Samsung's new co-CEO: 'Windows isn't selling very well'
Claims Android, Tizen, innovation will beat Apple
Samsung says it will continue to produce Android phones even as it puts its weight behind the competing Tizen OS, but there's one software partner the South Korean mobile maker isn't so bullish on: Microsoft.
"Smartphones and tablets based on Microsoft's Windows operating system aren't selling very well," Samsung mobile chief J.K. Shin said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. "There is a preference in the market for Android. In Europe, we're also seeing lackluster demand for Windows-based products."
Samsung currently produces two handsets based on Windows Phone 8 – the ATIV S and the ATIV Odyssey – but it was slow to introduce them to the US market, only launching the ATIV Odyssey on Verizon after the holiday shopping season had passed.
As for Windows RT, Samsung has all but given up. In January, the South Korean firm announced that it had canceled its plans to launch its WinRT-based ATIV Tab in the US, and reports began surfacing in March that it was pulling the device from store shelves in Germany and some other European markets, as well.
None of this is good news for Microsoft. CEO Steve Ballmer has said Redmond is "all in" with its new mobile strategy, but Windows Phone 8 hasn't made much of a splash in the smartphone market so far, and sales of Surface RT devices have been disappointing.
Where Android is concerned, however, Shin said it's full steam ahead, and that Samsung's relationship with Google hadn't changed since becoming the dominant maker of Android phones.
"We like Android and we plan to continue our good relations with Google," he said. "I don't think it's correct to say that there's friction."
When asked why Samsung chose to launch its new flagship Android handset, the Galaxy S 4, in the US, rather than in Europe as with previous models, Shin noted the growing importance of the US market to the company.
"I don't dwell on market share numbers, but I'm not satisfied with our market share in the US," Shin said, adding that Samsung's main focus in the US is selling high-end Galaxy smartphones.
The dominant player in the US is, of course, Apple. And while the protracted patent world war between Apple and Samsung shows no signs of abating, Shin said he believes innovation will be key to winning greater share of US consumers.
"In the process of developing and making the Galaxy S 4, we have filed around 120 patents related to user interface and software," Shin said. "We've also hired a number of software engineers from India, Russia, China and Europe to develop unique features internally."
Some of those engineers will surely be working on Tizen, the open source OS that Samsung is positioning as an alternative to Android. In a separate interview on Thursday, Samsung executive VP Lee Young Hee told Bloomberg that the company's first Tizen product will arrive in August or September, and that it will be a high-end smartphone.
Shin told the Journal that Samsung's support for Tizen doesn't indicate a desire to move away from Android. "Our strategy has always been to work with multiple operating [system] software companies. There are different needs from our customers and the market for third-party OS," he said.
That strategy looks to be paying off. Shin said Samsung has sold 50 million Galaxy S III handsets since the model launched last year, and that the company expects its total shipments to exceed 400 million units this year.
Samsung has been so pleased with its mobile division's performance, in fact, that it has given Shin a promotion. On Friday, the company announced that Shin and Yoon Boo-keun, president of Samsung's consumer electronics division, have both been appointed chief executives, joining current CEO Kwon Oh-hyun.
It doesn't get much plainer than Samsung's statement on the matter:
Under President Yoon, Samsung's TV business maintained and solidified its global leadership position after becoming global No. 1 in 2006. Under President Shin, Samsung's mobile business posted significant growth and attained global No. 1 position in smartphones in 2011 and in overall mobile phones in 2012.
It is believed that the three CEOs will continue to act mostly independently, with each retaining full control of his respective division. ®
Re: Why Care About The OS?
"...Hey I wonder if I can get down votes from three camps that'd be novel..."
Only three camps? Don't do yourself down. By spelling you're and buy wrong and missing out a fair bit of punctuation, you can attract downvotes from the Grammar Nazis too!
It's not that Windows is not selling well
It's because everybody (Google, Samsung and wireless carriers) is making way more money with Android. Besides that, they don't risk becoming slaves of Redmond the way PC OEMs did. It's live and learn, folks! And if Android falls out of fashion then there's other Linux derivatives in line of succession. Windows is not rubbish, it's just that Microsoft can't do much to change this dynamics. Their tight grip on the PC market forced innovation to move elsewhere.
More dire news for Microsoft
No doubt Microsoft fans of Windows Phone 8 and new Tablets will dismiss Samsung as some unknowing "Asian" upstart that has no appreciation or understanding for the 'genius' of Microsoft's products, and that Redmond will still achieve the dominance these minions predicted sometime in the near future.
Apparently they also rejected a recent report from IDC Market Research firm which placed Microsoft smartphone market share in February time frame at approximately 2.9% and the Apple iOS/Android duopoly at approximately 91%. Domination from pittance presence to supplant almost the entire present smartphone OS base.
The news of strong interest in Mozilla FirefoxOS mobile in Europe and now that Samsung, in alliance with Intel will besoon releasing smartphones based in Tizen, 'another' Linux mobile OS is probably enough to send these Microsoft worshippers over the edge of sanity.