Has Apple Lost Its Cool to Samsung?

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By Ian Sherr and Evan Ramstad

Samsung Electronics Co. is succeeding where other technology companies have tried and failed: closing the coolness gap with Apple Inc.

The deep-pocketed Korean company has used a combination of engineering prowess, manufacturing heft and marketing savvy to create smartphones that can rival the iPhone in both sales and appeal.

Samsung, the market leader in smartphones, on Friday said its fourth-quarter profit surged 76% to a record high on the strength of smartphone sales, including its Galaxy S line. The latest version is considered comparable by many shoppers in both design and technical features.

Apple, meanwhile, reignited concerns about demand for its iPhone 5 after reporting flat earnings for the holiday quarter, sending its stock down 14% in the past two days. The stock has also dropped 37% since hitting an all-time high on Sept. 19, just two days before the iPhone 5 launched in stores.

At that time, Samsung had just unleashed an aggressive marketing campaign including a television commercial that poked fun at the iPhone 5. “The next big thing is already here,” the spot said, referring to its Galaxy S III phone.

The ad was part of a more than $200 million U.S. marketing blitz that Samsung launched in 2011 to lampoon Apple, according to Kantar Media. The creative vision for those ads was a former Nike executive, Todd Pendleton, who now runs Samsung’s marketing in the U.S.

 

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(Published Jan 28, 2013, in The Wall Street Journal.)