the marketshare in their respective industry segments– decided long ago that good design and quality materials could command higher prices and that leads to higher gross margins and that leads to higher profits.
A key component of successful product marketing is differentiation, and with Macs, iPhones, and iPads, Apple has a long list of premium level differentiation you won’t find with typical Windows PC makers, or Android device makers. OS X and iOS to start, but add to that the built-in applications which integrate well across devices, greater emphasis on usability and security, and it’s easy to see why Apple maintains a separation from competitors.
Then there’s design. Apple influences product design to such an extent that most notebooks resemble MacBooks, most smartphones resemble iPhones, and most tablets resemble iPads. Apple is the design influencer so competitors take their manufacturing and design cues from Apple first.
Samsung has been a blatant copier and intellectual property thieve for decades and Apple is merely a recent target. iPhone 6 meet Samsung Galaxy S6. Touch ID, meet Samsung’s fingerprint reader. Samsung Galaxy S6 keyboard, meet Apple’s iOS keyboard.
Recently, Samsung filed a few patents for smartwatch designs. Most patent applications use outline drawings of products or functions rather than photos of products which may not yet exist. Samsung didn’t even bother to create their own designs for the patent application, and instead used identical copies of Apple’s Watch, down to the sensors on the back, the digital crown, and the buckle watchband.
Yes, Apple took Samsung to court when it copied the iPhone almost down to the atomic level, but court proceedings take years and the billion dollar penalty Samsung received from the courts remains in appeal, many years after losing court case after court case.
Why does Samsung copy Apple?
The company is devoid of original thinking and creativity. Stealing from competitors is natural among Asian technology companies. It’s a way of life. The thought is, ‘Whatever we can get away with’ is acceptable action.
Samsung’s smartphone business is important to Samsung, and so is the brand. As with many technology companies that want to be like Apple– a premium brand that commands premium profits– Samsung is willing to go anything to gain a leg up or an edge on competition.
Samsung lied about CPU performance, Samsung surveys are notoriously corrupt, Samsung advertisements mimic Apple, and so on. How much? Google “samsung copies apple” and you’ll be treated to a long list of misdeeds that go back many years.
Wait. Doesn’t Apple copy technology, too? Yes. To a certain extent, it’s the norm of technology and has been forever. Few technology companies are as blatant as Samsung.