Should You Play Fair or Dirty with Competitors in the Big Tech Space?

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A rumor that started in the fall of last year recently resurfaced stating that Samsung paid their billion-dollar patent infringement fine to Apple in nickels.   In August of 2012, a jury did in fact rule that Samsung had infringed six of Apple’s patents and Apple was rewarded with $1.05 billion in damages, but Samsung did not pay these damages in 30 truckfuls of nickels.  Though the story turned out to be a hoax, it raises the question, in the ultra competitive tech market that most enterprise organizations find themselves in today; it is better to play dirty or play fair?

With new technological advances constantly changing and enhancing the user experience, competition between big organizations has become fierce and brand loyalty has diminished.  Customers are no longer strongly tied to a brand merely because of great customer service, previous experiences, or price.  Although these things still play a part in a buyer’s decision, a customer is now looking also for the newest cutting edge technology, the latest bells and whistles, and the most popular based on public opinion.  That means, when a company comes up with a huge market breakthrough, other organizations are forced to top it or find themselves losing market share (look at what happened to Windows after Apple launched the iPad).  This transcends all organizations these days, including field service organizations.  So what do you do to maintain that competitive edge?

In the case of Apple and Samsung, Samsung’s rush to top Apple in the mobile phone market turned detrimental.  Some might argue that Samsung played dirty trying to get away with using copied Apple technology on their devices.  And had the nickel story been true, it would have no doubt reflected poorly on Samsung as being childish, sore losers.  While brand loyalty may not be a leading decision factor in buying behavior anymore, a company’s actions do in fact sway buyers.  Just take a look at the Chick-a-fila fiascoof last year.So how do you play nice and still keep a competitive edge these days?

Be Original

Don’t copy other companies’ ideas, campaigns, or technology.  This just makes your organization look lazy, uninspired, and makes it look like you are looking for a quick buck.  If you want to impress, find something that hasn’t been done yet and bring it to market.

Closely Follow Trends

Get ahead of the next big thing.  Use analysts, corporate strategists, and market research to help guide you about trends, technological advances, and consumer buying patterns.  Then act as quickly as possible based on your findings.

Listen to Your Customers

Chances are, if you listen to your target market and your customers, you can deliver something better, and faster than your competitors.  Customers can easily tell you what they want from a product or service.  Then it is just up to your research and development team to deliver on this.  The best way to fight your competition is simple: instead of being caught infringing other organization’s patents, be better than them at what you do!  While Samsung’s hoaxed treatment of repaying Apple is nothing more than a figment of someone’s imagination, it does however highlight the depths that fiercely competitive organizations could go to in making their point but the question is, is this ethical or just a waste of time and resources? The best organizations innovate, innovate, and innovate so maybe the best route is to play fair, and just be better.

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