Samsung to cut 10 percent of Korea staff amid falling smartphone sales

Following its rise to smartphone dominance around the world, Samsung is reportedly entering a massive cost-cutting mode, both in headcount and in general expenses.

After multiple quarters of falling profit and slowing mobile device sales, Samsung appears to be in cost-cutting mode: The company will reportedly cut 10 percent of its Korea headquarters staff.

So says the Korea Economic Daily, which also reports that Samsung will reduce general expensive by a massive 50 percent next year. Bloomberg notes that more that Samsung's market value has declined by $40 billion in the past five months alone.

Both are bad signs that follow a peak and then decline in Samsung's smartphone stature.

The company started its Galaxy handset effort slowly in 2010 only to watch sales in the product line top nearly all competitors. Over the next several years Samsung came largely from behind to eventually become the top seller of handsets around the world.

Samsung's momentum has reversed course of late, however.

Last year's Galaxy S5 phones didn't meet expectations and, while it's early yet, this year's Galaxy S6 products aren't helping Samsung regain its leadership role. Indeed, the company reported an 8 percent profit drop from the prior year in the second quarter of 2015. Samsung's only growth areas during the quarter were in its chip and UHD television lines of business.

While Samsung's rise to the top was well earned, the handset landscape has changed.

Apple has always been a competitor at the high-end -- and still is -- but now there are very solid mid-range smartphones with flagship features available at half the cost of a Galaxy S6. That's good enough for a large population so not even the new Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+ can completely save Samsung.