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The Note 7 is dead: What Samsung must do now

Matt Hamblen | Oct. 12, 2016
Be transparent about what caused overheating, fires, analysts advise

Absorb any losses and move on

While the Note stylus is important to many users, it has still been a niche product. The last Note5 (there was no Note6) generated only 5% of all of Samsung's sales, Moorhead said. The Galaxy line of phones, including the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge are from two to three times more popular, according to various accounts.

"The Note line has been very small for Samsung," he said. He and other analysts said it would be hard to see problems from the Note line affecting other lines.

"Samsung has many smartphone models globally and none have experienced the same problem," Burden said.

As to whether Apple or Huawei would benefit from the Note7 disaster, analysts were uniformly convinced there will be little boost to competitors.

Part of the reason is that Samsung already controls the largest share of the smartphone market globally, at 22% in the second quarter, according to IDC. Apple had 12% and Huawei had 9%.

"No way will Samsung lose its ranking over this problem," Moorhead said. "They are just so large."

Huawei also makes Android phones, but hasn't invested heavily in a U.S. presence, which will limit it more than the Note7 disaster could help it, he added.

"Other brands will benefit over the short run, no doubt, but no other brand is likely to try and capitalize by calling attention to its superior battery technology or quality control efforts," Burden added.

"Battery technology constrains every consumer technology company in a similar way . . . since no new elements are showing up in the periodic table," Burden explained. "This means that every manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries has already put in years towards squeezing more capacity and life out of the same chemistry in its batteries -- and they are only as good as their manufacturing process."


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