Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam took to the stage at a recent investor conference where he suggested that Samsung try to create its own mobile operating system to compete directly with Android and iOS. Samsung already tried this with bada and, while it was a solid little OS, it ultimately wasn’t as powerful or robust as Android or iOS. “There’s a potential elephant in the room with Samsung,” McAdam said, noting that Samsung could be the “dark horse” of phone makers.
As CNET, which first reported on the story, points out, Samsung could be successful in the space because, like Apple and Research In Motion, it has the ability to create and provide software as well as hardware. Still, I disagree with McAdam’s thoughts that there’s any room for yet another mobile OS. The market is already far too crowded and Samsung has already found incredible success with Android. I think the company should continue down the track that it’s already on.
Samsung isn’t like Apple. It produces dozens of new phones each year and floods the market with options. It’s a strategy that works: just look at the sales figures for the Galaxy S III (it sold 20 million units in 100 days) and the Galaxy Note, among its other Galaxy products. It has also released several Windows Phone devices, although it’s unclear how well those devices have sold. But here’s my point: iOS and Android are absolutely dominating the mobile operating system market right now. Gartner, for example, recently found that Android has a 56.1 percent of the global smartphone OS market. Samsung’s the world’s largest vendor of mobile phones (it sold 86.6 million units during the first quarter of this year). That’s a perfect match. Meanwhile, iOS has a 22.9 percent share of the global smartphone OS market, followed by Symbian with an 8.6% share and BlackBerry OS with a 6.9% share.
BlackBerry 10 barely has a chance and Microsoft is doing everything it can to make sure that its Windows Phone market share starts to gain momentum. How could Samsung possibly introduce its own operating system and expect to compete in an already crowded market place?
In fact, McAdam slightly contradicted himself when he suggested that Samsung should create its own phone. “What I like about Microsoft, it’s not tied to one piece of hardware,” he said. In other words, McAdam likes that Windows Phone 8 will be installed on dozens of devices from several manufacturers instead of just on one or two devices from one phone maker. If Samsung were to step out of that game and create its own mobile operating system, well, then that would be one less partner Microsoft has for Windows Phone 8.
That’s not to rule out that Samsung couldn’t continue to create Android and Windows Phone 8 devices, but there’s absolutely no need for the company to go off and waste resources on a new operating system when its current recipe already works.