Samsung eyes business users, targets RIM
By Kim Yoo-chul
Samsung Electronics has been trading barbs with Apple over intellectual property on mobile Internet devices.
The industry foe it really wants to beat, however, is Research in Motion, the Canadian maker of the iconic BlackBerry, according to company sources.
As the global market for smartphones and tablets has shaped up into a duopoly between Samsung and Apple, the Korean technology giant is now looking to leverage its strength into the market for corporate users where the ups and downs are less dramatic but the margins are just as high.
Samsung has been widening its lead over Apple as the world’s largest provider of smartphones, thanks to a vast lineup of handsets compared to Apple’s sole iPhone.
While Apple’s iPad is the king of tablets, Samsung’s Galaxy Tabs represent the industry’s sole meaningful challenge.
''We are comfortable about our lead in the consumer smartphone segment, although cheaper products from Chinese makers Huawei and ZTE might present a challenge down the road. I think the next growth area for Samsung is the market for smartphones and services tailored to government and business customers,’’ a senior Samsung executive said.
Samsung Ventures, the group’s venture capital arm, has invested in Fixmo, a provider of security programs for mobile devices, with the intention of developing services for corporate users, the executive said.
''Security, communication encryption and application management have become critical in the market for corporate smartphones, so Fixmo is a good fit for us. This enables us to provide stable systems to enterprise and government customers in areas where employees are handling sensitive data and accessing private networks. We have been focused in the past years on competing with Apple. Now we want to beat BlackBerry.’’
Samsung has launched a series of advertisements in North America that take aim at BlackBerry products.
They compare BlackBerrys to its Galaxy S III smartphone and Galaxy Note II ''phablet’’ and stress the Samsung products are better in terms of business functions.
The commercials are built around the slogan ''The Next Big Thing for Business is Here,’’ which seems a lazy extension of the ''The Next Big Thing is Here’’ motto Samsung used when targeting Apple.
A spokesman, in explaining the company’s commitment to government and corporate customers, seemed to inadvertently support Apple’s point that its closed user environment is more suitable for business users than devices powered by Google’s Android platform.
''Android is an open system that is vulnerable in terms of safety, so it’s important that we invest more in security,’’ the spokesman said.
In a related note, Samsung has reached an agreement with British chip designer ARM. Samsung will now produce in-house central processing units using ARM’s ''ARMv8’’ chip architecture.
The licensing agreement will help the Korean firm better compete with industry titans such as Intel and AMD.
Samsung spokesman Ken Noh declined to comment on the deal.
Samsung is the global leader in memory chips such as DRAMs and NAND flashes but is still weak in terms of logic chips.