Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Samsung withdraw from the camera market. Why I am not surprised

The withdrawal of Samsung from the camera and camcorder market is sad news for those who invested in the brand. Only recently were Samsung cameras being pushed by some magazines and the overall marketing was intense. I presume the company had not achieved the share of the market it had planned.

I was never remotely tempted to buy a Samsung camera, the reason being that I have never been satisfied with anything Samsung I have bought. The software for a pre-Android telephone was appalling and the interface the cause of much frustration. Worse was to follow: a 'smart' (i.e. thick as two short planks) television with video recorder/DVD BluRay player. The latter has the worst user interface I have ever known in any electronic device, needing multiple clicks and arrow shifts just to play back a recorded television programme; it is not very reliable and sends inane messages to the television screen when in operation. I loathe that machine. I have a non-Samsung brand large hard drive which registers as a Samsung drive on the Mac; it is the noisiest drive I have ever encountered. So, you do get the message that as far as I am concerned the Samsung brand is contaminated.

More generally, large manufacturers with different divisions must live in fear and dread of a dud product contaminating the brand. For much of the 1970s and 80s I used to go to a conference in New Hampshire. It was held in one of the liberal arts colleges that American parents waste their money on. Initially, the food was good, very good, in fact, if you can stand piling all the sweet and savoury items on one plate. In later years the food deteriorated. The catering had been contracted out to a major American hotel chain. 'I would never stay at one of their hotels', said a student who was working there for the summer. The premium brand was contaminated by the poor performance of one division which probably had nothing to do with the outside catering business. The heads of Canon, Nikon, Sony and Panasonic must tremble as new products are launched because a number are simply not best in their class. A manufacturer once told me that if they produced anything it had to be the best or second-best of its class in the world and, he added, certain of achieving a 40% margin! And no it wasn't Apple.