Tag: samsung

Samsung mobile suits get the axe

Samsung HQ Silicon Valley - MM picThe head of Samsung’s beleaguered mobile division has hung on to his job – as we reported earlier this week.

But there will be blood on the carpet, according to sources who told Reuters that JK Shin’s three chief underlings will get their marching orders soon.

Samsung is the biggest smartphone manufacturing company in the world and leverages its vertical business, which includes memory modules, LCD screens and other components.

DJ Lee, who heads up Samsung’s mobile marketing worldwide, is one of those to feel the pain, according to the report.

Samsung is facing increased competition from Chinese manufacturers and continues to be under pressure at the high end from Apple with its iPhone products.

Reuters reports that the local press will cull around 25 percent of its executive in the mobile segment.

Financial analysts believe that Samsung will record poor revenues for 2014.

Samsung’s mobile head is still in his office not on spike

bush_game_of_thronesEmbattled Samsung co-chief executive J.K. Shin still has his job, despite rumours that the knives were out following the awful results at the company.

Shin heads Samsung’s underperforming mobile division and it had been expected that he would have to clean out his desk and be lead sobbing from the building with a photocopy box of his personal items.

Shin has been told will continue to head the electronics unit’s mobile division despite sagging smartphone sales. Semiconductor business chief Kwon Oh-hyun and consumer electronics head Yoon Boo-keun also kept their jobs.

What appears to have happened is that Jay Lee, likely successor and only son of group patriarch Lee Kun-hee, opted to keep his father’s key lieutenants in place to ensure stability. His own position is not exactly consolidated yet and he needs a few more people who owe him to keep his control on the company.

Chung Sun-sup, head of local research firm Chaebul.com pointed out that Samsung was undergoing major changes in the midst of the succession process. It would have been too unsettling to change leadership.

Chairman Lee Kun-hee has not even indicated that he has stepped back for good, and he appointed Shin, Yoon and Kwon. It might have been too much for Vice Chairman Jay Lee to change the people his father put in position.

Lee the younger needs more time to shore up his position in South Korea’s largest conglomerate with his father still in hospital after a heart attack in May.

Lee the Younger pointed out that Shin was “a major contributor in Samsung Electronics’ emergence as the top global player in the handsets business” and would be given an opportunity to turn the business around.

Apple asks Samsung for help to fix iPhone 6

ByRWIdiIUAAWry9Apple is turning to smartphone archrival Samsung in order to fix an  iBug with its new iPhone 6 phablet.

The super expensive machines keep crashing which is something that Apple does not like talking about much.

According to Business Korea Jobs’ Mob is going to buy more components from Samsung for its iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, along with Apple Watch parts.

In return Samsung is going to help Apple fix a bug in the NAND flash in the higher storage 64GB which is triple-level cell flash and the SK Hynix, Toshiba and SanDisk TLC NAND the 128 GB models.

Samsung will supply fresh modules which avoid the performance issues that some users have encountered.

This isn’t the only bug Apple has had with its phablet, either. Some users have reported problems with the camera, namely the optical image stabilisation (OIS) going awry and causing blurry shots.  Apple’s answer seems to be to return to its old business partner and get some decent gear under the bonnet.

 

Apple iPad leads but others snap at heels

The late Steve Jobs with an iPadOut of the 74.53 million tablets expected to ship during the current calendar quarter, the Apple iPad will take the lead with 26.8 percent of the worldwide shipments.

That’s according to Digitimes Research, which said that out of those 74.5 million tablets, 20 million will be iPads, 27.8 million will be from other multinational vendors such as Samsung and Lenovo, and 26.7 million will be so-called “white box” or unbranded units.

Taiwan is the ghost in the tablet machine and accounts for two thirds of the global market for tablets with firms like Foxconn, Pegatron, Compal and Quanta churning them out.

While figures for tablets shipping in the fourth quarter seem healthy, and rose by sequential quarter by 17.6 percent, if you compare the figures year on year, there’s a decline of shipments by 10.1 percent.

The pundits have many theories as to why the tablet market is showing signs of stalling, but the favourite is that in Western markets most people already have one or more tablet and see little or no reason to either buy more tablets or to upgrade.

And increased sales of smartphones with larger screens – so called phablets – are nibbling away at the tablet market.

Samsung set to shake the management dice

Samsung rules the roostGiant Korean company Samsung looks set to shuffle its leadership following a year which has seen its mobile fortunes dip.

The Wall Street Journal, quoting people “familiar with the matter” is tipping the toppling of mobile head JK Shin – he’s the co-CEO of a company that has made in its time everything from motor cars to aircraft jet engines.

And if Shin loses his job, it could be to another co-CEO, BK Yoon, a man in charge of its TV and washing machine businesses.

