Apple v/s Samsung; leader of technology and marketing

By Pamkhuila Shaiza on September 17, 2014

Apple versus SamsungThe battle between technological giants; the US owned Apple and Korean owned Samsung results in more innovative products for mobile phone users around the world. It is affecting everything from the price we pay for our phones, to what they are capable of doing and whether we have the freedom to choose between the rival brands [1]. The rivalry on innovative technology in phones between Apple and Samsung started when Samsung unveiled its first Galaxy Smartphone; Galaxy S at the 2010 Las Vegas trade show, the Galaxy SII in Barcelona and the Galaxy SIII at a London exhibition centre [2]. With the launching of Galaxy S4 on a chilly night in March 2013, broadcasting “live” in Times Square, in New York City, Samsung opened a competition against Apple on Apple’s own turf. The consumer and media buzz generated by the launch, and the hype that preceded it, cemented Samsung’s position as Apple’s most serious Smartphone competitor. The New York Times called the launch “a challenge in iPhone’s backyard” [3]. But with Apple as the largest technology company in the world by revenue and profit, more than Google and Microsoft combined and with legions of devoted fans, who queue for hours, sometimes days, to be the first to get their hands on new Apple products, Apple has set about intimidating anyone who tries to come close to their innovative skills [4]. Apple’s founder, Steve Jobs, holds a mythical status among technology aficionados and the company still upholds superiority even after his death.

Fight for innovation and technology

Apple is widely regarded as a great innovator in the consumer electronics industry. It is famous for beautiful designs and new applications. In contrast, Samsung has always been regarded as a follower for a long time. But since the launch of Galaxy S4, Samsung has regarded Apple’s revolutionary design of the iPhone as “not so earthshaking” [5] and continued to be rivals. They have battled in the marketplace and in the courts worldwide. While it is without a doubt that Apple still leads in innovative skills. Marketing seemed to have been overtaken by Samsung, which can be understood by going through their rivalry and fights over Patent, Copyright, Intellectual Property Rights and Marketing techniques [6]. Regarded as the fiercest fights in global business today, both the companies have poured millions of dollars in lawsuits and ads attacking each other and looking for a way to gain ground.

Apple has always been very protective over its copyright and intellectual property. The founder Steve Jobs even talked about “go[ing] to thermonuclear war on Google” [7], for allegedly copying Apple’s technology. Job’s successor, Tim Cook, also vowed to “use whatever weapons we have at our disposal”  [8] to protect Apple’s intellectual property. In such a situation, Samsung has found itself in a place where many of their own innovative values have been undermined by Apple as violating property rights [9]. Apple does not acquire intellectual property rights just for the sake of having them; the company vigorously enforces and defends those rights through litigation. In Samsung, Apple filed a complaint about trade dress infringement, patent infringement, federal false designation of origin and unfair competition, common law trademark infringement and unjust enrichment in response to Samsung’s Galaxy line of mobile phones [10].

Apple asserts that instead of pursuing independent product development, Samsung has chosen to slavishly copy Apple’s innovative technology, distinctive user interfaces, and elegant and distinctive product and packaging design in violation of Apple’s valuable intellectual property rights. Whatever lawsuits meted out against Samsung, the company, however, seemed to be booming except in the US, where 44% use Apple (51% others). Samsung is slowly taking over the World market with its advanced marketing skills like advertising blitz and Samsung phones’ cutting-edge features, potentially including a snazzier camera and eye-tracking capabilities to generate the kind of buzz associated with Apple’s products [11]. Samsung’s challenge is proving that it can innovate as effectively as its US competitor. While Apple’s iPhone pioneered the market for touch-screen phones in 2007, Samsung became the Smartphone leader worldwide more than a year ago (2006), according to International Data Corporation [12].

Tug of marketing war

In a recent case, when Apple launched the iPhone 4S which resulted in many loyal fans waiting in long queues outside the Apple store in Sydney, Samsung offered its new high-end phone galaxy SII at a price of less than $300 (less than half of its launch price), to its first ten customers every day from a temporary Samsung store which was set up near the apple store in Sydney [14].

