This piece originally appeared on Livemint.com
Smartphone makers are on shaky ground. Recently, BlackBerry announced it will stop manufacturing phones to focus on software.
Xiaomi, once considered an Apple challenger, saw its shipments plummet, and it dropped out of the top five. So did Lenovo. There were over 500 smartphone brands in China once, but only about 100 have survived. Apple iPhone sales stagnated this year.
Even dominant players can’t take their position for granted. Where does that leave Samsung after the Note 7 fiasco, which has cost it billions and damaged its reputation?
A few more missteps could spell doom for Samsung smartphones. But it also has three things going for it. It has a healthy lead over its nearest rival (Chart 1).
Historically, the fall for big handset makers happened slowly, giving it time to set things right (Chart 2). And, it has many models in its stable to latch on to (chart 3).