Why Doesn’t Samsung Have Its Own OS?

People don’t like change unless the change is revolutionary. 

Samsung doesn’t have its mobile OS because they lack software development expertise compared to Google and Apple; they lack developer community support and App Store. Without a robust App Store, customers would not buy a phone. Without a significant customer base, developers would not develop apps for Samsung. Tizen mobile OS is a living example.

The critical difference between an iPhone and Samsung Galaxy phone is that Apple makes its own iOS mobile operating system, whereas Samsung relies on Google for its phone’s OS.

Several times Samsung tried to make its mobile operating system. Once with the BADA and once with Tizen. However, in retrospect, both failed. 

Samsung isn’t the first time a company failed with its mobile operating system. Windows, Mozilla, BlackBerry, Nokia, Huawei, all these companies had their mobile OS; however, all of them were unable to attract users and a software developer community.

Lack of Mobile Apps Developer:

Most mobile apps come from professional software firms where they hire dedicated teams to develop mobile apps for specific mobile OS. Every firm is in the business to make maximum profit for them. For decades, it’s known that most of the profit comes from the American and European markets. 

Western users are the ones who are ready to buy and pay for in-app purchases. Moreover, the majority of the advertising revenue also comes from the Western market. Asia, the Middle East, and Africa may have a vast population, but profits are made in the western market.

Therefore, a software firm would make apps for a phone popular in America and Europe. Since its announcement in 2007, the iPhone has been the best-selling phone. Therefore, building an iPhone app is every software firm’s priority. 

A single developer doesn’t work on multiple platforms in a professional software firm. Therefore, if a company wants to develop an app for two separate mobile OS, they must hire two teams. Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android are the most popular OS globally. The majority of the phone users are concentrated on these two platforms. The firm has to hire another team to develop apps for another platform. Why waste money if this third platform isn’t popular, which would not generate profit?

Lack of Apps on App Store:

There was a time when feature phones were popular. However, after Apple announced the iPhone, the feature phone lost its market share almost overnight. After a decade, no one wants to use a feature phone anymore except for a few religious groups. 

A user wants a phone with all modern amenities. A user knows that buying an iPhone or Android-based Samsung Phone would give them access to millions of apps on the app store. However, no other mobile operating system has a robust app store. 

Without an AppStore, no mobile OS can become popular among buyers. Primarily, for this reason, Tizen, Microsoft mobile, Mozilla Fire OS, Huawei Harmony OS, BlackBerry, etc., failed. Microsoft even tried to pay developers upfront to develop apps for their mobile OS but still failed. 

Lack of Veteran Software Engineers:

Developing a mobile operating system is a colossal endeavor. It needs hundreds of millions of dollars; it also requires talented engineers. 

Microsoft, Apple, Google all are primarily software companies. They have been working on software for decades. Writing code is easy, but writing a piece of efficient software with tight code is hard. 

Apple is primarily a software company and second a hardware design company. On the contrary, Samsung is mainly a hardware company. Like LG, Samsung makes fridges, air conditioners, washing machines, dryers, phones, toilet seats, ships, bridges, television, dishwashers, and countless other things. 

Samsung’s software expertise is weak and poor. Writing an efficient piece of software is not Samsung’s foray. Even Samsung isn’t expert enough to port pure Android OS to its phone. For example, the same game running on an iPhone and a Samsung Galaxy phone would make the Galaxy phone hot, whereas an iPhone never becomes hot. It shows how inefficient the OS of a Galaxy phone is. 

Even the Tizen OS is not efficient. 

During the feature phone era when the Nokia phone was king, Samsung also made feature phones. However, Samsung phones were not popular because of poor quality hardware and software. Those same engineers are now working in Samsung’s software department. Therefore, it’s understandable who could not develop an efficient feature phone’s OS to rival Nokia; how could they create a more complicated OS to rival iOS and Google’s Android?

Lack of Software Development Culture:

Samsung developed the Tizen OS for their Galaxy phones, TVs, and wearables. However, Tizen mobile failed miserably. Moreover, the developer community was not interested in developing Tizen apps for several reasons. These reasons will further prove the thesis described above.

A developer can write Tizen apps using HTML5 or C++ programming language. Developing HTML5 based Tizen apps are straightforward. However, HTML5 based apps are painstakingly sluggish on a Tizen device. On the contrary, Tizen C++ apps are fast but writing a Tizen app with C++ programming language is painstakingly hard, especially the UI part. It proves unlike silicon valley, Samsung doesn’t have a software development mentality. 

An OS also helps glue together all the hardware to provide a seamless experience. During software development, Samsung also needs hardware support from various manufacturers. If hardware companies are not interested, writing an efficient OS is tough. 

Furthermore, secure software is crucial. After a few months of release, researchers found hundreds of severe security flaws in the Tizen OS. 

Samsung’s Tizen is riddled with security flaws, amateurishly written from Arstechnica.

Management Issues:

Samsung’s management culture is a top-down approach. Most of these software managers come from a hardware background. Engineers do whatever they are asked to do without questions. Software and hardware efficiency and security are not a top priority within Samsung. Tizen and Bada phones are living examples of this.

Even if Samsung tries again to make a new mobile OS, it will fail for the same reason other mobile OS failed from other companies. Shelling out money to developers to build apps doesn’t work. Microsoft tried it and failed.