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‘The Story Line’

Daisuke Wakabayashi, writing for The Wall Street Journal:

A year ago, the story line around Apple Inc. was that its formidable growth had petered out and Samsung Electronics Co. was eating its lunch. What a difference a year makes.

Driven by booming sales of its new bigger-screen iPhones, Apple on Monday said its quarterly profit rose 13%, and it predicted record holiday sales in the current three-month period.

Meanwhile, Samsung’s approach of offering smartphones at all sizes and prices in every market is struggling amid a wave of Chinese manufacturers with low-cost offerings.

I like the way Wakabayashi poses this. That was “the story line”. It wasn’t the actual truth, it turns out, it was just the story line. But whose story? Well, it was the story put forth repeatedly by, to name just one example, The Wall Street Journal itself, repeatedly. Samsung is beating Apple is a narrative that the WSJ drove. Here’s a perfect example from January 2013 (“Has Apple Lost Its Cool to Samsung?”):

Samsung’s surge in smartphones has caused more than just consumers to switch away from Apple. Some app developers have said they are now focusing more attention on Samsung devices.

Ken Yarmosh, chief executive of Savvy Apps in Washington, D.C., said his company began by making apps for Apple’s iOS operating system but lately has been focusing on Android as Samsung devices have become more prevalent, especially among his own company’s testing devices.

“There was a major flip — it was Apple, then if you have money build for Android,” Mr. Yarmosh said. “Now it’s Android first, or Android only.”

So it’s not that the WSJ was wrong. It’s the story that was wrong. Even though the WSJ wrote and drove the story. Got it.

Monday, 20 October 2014