FORTUNE -- Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, 71, looked a little shaky Thursday as he arrived to deliver his annual new year's address.
And so did the conglomerate he's run since 1987 (not counting the two years he took off after his 2008 conviction for embezzlement and tax evasion).
Samsung plays the heavy in so many global markets -- and so many Apple (AAPL) stories -- that it's a little hard to see the world's largest information technology manufacturer in terms of its frailties. But with shares down 10% in 2013 and another 4.6% in the first day of 2014 trading -- Samsung's largest one-day percentage drop in seven months -- those frailties are what analysts are talking about.
Their list may sound familiar to Apple investors:
But Lee knows that Samsung faces deeper, more structural problems.
No electronics manufacturer is better at rapidly turning out in huge quantities smartphones and tablets of different sizes and specs. But in the mobile device market that accounts for more than 50% of its profits, Samsung can't match Apple's software ecosystem, is dependent on Google (GOOG) for Android, and can't seem to shake off the 2012 Apple patent infringement verdict that branded it a "copycat" -- no matter how many flashy innovations it adds to its high-end Galaxy line.
Lee, who 20 years ago famously advised employees to "change everything but your wife and children," stressed on Thursday the need to drop old habits and come up with new technologies -- particularly in software.
Samsung must "get rid of business models and strategies from five, ten years ago and hardware-focused ways, he said. "Research & development center(s) should work around the clock, non-stop."
The U.S. is suing Apple. Lee's government pardoned him. Twice.
FORTUNE -- With Tim Cook scheduled to testify Tuesday before a hostile Senate subcommittee and the Department of Justice's antitrust trial against Apple (AAPL) set to begin the following week, this might be a good time to contrast how the U.S. and South Korean governments each treat their country's most valuable company.
Cook is expected to be questioned sharply next week MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 19, 2013 7:00 AM ET
Rumors of a pending shakeup after chairman Lee's three-month trip to Japan and Hawaii.
FORTUNE -- "Change everything but your wife and children," Samsung chairman Lee Kun-Hee famously said 20 years ago when he announced the new management initiative that launched Samsung's entry into batteries, silicon chips and, eventually, display panels and smartphones.
Change often follows Lee's long overseas trips. Immediately after a 2010 voyage he shifted the company into emergency mode, cut executive MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 8, 2013 7:31 AM ET
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