Samsung to buy US cloud giant Joyent in push toward software and services

16 Jun 2016

Samsung is moving into software and services after snapping up AWS and Azure rival Joyent for an undisclosed sum

Korean tech giant Samsung Electronics has revealed that it is buying US cloud services player Joyent for an undisclosed sum, signalling plans to step up competition against Apple in terms of software and services for mobile devices.

The move comes amid Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco where, earlier this week, the company revealed iOS 10, its biggest update to the iOS family, which will feature numerous software, services and iCloud elements, as well as internet of things (IoT) smart home features through HomeKit.

It is understood that Samsung intends to use the Joyent acquisition to support its own such endeavours in the areas of IoT and cloud-based software and services.

‘The acquisition of Joyent by Samsung is not—in Silicon Valley’s tacky vernacular—an “exit”, but rather an entrance’

Future Human

“Samsung evaluated a wide range of potential companies in the public and private cloud infrastructure space with a focus on leading-edge scalable technology and talent,” said Injong Rhee, CTO of Mobile Communications at Samsung Electronics.

“In Joyent, we saw an experienced management team with deep domain expertise and a robust cloud technology validated by some of the largest Fortune 500 customers.

“As smartphones and connected devices have taken hold across the world, cloud computing has become fundamental in providing users with exciting and reliable services and experiences on their devices.

“With leadership positions in both mobile and IoT, this acquisition represents Samsung’s commitment to providing a seamless user experience to millions of customers,” Rhee said.

This is Samsung’s third major acquisition in recent years. It acquired IoT player SmartThings for $250m and mobile payment technologies firm LoopPay for around $160m, which is the basis for Samsung Pay.

Joyent to the world

Joyent is an 11-year-old cloud company that includes investors like Peter Thiel. It competes with Amazon Web Services, Google and Microsoft’s Azure platforms in terms of enabling businesses from start-ups to corporations to access server computing on the go.

It is understood that Joyent will continue to operate under its own brand and management and at arm’s length from Samsung.

Joyent CTO Bryan Cantrill said that a decade ago the leaders in computing were survivors from the mainframe and PC revolutions (IBM and Microsoft), today they are an online bookstore (Amazon) and a search engine (Google).

“We are, if it needs to be said, seriously pumped: not only will Samsung quickly become the largest user of our technology, their use-cases will drive our ongoing innovation in developing and operating our public cloud,” Cantrill said in a blog post.

“We will also continue to set ourselves apart from other public cloud operators by making our software available for operators to run their own. And critically for us personally, we can confirm Samsung’s commitment to keeping our platform open source: after we open sourced our stack 18 months ago—and having seen firsthand not only the technical but also the commercial benefits of being open source—there was no way we would contemplate returning to the dark ages of proprietary software!

“With their strong commitment to our existing strategy, the acquisition of Joyent by Samsung is not—in Silicon Valley’s tacky vernacular—an ‘exit’, but rather an entrance: our newfound level of scale will allow us to use our proven technologies to tackle a new scope of problems, and drive another generation of innovation that will have benefits not just within Samsung but far beyond it.”

Samsung image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years