Lenovo Plans to 'Surpass' Apple and Samsung in Smartphones

Lenovo CEO Yuanqing Yang's plan for buying Motorola is nothing less than "surpassing" not only fellow Android OEM Samsung, but iPhone maker Apple. In an interview with Fortune held right after Mr. Yang addressed Motorola employees in Chicago, the Chinese executive said he believes his company can pass up both companies "over time."

Lenotorola

Good luck with that, sir.

I'm sure it's possible for Lenovo to pass up Samsung, be it in terms of quality, market share, or share of industry profits, but passing up Apple? It ain't gonna happen unless Apple's iPhone empire crumbles.

Android OEMs can duke it out all they want, but no matter how good Lenovo-owned Motorola might eventually be, no Android OEM will be able to knock Apple out of the market, and that's what "surpassing" Apple would mean.

The smartphone market has evolved to a point where Android market share is a zero sum game where the various OEMs are merely jockeying for position. HTC and LG both enjoyed their time in the Android limelight, and right now Samsung is on top, but all of these companies—and Lenotorola, too—are still fighting over the bottom 80-85 percent of the market.

Not only does Apple own the top end of the market, Lenovo has no experience competing at the end. Worse (for Lenovo), the company has even less experience in software than Samsung, and I have long contended that it's software that makes the customer experience and the ecosystem.

If Lenovo thinks it can compete in that area ever, let alone the near future, the company is in for a world of disappointment. The company's acquisition of Motorola will eventually be bad news for HTC, LG, Samsung, ZTE, and even the so-called "Apple of China," Xiaomi, but being a threat to Apple is delusional.

Don't get me wrong. I look forward to seeing the product of Lenovo's investment in the smartphone market, and the company has clearly shown it can be a fierce competitor as a computer OEM, but even there Lenovo hasn't taken share from Apple.