No cross-licensing deal, HP's webOS acquisition expected
Samsung Electronics CEO Choi Gee-sung shares his outlook on the global economy and the IT industry while presenting the firm’s strategy at a meeting with the press held at the IFA 2011 in Berlin, Germany, Friday.
/ Korea Times
By Kim Yoo-chul
BERLIN - Samsung Electronics is in a transition game with Apple and regards the ongoing patent disputes with Apple as ``destiny’’ before the next progress in corporate growth.
Samsung, South Korea-based tech giant, is aiming to become the world’s top-tier software firm by the end of 2013, at the earliest and its chief executive said it will heavily boost its spending on software.
``Samsung regards court battles with Apple as destiny. We are clashing with Apple in certain areas. Current situations will make us stronger,’’ said the company CEO Choi Gee-sung in a dinner meeting with Korean reporters, Friday.
``There had been heavy doubts about Samsung whether we can pass over Sony of Japan and even Nokia. But the results are telling everything,’’ said the top company executive.
Such remarks are very rare considering Samsung’s long tight-lipped policies about its key clients. Apple is Samsung’s biggest overseas client, followed by Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Sony.
Choi came to Berlin to participate in the IFA technology fair.
The most critical 19 litigation cases between Samsung and Apple will get rolling in U.S. district courts in California.
Preliminary rulings there could affect Samsung’s ability to sell products in the United States _ Samsung’s biggest market.
Another senior Samsung executive, who participated in the meeting, simply ruled out the possibility that Samsung will come to a licensing deal with Apple, dismissing earlier predictions that the two companies will ultimately enter a comprehensive licensing deal.
``Samsung has no reason to send a `goodwill gesture’ to Apple first and therefore it is highly unlikely that Samsung will come to a licensing deal with Apple,’’ said Hong Chang-wan, the head of the company’s home appliances division.
Samsung apparently has no interests about the acquisition of HP’s webOS patent portfolios as it won’t follow any ``cyclical fashion trend’’ just to respond to market changes.
``One thing clear is that Samsung will never buy HP’s webOS patent portfolios and I think that’s not important. We have over 20,000 software experts and Samsung prepares beyond normal imaginations. We are open to strike small M&A deals, though,’’ said the chief executive.
Samsung in recent weeks has taken pains to show that it understands the need to focus more on software to increase its margins.
Samsung’s public relations office leaked word that Chairman Lee Kun-hee told top executives last month, ``We must pay attention to the fact that power is moving away from hardware companies such as Samsung to software companies.’’
And the chief executive Choi said, it will invest heavily to follow up with the trend, though the chief executive declined to elaborate further.
``Samsung is not an unorganized firm. In long-term evolution (LTE) service, which regarded as the next-generation telecom tech, Samsung will become the leader just within the next few years,’’ Choi told reporters.
Bullish sales target
Samsung plans to reap $150 billion in total revenue by the end of this year and the CEO Choi said the tech giant will continue a ``double-digit growth pattern, annually.’’
Also, the South Korean firm is aiming to create $70 billion in total revenues only in Europe by the end of 2015 as it is more than positive for further external growths in Europe.
``Before coming to Berlin for the IFA exhibition, I visited Copenhagen of Denmark and Zurich in Switzerland, where we’ve been struggling. But even these markets, calls are high for Samsung’s premium-branded products,’’ Choi said.
``By the end of next year, the number of top-ranking items will be increased to 12 and we are aiming to get $23.7 billion in sales just from finished-goods business,’’ according to Choi.
Additionally, its home appliances chief Hong said Samsung is considering the possibility to build a new home appliances product line in Brazil and added Samsung will be safe in any litigation troubles with the market leader Electrolux of Sweden and Whirlpool of the United States.
Meanwhile, Samsung also plans to become the world’s third-biggest notebook manufacturer by the end of 2015.
``We are internally targeting to sell 40 million notebooks by 2015 and Samsung is also eyeing for printer sector dominated by Japanese companies,’’ said Nam Seoung-woo, who handles Samsung’s printer and notebook business.