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Smart Mobile Players: are we down to two survivors 10.10.12

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10 Oct 2012
First it was Motorola which ruled the mobile world for a dozen years or so and then it was Nokia which assumed their crown. Meanwhile, RIM (Blackberry) was successfully beavering away at the business market

In 2006, Apple and Samsung were not even in the ball park.

All this changed when the iPhone was announced on 9th January, 2007 and then surprisingly not launched until 29th June 2007. You would have wanted to have been a fly on the wall of the boardrooms of Motorola, Nokia, HTC, RIM and others to see whether they they thought Apple were mad (or not). Equally, you'd have wanted to have been in Seoul to note Samsung's reactions.

In August, 2007, I visited Apple in Silicon Valley to have breakfast with Jony Ive ( he was called away by Steve Jobs before we'd started) and in April, 2008 I was a guest of Samsung's in Seoul. I had already been to RIM in Waterloo, Canada, Nokia in Helsinki and Ericsson in Lulea, north Sweden.

I was late to the dance floor only buying an iPhone after my trip to Cupertino (my fourth).

Subsequently, I spent four days at Samsung, looking at their next product ranges in smart phones, laptops, cameras and wide-screen televisions. It was quite clear to me that Samsung had woken up, that it had hired a bunch of savvy designers to rival B&O, Bose and Apple and that it was about to shake the complacency of Sony, Pioneer and Phillips as well as Nokia and Motorola.   

Today, Nokia is a spent force and I am no longer sure Microsoft will buy them. If they produced a $40 slim-line smart phone for the Indian and Chinese markets they could make a killing but I am not sure they have the desire. RIM has tried to make a comeback but inevitably it will be forced to sell its IP maybe to Apple, maybe to Google, maybe even to Microsoft.

There are really only two smart phone players left Apple and Samsung. HTC in Taipei - which was the working class producer of a cheaper smart phone - has been left floundering. No wonder these two giants are at one another's throats in the law courts around the world. Of course, if we had an ICT Court of Arbitration these cases would be heard within months rather than years.      

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