The job could however go to its third co-CEO, Kwon Oh-hyun.  He’s a semiconductor man and also looks after Samsung’s display panels.

The reason why Samsung has this unusual triumvirate in place is because its chairman Lee Kun-hee had a heart attack this year and is out of play at the chaebol.

Samsung is under pressure from companies in China and in India that don’t have the large overhead it has in terms of manufacturing and headcount.

In the UK, heads have already rolled and the company is still looking to appoint a replacement after the last appointee only lasted a few months.

Lenovo maintains tablet push

Chess boardWhile both Apple and Samsung continue to dominate the branded tablet market workdwide, Chinese company Lenovo is beginning to make its presence known in the marketplace.

That’s according to preliminary shipment figures in the third quarter of this year supplied by ABI Research.

The market research company said that Apple and Samsung hog market share at 62 percent, but Lenovo is making its presence known in developing markets while other firms show growth of 124 percent compared to the same quarter in 2013.

ABI believes that while Apple has suffered declines in its market share, it could well regain the initiative in the current fourth quarter, largely due to the introduction of new iPad Air and iPad mini machines last October.

Jeff Orr, who runs the sector for ABI, said: “The pieces have been set for the end of year holiday 2014 tablet market chess match.  The advanced mature markets will once again be where the Apple versus Samsung duel occurs.  Don’t overlook the rest of the branded tablets vendors’ ability to deliver value based devices during this crucial shopping period.”

ABI produced the following data for the top three vendors worldwide:

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Intel announces 3D NAND-Flash

IMFT Sign - Lehi

Rob Crooke, VP & GM of Intel’s Non-Volatile Memory (NVM) Solutions Group was last up in the company’s day long Investor Meeting today in Santa Clara.

Though last, he had the most newsworthy announcement about the company’s future memory intentions.

Intel announced it is back in the memory business – 3D NAND-Flash that is (mass production in-house is conditional though).

Crookes’ revelation ends any rumination on Intel-Micron Flash Technologies 3D Flash development – it also includes SK Hynix when the device goes into production 2Q 2015. Evidently those who have been nice have early sample devices according to sources.

The specifics:

  • 4G hole array 32 layers deep | (216 x 216)(Array) x 25(Layers) x 2(MLC) = 256 Gbits
  • 1TB in 2 mm package
  • SSDs: 10TB and up planned
  • Production 2H 2015 – IMFT (Lehi, Utah facility mentioned) & SK Hynix
  • Intel can also produce internally
  • Replacement of HDD with SSD in all PC and Mobile devices

Crooke allowed that the devices will not use Intel’s cutting edge 14nm technology but a slightly relaxed geometry  – Micron is on record at 16nm geometries for 3D NAND. The openly known fact that prevaricating about Flash Geometries may hold sway – a hefty dose of caveat emptor is recommended.

The announcement coincides with reports that Intel and Micron are involved in a project with EMC2-DSSD – an effort to produce the first NAND-Flash In-Memory Database appliance.  The proffered memory type may be a custom type expressly tailored for the application and may be produced in-house by Intel – more on this as roll-out time nears.

Samsung cannot stop Microsoft

microsoft-in-chinaA US judge has rejected Samsung bid to put Microsoft’s smartphone patent royalties case on hold while the South Korean company pursues arbitration in Hong Kong.

New York Judge Jed Rakoff said the lawsuit would proceed despite the arbitration.

Microsoft sued Samsung in August, claiming it broke a collaboration agreement by refusing to make royalty payments after the US company announced its intention to buy Nokia’s handset business in September 2013.

The lawsuit claimed Samsung owed $6.9 million in interest on more than $1 billion in patent royalties it delayed paying. Samsung said that the Nokia acquisition in April violated its 2011 deal with Microsoft.

Samsung has gone to arbitration at the Hong Kong office of the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce.

Samsung  had agreed in 2011 to pay Microsoft royalties in exchange for a patent license covering phones that ran Google Android operating system.

Samsung also agreed to develop Windows phones and share confidential business information with Microsoft, according to the filing.

But once Microsoft acquired Nokia, it became a direct hardware competitor with Samsung, the filing said, and Samsung refused to share some sensitive information due to antitrust concerns.

Samsung squeezes its suppliers

samsung-hqIn a bid to cut prices and keep pace with its competitors it appears Korean giant Samsung is putting pressure on its suppliers to cut their prices.

Digitimes reports that Samsung wants some component suppliers for its display business to slash their prices, in some cases by as much as 30 percent during this quarter.

The display business not only services the creation of monitors and TVs made by Samsung, but also, and in this case more crucially, displays on smartphones.

Samsung has seen its market share on tablets and smartphones show something of a decline in 2014 and wants to reverse that trend.

