Samsung, the Korean electronics giant, appears to be playing hardball with Apple as both companies aim to connect consumers on multiple screens from the TV to tablets to mobile devices. And the hostilities are just getting started.
In recent months, it has become increasingly clear that Samsung isn't going to give Apple ground in consumer electronics. The battle is worth watching since Apple could theoretically get into the TV business at some point. This Samsung-Apple duel will play out in mobile devices, tablet computing as well as your living room. Simply put, Samsung, unlike its rival Sony, isn't going to be caught flat-footed by Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
It's no surprise that Samsung has aligned with Google and its Android platform against Apple. To wit:
Samsung on Thursday will introduce its Galaxy Tab, which has been making the rounds, and is designed to be the first high-profile Android device designed to give the iPad a run. Here's the Thursday invite to Samsung's official launch.
Distribution and scale matter for Samsung as it take on Apple. The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that Samsung has cut deals with Verizon Wireless, AT&T and Sprint to distribute its Galaxy Tab in the U.S. It appears that Samsung's tablet will go for $200 to $300 with carrier subsidies. The big question here is whether consumers are overloaded with 3G plans. In any case, Samsung will undercut the iPad, which starts at $499. Also: Samsung Galaxy Tab (photos)
Meanwhile, Samsung is trying to woo TV app developers. This move appears to be an effort to get ahead of Apple's master plan to put iTunes and its App Store at the center of your entertainment center. The hockey-puck known as Apple TV is likely just a start to bigger things.
Samsung could be a Google TV partner. Bloomberg reports that Samsung may make Google TV powered sets as a way to defend one of its core markets.
Apple and Samsung will duke it out in the supply chain for components. There are only so many LCD screens to be had.
Add it up and is it any wonder that Samsung execs talk about topping the iPad. In the U.S., Jobs made it very clear he has no love for Samsung. Actually, Jobs took aim at Korean companies, but rest assured he wasn't talking about Hyundai. At Jobs' awkward Antennagate press conference a few months back he said:
"One thing I’ve learned is that when there’s a successful organization, people want to tear it down. It’s happening to Google now. Google’s a great company, but people are tearing them down. They’re doing the same thing to us. What’s the purpose in that? Would you prefer, that we’re a Korean company? Do you not like the fact that we’re an American company leading the world right here?"
Given the timing of Samsung's recent moves, it's possible that Jobs just gave Samsung some bulletin board material to rally around. Nothing can get a massive conglomerate on the same page as a common enemy. Jobs made his comments in July. Since then, Samsung has been on a bit of a run.
When folks talk about Apple, Google always comes up as the main foe. It may be worth mentioning Samsung in that same conversation. Samsung isn't about to quietly give consumer electronics ground to Apple, which resembles a consumer electronics company more than the Mac-fueled company from the past.