LG has decided to walk away from its smartphone business. It’s the end of an era. Many features that we take for granted in our smartphones were actually pioneered by LG.
They rolled out the first capacitive touch screen. They introduced us to slow motion video recording, but with a dwindling market share and mounting losses, they had no option but to shut shop.
Wacky displays, ultra-wide cameras, gesture controls, LG did it all.
And they did it, way ahead of their rivals.
Apple can’t stop bragging about its stainless-steel frames. For LG, that’s old news because they did it in 2015.
When Sony and Apple were toggling their screen brightness in 2014, LG unveiled quad high definition, four times standard HD, etc. LG had managed to conjure magic into its screens.
Everyone wanted to own one. By 2013, it was the world’s third largest smartphone maker.
But then, things went south. The market was becoming more competitive. Apple and Samsung were making durable phones. Devices suited to our multi-tasking lives. LG just couldn’t keep up. Its phones struggled with hardware and software issues. Users grew tired of staring at the buffering bezel. They abandoned LG. In the last 6 years, losses mounted.
LG bled around 4.5 billion dollars in this period. They were shipping 28 million phones compared to Samsung’s 256 million. It was time to call it a day. LG first tried to sell its smartphone business. No luck, nobody wanted to bet on a sinking ship. So instead, they shut shop. Leaving behind an industry, it helped build. But we haven’t heard the last of LG. Not by a long shot. They still own a thriving consumer appliances business. They are the second best-selling TV brand in the world.
The company plans to focus more on robotics and artificial intelligence. It’s a bold new era for the Korean giant but LG’s fall is a commentary on our times. The markets change every fortnight. Consumer taste depends on the next advertisement they watch. Market domination isn’t absolute anymore. It’s a game of musical chairs.
The smartphone industry is known to be a giant slayer. Companies that were perceived to be too big to fall have been shunned to the market fringes. Remember Nokia and Motorola?
Pioneers reduced to paupers. Loyal customers are an overrated concept. More than loyal today’s customer are wily. They swapped out Yahoo for Gmail and Orkut for Facebook.
In the 90s and 2000s, blockbuster video ruled the video rental space, games, movies. They had it all.
In 2010, blockbuster filed for bankruptcy. They’d missed the digital bus. In 2000, blockbuster turned down an offer from what was back then a little-known business, Netflix.
Then there was polaroid, pioneers of instant photography. They basked in their initial success while DSLRs scooped away their customers.
The airline industry is another giant slayer. Big guns like Pan Am and Concorde revolutionised flying but they soon fell into ruin.
Remember the first rule of business. The customer is always right. Today, their message is clearer than ever. Innovate or die. LG’s bag of neat tricks couldn’t hide their slow processors in this highly competitive world. The only constant is change.