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Samsung execs said to blame struggles on lack of software expertise

Despite these challenges, though, the Korean company is still the world's top smartphone maker.

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It would be unfair to say that Samsung alone is struggling in mobile: There's evidence that the smartphone industry in general is suffering a slowdown. That said, despite being a huge name in tech, the Korean giant has certainly seen its share of challenges, like being forced to cut prices to compete with various Chinese upstarts. If a new report from Reuters is to be believed, though, some former and even current company executives are privately chalking up the company's mobile woes to more than just stiff competition.

Speaking anonymously to the news agency, these sources point to Samsung's relative lack of experience in software development, especially after years of selling "boxes," according to one exec. "There's a lot of distrust of top executives who can actually implement stuff that is more of a software and services offering," one source told Reuters. In particular, sources apparently point to Samsung's rapid launch -- and closure -- of both its Milk streaming service and ChatOn messaging app. Indeed, too, our own reporting has revealed that Samsung hired a well-regarded UX firm to help design its user interfaces -- an odd move, when it has the manpower to theoretically design its Android skins in-house.

With that being said, it's worth noting that Google and Microsoft, which do have roots in software, are also quick to shutter unpopular apps. And while it's worth asking if certain services such as Milk or ChatOn were innovative or strong enough products to begin with, it's hard to fault Samsung's decision to continue pumping money into them if they weren't proving popular with users. Lastly, as Reuters notes, despite a tough market Samsung remains the world's top smartphone maker, so perhaps its decline has been exaggerated in the first place.

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