The global IT industry is fierce, and Samsung Electronics and Google Inc. have thrived through their smartphone alliance. Their major (and common) rival is, needless to say, Apple.
Samsung has developed to become the world’s biggest handset maker since the introduction of its Galaxy S smartphone series equipped with Google’s Android mobile operating platform. In contrast with Apple's iOS, Samsung strengthened its partnership with Google for the Android mobile operating system which boasted being open platform.
As Eric Schmidt said, “Samsung is one of our most important partners and we talk to them all the time".
However, it seems that things may change with the demand for an improved variety of mobile platforms from handset manufacturers as well as mobile carriers.
As the top telecom executive at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month said, "“Some mobile carriers have negative views on the Android platform. [...] They were feeling more uncomfortable about Google than Apple.”
Google is gaining stronger control of the market, raising fees related to the use of the mobile software. Samsung's attempts to distance themselves from Google was detected at last month's mobile trade show when the South Korean showed support for new mobile platforms such as Tizen and Firefox. There is a growing Tizen OS supports - Samsung being one of them, and Orange, and NTT DoCoMo on the list as well. Amid the introduction of the Tizen OS, ZTE, LG Electronics, and Huawei also took part in the released of another Web-based mobile platform named Firefox.
On the other hand, Google is known to be planning to make greater use of device manufacturer Motorola, which it acquired in May 2012. When asked about the reason behind acquiring Motorola, Google’s chief legal office David Drummond said it was purchased to “help protect the Android ecosystem” and because the firm was “very concerned about the use of software patents.”
Handset makers are bracing for new mobile platforms now. Electronics firms are well aware that Motorola may gain an edge as an affiliate of Google in the near future.
Android has been about the use of choice, and as competitors were using patents to stop that, Google will use Motorola to combat that. However, industry sources are agreeing that the company to be most feared will be Google, not Apple, due to its wealth of information collected and wide global user base.
As for Tizen phones, the first Tizen OS-powered smartphones are to be launched in the second half of 2013.
An executive with close knowledge of the matter said that “the key to turning this into a success is to have as many mobile manufacturers get involved in adopting the new mobile platform, which means it should not only be picked up by Samsung but also LG, HTC, Sony and RIM among others." The executive also said that Samsung was committed to turning the launch of Tizen into a success, considering that their proprietary Bada mobile OS (largely agreed as a failure) has been integrated into Tizen. The integration indicates that people will be able to make use of Bada apps on smartphones operating on the Tizen platform and vice versa.
It will be interesting to see if Samsung will become the first to release phones running on the Tizen OS.