‘Beating Apple is #1 priority, everything must be in context of beating Apple’ – internal Samsung docs


Documents revealed by the second Apple vs Samsung patent trial are not just giving us a peek behind the corporate curtains at 1 Infinite Loop, but also a glimpse into Samsung’s Seoul boardroom. A slide from a Samsung business forecast from 2011 shows the company viewing “beating Apple” as its number one priority for 2012 … 

The presentation, entitled 2011 Summary & Lessons Learned / 2012 Business Forecast, showed that Apple was considered an “extremely real and urgent threat.” Interestingly, Samsung’s response seems to be entirely focused on branding, rather than technology, with the decision taken to extend the Galaxy sub-brand across a larger range of handsets and to switch resources to mainstream media advertising (“above the line”) rather than point-of-sale promotions and the like (“below the line”).

Samsung’s concern seemed to be that consumers were already walking into stores asking for an iPhone rather than being open to other brands.

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  1. Beating XXX as prime focus is definitely the wrong instruction for employees. Becoming better in solving customers problems by providing suitable products and service is a better inspiration and sets the right focus.

    • Gregory Wright - 9 years ago

      No, primarily its about making money.

      • vikramis007 - 9 years ago

        Yeah. That’s why every manager tells his employees to try to make more money than waste time on unnecessary improvements on the product itself, right?

  2. thejuanald - 9 years ago

    Isn’t that the priority of every business vying for the number one spot in their market?

    • Gregory Wright - 9 years ago

      Yes, its the same focus of KU beating Uconn tonight.

      • Cedric Johnson - 9 years ago

        KU is Kansas, UK is Kentucky. A real fan would know that.

      • Gregory Wright - 9 years ago

        You’re right Cedric I jumped on the bus late. I am interested in the game though and will be watching tonight. So, in order not to sit there like a lump I decided I will root for “UK”.

  3. Yeah, because beating someone as your number one goal always works out so great (not!). Don’t this people know anything about how to run a company these days?

    Being #1 and beating your competitors is a result, not a goal. A goal is the build the best f*ing phone there is and make the most amazing user experience. Anything else happens after that.

  4. MindLogics (@MindLogics) - 9 years ago

    The prime focus and goal should be to build an inspiring user experience for getting #1 spot in the market instead of beating BRAND.

  5. Kevin Rye (@RyeMAC3) - 9 years ago

    Looks like Samsung has absolutely no interest in innovation, only to beat Apple using whatever tactics they can. Apple is about making amazing products that better our everyday lives. The money Apple makes and their market share is a side-effect. Apple would be the first to tell you that it’s never been about market share or money. Samsung is all about selling handsets to make the numbers.

    • PMZanetti - 9 years ago

      Don’t kid yourself. Its about making money for Apple too. They’ve just discovered that money is something that comes when you do the right thing for the right reason.

      Other companies can’t bear the thought of doing in the right thing in the hopes of making money….they have to calculate their way to a bottom line, and go hard at it.

    • Susovan Seal - 9 years ago

      Completely Agree with you kevin Rye !

      • Daniel L. Lau - 9 years ago

        Let’s give Samsung some credit for their manufacturing capability. As we all know, Apple needs Samsung to manufacture many of the parts in the iPhone, including the A’n’ processors. So perhaps Samsung is the ultimate example of how their manufacturing focus has made them one of the best foundries in the world while their approach to fighting Apple is, perhaps, one of the worst.

  6. Vinish Soman (@iVinish) - 9 years ago

    I am not surprised !!! Always felt Samsung had got it wrong !!! How can you really run your business with a sole intension to ‘beat’ Apple. What can you really bring to the table with that attitude ?? The aim should be to be no.1 by making great products backed by innovation and simplicity. ;)

  7. Brian - 9 years ago

    And use their intellectual property, stolen by samesong (with a lot of help from Google) to do it. How incredibly lame can Samsung be? There is no limit.

