By Kim Yoo-chul
With new CEO Kwon Oh-hyun taking the helm of Samsung Electronics, it is highly probable that the firm will undergo some changes in strategy, its business portfolio and the dispute with rival Apple.
Samsung is expected to move to a low-key approach in pending issues, including the ongoing feud with Apple, given that the new chief executive is considered more prudent and less aggressive than his predecessor Choi Gee-sung.
At his inauguration speech, Monday, he did not mention the legal feud directly, but hinted that his strategy will focus on stepping up the company’s competitiveness in software, an area that Apple has an edge over Samsung.
The CEO said the global consumer electronics industry is currently at a ``major crossroads’’ urging employees to embrace uncertainty as a springboard for new growth.
``Samsung needs to improve its competitiveness in software, and is now at a crossroads. To become the top global technology company, we need to challenge and innovate continuously. I will give more authority to our employees for creative ideas,’’ he said.
Kwon further stressed the importance of producing new customer experience and value by strengthening capabilities in design, user experience, solutions and software.
Some industry experts expect that his appearance will pave the way for the two tech giants to seek a compromise in the legal battle that has lasted more than a year.
Kwon, who earned Ph. D degree from the Stanford University in the United States, helped Samsung beat Japanese chipmakers in memory chips and strengthen its capability to non-memory chips.
Basically, Kwon’s message has been in line with the former CEO Choi because he also stressed the need to boost Samsung’s software competence amid an ``era of content.’’ But the fact that Kwon played a key role in Samsung becoming a key supplier to Apple is a factor that makes people expect a low-key approach in the legal feud.
``That’s why there are some expectations that Kwon could be more favorable to Apple. What I mean is that Samsung’s new word under Kwon’s reign is back to basics, meaning Samsung could further grow by selling parts to clients,’’ said an industry source.
Samsung and Apple are awaiting a lawsuit in the United States after meetings between the Choi and Apple CEO Tim Cook failed to yield any results.
Officials declined to comment whether the company will see ``any meaningful changes’’ with regards to Apple under the new CEO.
Samsung has been aggressively investing in its mobile software platform division as it is heavily dependent on Google’s Android software amid lackluster demand for its own Bada software among global consumers.
Samsung will hold a key management meeting from June 25 to June 27 chaired by the new CEO ― earlier than previously scheduled. Officials say how to cope with economic uncertainties and building up risk management systems are key issues.
``Samsung’s profit is growing in the second quarter from a record profit in the first quarter. But it’s expected the new CEO will urge employees to do more,’’ said an official.
In the message, Kwon said the company's core businesses must strengthen their dominance in technology and global markets to secure ``an absolute lead.’’
Investors are welcoming about the new CEO’s message with Fitch Ratings has maintained its ``stable outlook’’ position on the company’s shares.
``The affirmation reflects Samsung’s strong operating results and financial profile in the first quarter of this year backed by its market-leading positions and robust cash generation,’’ said Alvin Lim, associate director at the credit rating agency.