Saturday, May 5, 2012

Samsung turns to outside talent for mobile software

The Wall Street Journal carried an article noting that Samsung Electronics has begun to aggressively hire foreign software engineers, especially from India, in an effort to keep up with its rival Apple.  The article adds some interesting context to current developments.   However, there is a somewhat misleading sentence early in the article, suggesting that " the smartphone market rapidly shifts its emphasis from hardware to software, the Korean manufacturer is realizing it must change its insular corporate culture." In point of fact, the smartphone market has been heavily dependent on software from the very beginning, especially the variety called mobile "Apps," but including all of the software required to support an "ecosystem of services." This reality helps to explain why there was such excruciating shock in the South Korean market when Apple's iPhone finally arrived in late 2009, after it had already been adopted in about 80 other countries over a two and one half year period.
The need for an ecosystem of services that provides useful information service applications also explains why there are two dominant players in the global smartphone market today, Google and Apple, which I identify in order of the degree of their present and future dominance.  Google, with its Android software and growing array of cloud-based information services, has chosen a course that seems likely to make it far more dominant in the global marketplace than Apple.   As to the Microsoft-Nokia alliance, I think that both of those companies came late to the party.   Microsoft especially, suffers from being so closely tied to the old, Windows desktop model of computing, which is now rapidly being replaced by cloud-based, mobile solutions.  Here in the Korean market, LG has paid a heavy price for its decision to use Microsoft's mobile software.
The Wall Street Journal article also notes that Samsung's own mobile software platform, Bada, has been unpopular with consumers.  Rather than attempting to introduce an entirely new mobile OS, I would think Samsung could benefit over the long run by putting its software engineers to work on ensuring that all of its mobile devices run efficiently on Android and on the development of both Android apps and logical extensions of the Android platform (which after all is an open platform) in Asia and for the global marketplace.

1 comment:

  1. Most anyone who has been to Samsung's campus in Suwon in the past year could attest to the number of foreign engineers on staff.