The same report said that Samsung is also slashing prices on its OLED displays in a bid to attract more customers to the technology.  Expensive to develop, OLED needs volumes to sell in order to achieve payback for the R&D.

Lenovo and Dell are both likely customers for OLED displays – a significant design win for Samsung if the report proves to be true.

Motorola discovers US does not rule the world

courtroom_1_lgIt appears that Motorola’s US court case against several Asian suppliers for alleged price fixing is coming unstuck.

A US appeals court appeared sceptical of mobile phone maker Motorola Mobility’s attempt to sue  AU Optronics, Chunghwa Picture Tubes, HannStar Display, LG Display, Samsung, Samsung, Panasonic, Sanyo, Sharp and Toshiba.

A three judge panel of the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals questioned whether the allegations had enough connection to the United States to be heard in US courts.

Motorola Mobility is now a unit of China’s Lenovo Group, but it sued the suppliers in Chicago federal court in 2009, saying some of its subsidiaries had overpaid for liquid crystal display screens because of a conspiracy in Asia. Some screens entered the US market, the lawsuit said.

Judge Richard Posner, a member of the appeals panel, pointed out that Motorola treated the foreign subsidiaries as separate for tax reasons, but for antitrust purposes, they are seen as part of Motorola.

Motorola Mobility lawyer Thomas Goldstein said the company should be able to sue under US law because a former Chicago-based parent negotiated its supply contracts.

Lenovo bought Motorola Mobility in October for $2.91 billion from Google which had bought it in 2012. Motorola Mobility says it paid the LCD makers more than $5 billion from 1996 to 2006.

The appeals court ruled against Motorola Mobility in March but agreed to hear the case again after the Obama administration said the ruling threatened its ability to prosecute global price fixing.

The US Justice Department, whose investigation of global LCD price-fixing led to more than $1.3 billion in criminal fines, asked the court to find that the conspiracy directly affected US commerce.

Belgium and Japan filed briefs criticising the reach of US antitrust law and urging the court to rule for the suppliers.

War between Nvidia and Samsung gets ugly

Newspaper Seller, 1939The war between Samsung and Nvidia has escalated and handbags are being distributed to the troops.

Samsung says that Nvidia has infringed several of its semiconductor-related patents and for making false claims about its products. This is a counter-suit following Nvidia’s lawsuit against the Korean company in September.

Samsung, which filed its lawsuit on Monday, is seeking damages for deliberate infringement of several technical patents, including a few that govern the way semiconductors buffer and use data.

Samsung said that Nvidia is guilty of false advertising when it says its “Shield” tablet sports the world’s fastest mobile processor, the Tegra. Samsung cites benchmarking studies performed by researchers at Primate Labs as proving that claim false.

Nvidia said it would review and respond to these new claims against it, and looked forward to presenting its case on how Nvidia GPU patents are being used without a licence.

Nvidia also pointed to a benchmarking study that supported its claim that the Tegra was the fastest mobile processor on the market.

Everyone knows that industry claims that “our chip is faster because we use x benchmark” always goes nowhere. It will be interesting to see what a court will make of them.

Why Apple’s corporate plans are doomed

Map09_oh_noes_two_elementalsKing of consumer toys, Apple is attempting its biggest push into the consumer market, according to Reuters.

Reuters claims that Apple is hiring a dedicated sales force just to talk with potential clients like Citigroup.

This is on top of its partnership with IBM to develop apps for corporate clients and sell them on devices, the iPhone maker plans to challenge sector leaders HP, Dell, Oracle and SAP.

Of course no one is saying much in the way of details, Reuters seems to think that the deal with Big Blue will mean that Apple will be welcomed into the corporate world and give HP and Dell a kicking.  This will result in the collapse of Microsoft, Samsung and Google’s own efforts in mobile work applications.

Apparently Job’s Mob is working closely with a group of startups, including ServiceMax and PlanGrid, that already specialise in selling apps to corporate America. Apple is already in talks with other mobile enterprise developers to bring them into a more formal partnership.

For example, PlanGrid is a mobile app for construction workers to share and view blueprints. ServiceMax is a mobile app that makes it easy for companies to manage fleets of field service technicians by ensuring they have access to the right information.

ServiceMax, whose existing customers include Procter & Gamble (PG.N) and DuPont, has co-hosted eight dinners with Apple over the past year in locations across the United States. About 25 or 30 chief information officers and “chief service officers” typically show up at these joint marketing and sales events.

But there are huge problems with Reuter’s desire to see Apple in charge of the world. The most obvious is that Apple makes toys it does not make corporate devices. Corporates are obsessed with security, Apple’s iCloud can’t even protect b list celebs from having their naked pictures being hacked.