  8. rettun1 - 9 years ago

    I asked myself how I’d feel if we found a slide that said ‘Apples main focus was beating Samsung’ in order to put this story in perspective. If that was the case, I don’t think I would defend it. Steve and Tim always said their main focus was building the greatest products, something that I don’t think Samsung really values.

    along with poking fun at Apple users, Samsungs ads push the experience of the devices, something that this slide shows isn’t the real priority to them

  9. Apple will always have their namesake with every product that represents quality and a user friendly experience. Samsung may hold large shares of the market in regard to screen size and performance specs, and storage, but Apple will always be there with a quality product that gives the user a custom and personalized experience. Besides, let us not forget that most people who have an Android smartphone do not even utilize its full potential. The case in point is my Grandma who has a smartphone and keeps it off half the time and does not know nor wants to know how to access her email or download apps from the Play Store. I believe that Samsung can sell as many units as they want, however they are simply handing out these products to gain numbers without the user gaining the full experience. Therefore, Samsung can beat Apple on the charts and every other statistic. Nevertheless, Apple will tailor a user experience to the hardcore user like ourselves (based on the fact that we read 9to5mac), and the general public who just want to access their email.

    • rettun1 - 9 years ago

      It’s just a shame that people look to marketshare to determine ‘success’. It is indicative of sales, obviously, but it’s a jump to say that most people will always buy the ‘best’ product. I guess that’s what happens when we live in a market society: our society has market values.

  10. László Földvári - 9 years ago

    I have an iPad, my laptop is a MacBook Air and I’m totally happy with them.
    Now off course I also have an iPhone to make the circle finish.

    I bought the iPhone 5 straight when it came out, simlock free.
    Unfortunately I have only problems with it since than.
    The lock button did not work after 3-4 months.
    I can only make calls when I switch of the wifi. (since day 1)
    I can’t make pictures with it because the camera lens is so dirty somehow from the inside. (after half year +-)
    My battery can keep up 4-5 hours, and when it’s cold it shuts down suddenly, even when it’s 50%+ charged.(after 1 year)

    Now I went to the Apple store, to replace it(after 3-4 months). After reading some blogs and forums I was totally sure they are going to replace it. NOT!
    They said it has some water damage, I NEVER DROPPED IT INTO WATER! (indicator near the simcard) (Apple store Hungary)

    I really hope apple is going to make a better iPhone, and do something about there costumer care. Since it’s not a 50 euro phone.

    The experience I have now is just f***ing bad! And I don’t want to by some sh*t samsung (although samsung is much more innovative).

    So apple don’t make me hate you!

  11. scumbolt2014 - 9 years ago

    ScamScum’s got no Seoul.

  12. drtyrell969 - 9 years ago

    And so they did.

  13. rettun1 - 9 years ago

    As an aside, I saw a galaxy s5 ad today for Verizon, offering two phones for the price of one. I think that might have something to do with their higher marketshare…

  14. anon - 9 years ago


  15. herb02135go - 9 years ago

    The Apple apologists are in full panic mode tonight.

    There is absolutely nothing unusual with a company wanting to be number 1 in its industry, and that’s what this shows.

    Samsung has beat Apple internationally. Mission accomplished. The Apple internal documents show Apple was worried. Is Jobs’ “holy war” a reference to improving customer service? No, it’s about beating the competition.

    The fact that your grandma don’t use the Samsung device to its full potential and the fact that you feel Apple is “shinier” does not make it so.

    Let’s not forget the “butt-ugly Samsung” l
    “copies Apple’s design”.

    • frankfootball - 9 years ago

      Firstly – there’s no panic here, just calm condemnation of something which is obviously not a consumer-friendly strategy. Instead of seeking to produce better products, they simply aim to beat companies by spamming advertising.

      Secondly – Samsung has beaten Apple, how, exactly? By selling more items at a lower price and making much less profit in the process? By showing an annual year on year drop in profit, while Apple continues to break their records?

      Thirdly – iPhone users are, on average, better paid and better educated than Android users. The ‘grandma’ argument is pretty pathetic, especially given how many people now try to claim that Android is just as user friendly.

      Fourthly – yes, most Samsung phones are butt ugly. Nobody claimed they copied Apple’s industrial design or the use of quality materials. The majority of sub-sections they copied are software patents, which have nothing to do with the phones looking the same.

      Lets be honest – you’re here to troll.


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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