Samsung has been selling smartphones for a relatively short time. Although the company sold Windows Mobile, Linux and PalmOS during the last decade, it did not gain significant volumes until it began selling Android phones in 2010 with strong operator support.
That support was substantial in the US. The company crashed the Android party in mid 2010 with its Galaxy brand. Trial evidence reveals that the sales level for Galaxy S1 series phones burst out of the gate taking Samsung from 90k units to 2.5 million units in one quarter.
The following graph shows the unit shipments recorded by Samsung for a set of US smartphones.
Note that the profile of sales volume shows a cyclicality with respect to product launches. Each new generation overlaps with previous generations and “fills in” while the older generation product tails off in sales. This is standard portfolio strategy. It also shows the cycle time of launches is approximately four quarters. As the S1 was four quarters old, the SII launched and the SIII follows after four quarters of SII.
What is surprising is
In a footnote to my last post on Apple Retail (The face and the brand) I used data on operating performance from Apple and an assumption about employee salaries (which turned out to be low) to estimate that about 7% of Apple store sales are spent on “cost of service” or the operational expenses, which consist of mostly employee salaries.
An updated view of this store income statement (on a per-visitor basis) is shown below:
To summarize the logic,
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Horace takes another look at the aviation industry and asks whatever happened to air taxis. Then we go back to the manufacturing miracle of WWII in order to ask what might be the limits to growth. That helps us describe the “top down” opportunity for iOS and mobile computing in general looking at the overall mobile phone market. Finally Dan asks what are the qualifications needed for an analyst to perform wide-ranging reviews of industries.
via 5by5 | The Critical Path #49: Fly me to the Moon.
See also: Headroom (tweet).
Horace, you spent nearly a decade at Nokia, where you worked as a business development manager and industry analyst. Did you foresee their current, increasingly dire situation?
I did not see an explicit downfall. I anticipated difficult times ahead and a deep crisis. My view of what would happen was published as my first Asymco post.
What led you to start Asymco?
I started a consulting company which I hoped would generate leads through a blog. The blog became far more exciting than consulting and it became my primary focus after about one year. I had no ambition to write for a living or to be a “blogger”. I did not anticipate there would be any interest on the topic I wrote [about] beyond a handful of people. In that regard, things played out as they do at most start-ups: what you end up doing is not anywhere near the target you aimed at.
Apple’s clearly one of your favorite topics. What about the company appeals to you?
Business education is predicated on storytelling, also known as the case method. Business management is not a discipline that has “axioms” defining basic truths, or if it does, they change frequently. Therefore business education (i.e. the MBA) is the equivalent of people teaching each other by telling stories around a campfire. The best stories get repeated more often and are better ‘teaching tools’. So it is with Apple. It’s a great medium for story telling because people can see the stories unfolding in real time or at least within their lifetimes. They are not about a distant past or an abstract industry. There is also a lot of passion around the brand, both positive and negative and so it leads to more attention.
Read more here: Exclusive interview with Asymco’s Horace Dediu | The Tech Block.