With Samsung’s recent successes in the mobile space, partners Microsoft and Google may be treading cautious water as they’re both unsure what Samsung would do in the future in deciding plans for future partnerships, ecosystem decisions, and products. Samsung currently partners with Microsoft to make notebooks, tablets, and Windows Phone products and there have been recent rumors that Samsung may work on re-branding all of its Microsoft products under the ATIV label. With Google, Samsung has become the runaway success story with its hit Galaxy lineup of smartphones and tablets.
Both Microsoft and Google have cited strengthening their working relationship with Samsung as reason for their visits to the company’s South Korean headquarters.
Microsoft former head and co-founder Bill Gates became the company’s delegate to meet with Samsung, reportedly meeting with vice chairman Jay Lee, strategy chief Gee Choi and mobile head JK Shin this week.
“We are discussing cooperative opportunities associated with Windows 8 and other IT devices with Samsung,” Gates told Indonesian blog bada Indonesia.
Next week will be Google’s turn. Google has been wary of its relationship with Samsung in the past. Google is sending Larry Page to meet with Samsung on April 26th, perhaps to discuss opportunities for Android and Chromebook.
On one hand, Samsung has become the most popular maker of Android mobile devices and has the visibility to compete with Apple. The company has risen in recent years to become the largest phone-maker in the world, dethrowning Nokia of that crown. However, Google executives have quietly been worried that Samsung may wield too much power and may demand more concessions from Google.
Still, the relationship between Samsung and Google may become more tenuous. With Google competing in the hardware space against Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones and tablets through the Internet search giant’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility, Samsung is looking at other means to become less reliant on Google. Though it preloads its own phones and tablets with Google services, Samsung has largely skinned Android with its own TouchWiz UI and the company is introducing digital storefronts and hubs that compete in the same space as Google Play. On the Galaxy S4, it’s unifying its efforts into the Samsung Hub, which allows customers to buy music, movies, TV shows, and ebooks, and Samsung Apps for apps. It’s a similar division that Apple has made on mobile between the iTunes Store and the App Store.
The company is also looking to forge its own fate by launching a new line of phones based on the open-source Tizen OS. This means that Samsung will have phones running Microsoft’s Windows Phone, Google’s Android, and the Tizen operating system.