Commentary

Samsung's Software Problem

As pretty as its products are -- and as imperfect as its software is -- Apple didn’t rely on hardware alone to get to the top of the mobile mountain.  

Samsung, however, has done exactly that, and now appears to be paying the price. In fact, as sources tell Reuters, the tech giant’s disregard for software lies at the heart of its current struggles.

“There's a lot of distrust of top executives who can actually implement stuff that is more of a software and services offering," an unnamed Samsung executive tells the news service.

Adding to the internal unrest, recent hardware innovations -- like the curved screen of the Galaxy S6 Edge -- have so far failed to boost Samsung’s bottom line.

Seemingly aware of the problem, Samsung recently promoted D.J. Koh -- who by most accounts is a software guy -- as president of its mobile communications business.

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Still, some have suggested that Koh is likely to maintain Samsung’s focus on hardware, which makes sense, considering that fact that he was involved in the development of the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6.

In that respect, company watchers say Koh is virtually indistinguishable from J.K. Shin, the executive previously in charge of Samsung’s handset division.

“Koh is basically the same person as Shin,” Chang Sea-jin, a business professor at Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, recently told Reuters. “There is no real change and Samsung appears to be continuing on the hardware-centric path.”

Further confusing matters, some say Samsung’s mobile failings are a result of not betting more resources on innovative hardware.

If Shin had ordered the production of more Galaxy S6 Edge smartphones -- and less of the non-curved screen editions – the company would have had a more profitable year, The Wall Street Journal recently suggested.

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