Tablets were an Apple inspired Fad and any belief that corporates will rush to buy them never really happened. If they are ever adopted by corporates, they will be a low-level function which will require something a lot cheaper than Jobs’ Mob wants to support. Apple really needed BYOD to take off, which it didn’t.

Apple’s success has been due to its cult following, but religion does not work very well when it comes to business. Apple lacks functionality with business systems, corporates also take a dim view of the sort of things that Apple user agreements desire from their followers. Apple is also slow to confirm security flaws, and even slower to fix them. Its insistence on its own security, rather than that of the client also does not sit well with big business.

In short, to get business customers, Apple needs to change its mentality – something historically it has been unable to do. It not only has to deal with the experts in business, such as Microsoft, HP, Dell and SAP, its traditional rivals, such as Samsung are also harbour similar ambitions.

Samsung has confirmed that it is stepping up its efforts to sell devices to large enterprise clients and hired former chief information officer Robin Bienfait to spearhead that effort. It might hit the same experience problems that Apple has, and there is no reason to suspect it will be any more successful.

Apple’s IBM partnership might not be that key to the corporations either. It relies on IBM’s sales team selling Apple projects. IBM has as much experience selling consumer products as Apple has selling into business. Jobs’ Mob also has no clue about business software, which is the key to getting into the business market — for decades its networking technology has been the weak point of the few Apple installations in corporates.

Apple appears to hope that if it can hook the client on the software and content, they will keep them coming back for the hardware. However, that simply does not work in the corporates. Hell, Microsoft was unable to get corporates to upgrade to Windows 7 because they could not see a need.  What chance does Apple’s business model have against that attitude?

Tablet demand slows to standstill

Raphael painting: Moses receiving the tablets, Wikimedia CommonsA report said that during the third quarter of 2014, shipments of tablets worldwide amounted to 63.4 million unit only one percent up from the same quarter last year.

And the impetus for Apple iPads flatlined during the third quarter, largely affected by delays in shipments, according to Digitimes Research.

White box tablets only amounted to 26.2 million during the third quarter and that’s even after Intel subsidies in an attempt to boost market share.

Samsung is the second biggest supplier but the research suggests it will take a cautious approach to shipments during 2015.

The other biggest vendors for tablets are Asustek, Lenovo, Acer, Amazon and Dell.

Most analysts say that the tablet market is close to saturation in Western Europe and in North America – and there are few compelling reasons for people to upgrade from their existing models.

Samsung turns to metal in China crisis

Iron_Maiden_2010Samsung has released two premium designed, mid-tier handsets designed to give its low-priced Chinese rivals a good kicking.

The company has been suffering lately and its global market share down on year for the third straight quarter and its profit scraping at a three-year low.

Samsung suffered the most in China which is the world’s biggest smartphone market and it was knocked off its number one slot by Xiaomi.

The Chinese seemed to have a problem that Samsung’s lower-end products were pricey and not different enough compared to Xiaomi and Lenovo.

The Galaxy A3 and A5 are seen by analysts as Samsung’s first counter-attack. Initially launching in China in November, they will be Samsung’s first devices to feature fully metallic bodies and its thinnest smartphones so far.  The A3 and A5 are comparable to those of the top-of-the-line Galaxy S5, but have a lower screen resolution quality.

Samsung classified the new phones as mid-tier, and said they will be launched in other “select markets”, without disclosing the pricing.

However, it still might have problems and much depends on price. In comparison to the A5, Xiaomi’s Mi4 device is thicker but has a  faster processor and better display.

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Nokia deal created anti-trust issues for Microsoft and Samsung

samsung-hqSamsung has told a court that its collaboration with Microsoft on Windows phones raised antitrust problems once Microsoft bought Nokia’s handset business.

The filing comes from Microsoft’s lawsuit accusing Samsung of breaching a business collaboration agreement. It claimed that Samsung still owes $6.9 million in interest on more than $1 billion in patent royalties it delayed paying.

However Samsung said the Nokia acquisition violated its 2011 deal with Microsoft because it effectively required the sharing of secret information with a rival.

Samsung said it agreed in 2011 to pay Microsoft royalties in exchange for a patent license covering Samsung’s Android phones.

Samsung agreed to develop Windows phones and share confidential business information with Microsoft as part of that collaboration. Microsoft said it would reduce the royalty payments if Samsung met certain sales goals for Windows devices.

Once Microsoft acquired Nokia, it became a direct hardware competitor with Samsung, the filing said, and the South Korean company refused to continue sharing some sensitive information because if it had done so it would have breached US antitrust laws.

The agreements, now between competitors, invited charges of collusion,” Samsung said in the filing.

Antitrust regulators in the United States and other countries have approved Microsoft’s Nokia acquisition.