Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) have, for the past year, engaged themselves in an unprecedented fashion of competition. From back-to-back product launches to heated legal brawls, that we have documented recurrently, the two have managed to bring a whole new different understanding of neck-to-neck competition.
At the onset of 2013, however, Samsung got an edge following Apple’s lackluster performance in late 2012. To capitalize on this, the Korean handset maker announced that it would internationally unveil the Samsung Galaxy S4 on March 14th. Typically, the U.S. launch usually comes weeks, and in some cases months, after the international launch. This time however, market conditions are indicative of an early U.S launch. Could such a move add to Apple’s piling problems?
Before probing further into the implications of an early U.S Samsung Galaxy S4 launch on Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), it would be worthwhile to pinpoint some of the suggestive indicators of a possible early launch.
Firstly, U.S carriers have reportedly thrown all their weight behind the Samsung Galaxy S4. According to Samsung’s Mobile Division chief, JK Shin, pressure from U.S carriers was one of the key reasons that influenced Samsung’s decision to choose New York as the international March 14th launch venue. “We introduced the Galaxy S III in London last year, and this time we changed the venue as we were bombarded with requests from U.S. mobile carriers to unveil the Galaxy S IV in the country,” he was noted to say.
Shin’s statement makes a lot of sense considering most carriers’ ambitious sales targets for Q2. The highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S4 is likely to act as the perfect incentive needed to draw customers into renewing their two year contracts with their carriers.
Secondly and most importantly, Samsung took a beating from Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) in the past quarter. Apple’s iPhone 5 sales figures nearly doubled Samsung Galaxy S3 sales units. To minify this demand gap and avoid a similar scenario, there is a high possibility that Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) will go with an early Samsung Galaxy S4 launch.
Apple’s U.S dominance at stake
In line with reports published this month, it is arguably conclusive that an early Samsung Galaxy S4 launch could adversely affect Apple.
As we reported on Monday, Kantar Research, through a research report, believes that the U.S. market has been swayed in favor of Android. As we put it, Apple’s iOS is trailing Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Android in the U.S. market. The Samsung Galaxy series have by far been the key factor behind Android’s gain in the U.S.
The Samsung Galaxy S4 will therefore not only latch onto Android’s upward trajectory, but will also penetrate the market more easily compared with its predecessor the S3. This could pose a huge risk to Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s dominance considering its current unfortunate state that incidentally, isn't being made any better by sell-side analysts.