To understand the innovative skill, marketing strategy and success among the consumers, Galaxy S5 [13] and iPhone 5s can be compared. Although it is without denial that the iPhone has a design classic that has been honed and improved over the years and that the iPhone 5s is difficult to criticize. There is no doubt admittedly eclipses just about every Android device out there in terms of construction and materials, the Galaxy S5 included. But the marketing strategy adopted by Samsung remains far more superior than that of Apple. By the end of 2011, Samsung galaxy SII sales surpassed that of Apple’s iPhone and won the “phone of the year award” [15]. Putting the purchasing power of the consumers (availability at a cheaper rate) and Samsung’s marketing ability; the Company has found more market success than Apple in worldwide mobile sales. The following data was provided by Gartner Group Inc. in November 2013, which shows the success of Samsung over other phones including Apple (Worldwide estimate). It is evident that the marketing strategy of the Samsung to attract customer remains far more superior to that of Apple.

Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users by vendors in 3Q13 (Thousands of units). (Source Gartner, 2013).
Worldwide mobile phone sales to end users by vendors in 3Q13 (Thousands of units). (Source Gartner, 2013).

To further compete with Samsung Galaxy S5, Apple has announced the launching of iPhone6 by September 19, 2014 [16], in US, UK, Australia and parts of Asia, which might generate the consumer marketability that the Apple Company is hoping for. In sum, within a short period of three to four years, the two companies implemented various competitiveness strategies, such as new product introduction, radical and incremental innovations, imitations of the rival’s offer, product line extensions, price reduction, aggressive advertising campaigns as well as lawsuits.


  1. Dana Beldiman, Access to Information and Knowledge: 21st Century Challenges in Intellectual Property and Knowledge Governance, Edward Elgar Publishing, UK, 2013, p. 230.
  2. For further details, refer, “The Smartphone Wars”, in Elizabeth Woyke,The Smartphone: Anatomy of an Industry, The New Press, New York, US, 2014.
  3. Brian X. Chen and Nick Wingfield, “A Challenge in iPhone’s Backyard ; Samsung Hopes to Win U.S. Converts with Quirky Software on Latest Galaxy”, in International Herald Tribune , 16th March, 2013.
  4. Harriet Alexander, “Apple vs Samsung: Battle of the Technology Giants”, The Telegraph, 25th August, 2012.
  5. Tony Fu-Lai Yu, Yuen Wai–Kee andDiana S. Kwan, International Economic Development: Leading Issues and Challenges,Routledge, 2014, p. 102.
  6. Paul M. Barrett, “Apple’s War on Android”, BloombergBusinessweek Technology, 29th March, 2012.
  7. Bianca Bosker, “Steve Jobs Said He’d ‘Go Thermonuclear War’ On Google Over iPhone ‘Theft’ ”, in Huffington Post, 20th October, 2011.
  8. “The Smartphone Wars”, in Elizabeth Woyke, The Smartphone: Anatomy of an Industry, The New Press, New York, US, 2014.
  9. “The Smartphone Wars”, in Elizabeth Woyke, The Smartphone: Anatomy of an Industry, The New Press, New York, US, 2014.
  10. Darius C. Gambino and William L. Bartow, Trade Dress: Evolution, Strategy and Practice, Oxford University Press, 2012, pp. 164-65
  11.  J. P.  Mangalindan, “Today in Tech: With Galaxy 4, Samsung aims to take down iPhone”, Fortune, 14th March, 2013.
  12. “Samsung takes fight against Apple to New York with S4 launch” in South China Morning Post, 12th September, 2014.
  13. For further details on Samsung S5, please visit
  14. Claudio Giachetti, Competitive Dynamics in the Mobile Phone Industry,Palgrave Pivot, London, 2013.p. 11.
  15. Ibid. p. 11.
  16. LyynLa, “Apple iPhone 6 vs. Samsung Galaxy S5 and HTC One M8”, in CNET, 9thSeptember, 2014.


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