On the software side, Samsung doesn't own its own primary mobile platform as Apple does.
In other words, Samsung doesn't control its own destiny in the smart phone space. They're at the mercy of Google. But there's a way out for Samsung. They can take control of their smartphone and tablet future by doing one of two things,
one easy and one hard:
The easy thing: fork Android. Amazon did that to great effect. Samsung could do it too, cut out all that Google spyware and spamware, and replace Google's profit layer with their own. Most importantly, Samsung would have a software platform that they could optimize for their own hardware and modify as they see fit, without depending on Google to add features they want or to fix bugs and performance issues. Then there's the harder thing...
The hard thing: create their own OS. Samsung is already working on their version of Tizen, which promises to be truly open and free of any Google spyware, spamware, and profit layer. That would take quite a while to perfect, but it might be worth it for Samsung. Again because Samsung would no longer be dependent on Google, who obviously have their own agenda independent of Samsung's success.
The "new Apple," Chowdhry notes, "is not about new hardware. it's about software attach rates."
There are plenty of industries for Apple to disrupt that won't require specific Apple hardware. Embedded automotive electronics control (as in Eyes Free, and fully Embedded Siri as shown by Ford at CES.) Home automation, including
environmental / security / entertainment (of which the Apple television may or may not be a component.) And, of course the television industry, which is an entirely different thread of course.
So yes, eventually Apple will need to switch their profit center from their hardware sales to content and services. Hardware costs always come down over time. A 2 GB hard drive cost $1000 20 years ago. Now you can buy 10 TB of disk space for that same $1000. Of course, Apple has already planned for that low-hardware-revenue future. Their content and services infrastructure is already in place. Music? Done. Video? Done. Interactive television? Ready when you are.
But for now, Apple can and will profit from their hardware designs. And, as we all know by now (right folks?) it's the software that sells the hardware. Oh wait. No, Wall Street doesn't quite understand that yet. And no, Samsung doesn't know it yet either. Oops.
"People who are really serious about software should make their own hardware."
- Alan Kay, American computer science pioneer
Alan Kay said that 30 years ago. Still true today.