Are Google, Apple, and Samsung Focused on the Wrong Goals?
With all the smartphone competition between Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android, Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone, and Samsung‘s (SSNLF.PK) Galaxy, there has been a lot of innovation to impress consumers across the globe. However, long-time venture capitalist and Elevation Partners founder Roger McNamee was interviewed on Bloomberg Television discussing how he is unimpressed with what smartphone companies have done of late.
He likened the three tech giants to “keystone cops,” running around chasing the wrong objectives and missing the most important element — service to their existing customers. Although Barron’s reports that the primary target of McNamee’s ire was Apple, both Google and Samsung received criticism as well.
McNamee’s main criticism came when discussing Apple’s iCloud, wanting the file-sharing service to become more advanced and — if you’ll believe it — even more intrusive.
“I don’t really need them to make a new user interface,” said McNamee. “I think it’s really about iCloud now, it’s about putting content into everything you own. Instead of me having to look for driving directions, looking for traffic, what I need iPhone to do every night is take my calendar and look for new information and populate it [the calendar]. The way iOS is engineered, it’s easy to do that.
“Grab all the free stuff on the Internet. Go on the Internet and get all the free stuff I would have to get myself and do it for me. I want the Internet of Me. Right now I have to do all this stuff myself.”
McNamee also believes that Samsung has the same access to information as Apple, although their software capabilities have historically been lackluster.
“Samsung owning Android can now do the same things I think Apple would do because they have the whole system. If I were Samsung I would be asking, ‘How do I become as good at making customers successful as I am at making semiconductors and phones?’ Software has not historically been a strength [for Samsung].”
McNamee was by far the most complimentary of what Google has done with its information, though the Mountain View-based company wasn’t completely shielded from his complaints.
“Google has not shown itself to be a careful shepherd of data. I don’t want to use Gmail and say I’m going to Boston, and then get a bunch of ads for flights to Boston. I would rather work with someone who is a bit less commercial. Google’s situation is great, but I wish they’d done Android differently, because I think there was a much larger opportunity. But what they’ve done with it is still terrific.”
In short, he wants the smartphone giants to spend a little less time attracting the “10 percent of customers that don’t have a smartphone yet,” and focus a little more on the experience of those that do own one.