I would agree with that, if, SmartThings didn’t have Samsung as a parent. Unless Samsung is being unwise (or pessimistic) and is under-feeding this adopted child, or has an overly bureaucratic budget process (cost center vs. revenu center, blah, blah, blah), then SmartThings should not require new retail revenue streams at this time.
Though, to be clear, the caveats in the above paragraph are more than possible. Current revenue based on Hub sales is hard to know precisely, and the margins (after manufacturing, logistics, sales, and basic support expenses) are hard to estimate – I still think they are far too close to $0.00. Literally. Only scale and side-revenue streams will ultimately resolve that.
Acquired or experimental technology / product units fail or are killed for many reasons – and, at least from an outside perspective, many of these deaths or resales look like they could have been prevented in hindsight or they lead to better things eventually (Apple’s history is filled with fun examples: Lisa, Newton, …, And HP’s acquisition of Palm, eBay’s Skype, …).
My current opinion is that SmartThings is in MVP - Minimum Viable Product mode (unofficially an ongoing repaid refresh Beta). It is also under-resourced or mismanaged for its current legacy complexity (i.e., it is “under-engineered”).
Meanwhile, the bean counters are mostly focused on the marketing side (including internationally, for whatever reason, even with domestic instability). Those bean counters have timeframe and sales targets in their heads or on paper. If they are not generous or forgiving, then ST is in serious jeopardy as some unspoken milestones and deadlines approach. If I were to do a competitive analysis, I would research past Samsung unit ventures to try to estimate what their risk, time, and spending tolerance is, along with what types of emergency measures they may try if results are not going as planned.