Choi Gee-sung Stories June 7, 2012

New Samsung CEO has strong relationship with Apple

Samsung officially appointed a new CEO today to replace Choi Gee-Sung, who will now take up a position as head of corporate strategy overseeing Samsung Group’s roughly 80 companies. Choi, who was CEO for over three decades, will be replaced by Kwon Oh-hyun, who Reuters explained is currently head of Samsung’s components business and has deep relationships with Apple. Samsung made a statement claiming there will be no major changes in the way the company operates, because Kwon will continue to run the components business that “became the sole supplier of the mobile processors” for iPhone and iPad under his leadership:

The South Korean group named Kwon Oh-hyun as its new CEO. Currently head of Samsung’s components business, which oversees chips and display, Kwon cemented Samsung’s position in memory chips, where it has almost 50 percent global market share, and expanded into non-memory, or logic chips, which now account for 40 percent of Samsung’s overall semiconductor revenue… Under Kwon, Samsung became the sole supplier of the mobile processors that power Apple’s iPhone and iPad – rival products to Samsung’s own Galaxy and Note. The 59-year-old former engineer, who studied electrical engineering at Seoul National University and Stanford, has also led a restructuring of Samsung’s LCD flat-screen business.

Choi Gee-sung Stories September 2, 2011

There’s no denying Samsung’s best days are yet to come. Their mobile devices arm is hot and has risen to become the conglomerate’s consumer face charged with dreaming up exciting gadgets, such as the Galaxy family of smartphones and tablets. Just last week, they branched out into new form factors with the introduction of the 7.7-inch Galaxy Tab and a brand new 5.3-inch device with a stylus, dubbed the Galaxy Note. Granted, they have no plans to launch the new devices in the U.S. because Apple would likely ask for injunction (unless Obama intervened).

Samsung has also added a WiFi-only 3.6-inch personal media player to their lineup. This is happening despite an escalating patent dispute with Apple which has resulted in tablet launch delays in Australia, the Galaxy smartphones sales blockage in the European Union and a possible video testimony in court. In all, patents expert Florian Mueller counted nineteen lawsuits Samsung and Apple are currently embroiled in, spawning twelve courts in nine countries on four continents.

But the future is bright, CEO Choi Gee-sung told reporters in Korea today. The company zoomed past Nokia and Sony, according to The Korea Times report, and wants to become the world’s top-tier software firm by the end of 2013. Ongoing litigation with Apple?

Samsung regards court battles with Apple as destiny. We are clashing with Apple in certain areas. Current situations will make us stronger.

Another company executive said “Samsung has no reason to send a ‘goodwill gesture’ to Apple first and therefore it is highly unlikely that Samsung will come to a licensing deal with Apple”. The CEO also flatly denied the rumors calling for his company to license Hewlett-Packard’s webOS software or buy the computer maker’s ailing PC business. He likened acquiring an operating system to “becoming a fashion”:

One thing clear is that Samsung will never buy HP’s webOS patent portfolios and I think that’s not important. We have over 20,000 software experts and Samsung prepares beyond normal imaginations. We are open to strike small M&A deals, though.

In fact, it would appear that Samsung has realized (on time, too) that software is the single most important building element that makes the gadget lovers’ hearts sing. That’s why the chairman is said to have demanded that the executive team double down on software. As a result…

With the Galaxy Note, pictured above, Samsung’s mobile devices division has branched out into a wider array of form factors.

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