Samsung’s acquisition train continues as NewNet joins fold

16 Nov 2016

Samsung. Image: StockStudio/Shutterstock

Samsung’s 2016 diary will make for some interesting reading, as the South Korean tech giant buys up yet another company after a turbulent few months.

Still trying to put the fiery, smouldering Galaxy Note7 debacle behind it, Samsung has revealed its third acquisition in the past two months, as Canadian messaging company NewNet comes into the fold.

While not as well known as Harman International Industries (connected vehicles), or Viv (a Siri rival, from the original makers of Siri), NewNet’s acquisition is pretty interesting as it hints at a major shift in Samsung’s mobile offering.

Future Human


Get the message?

Samsung could be targeting its own factory messaging product; a rival to iMessage, WhatsApp or other competing instant messaging tools.

Samsung calls the purchase of NewNet a “critical milestone” for the company and also, quite richly, the communications industry in general.

Describing NewNet’s offering as an end-to-end GSMA-compliant RCS solution, Samsung hopes it will accelerate the deployment of RCS-enabled networks, “providing consumers with a ubiquitous standards-based messaging and communications platform”.

The cost of the acquisition has not been revealed. Whatever the figure, it would no doubt be dwarfed by Samsung’s other purchase this week.

Vehicles all the way

On Monday (14 November) Samsung revealed its $8bn acquisition of Harman International Industries, the South Korean company’s biggest acquisition ever.

Harman is a major player in both audio equipment and connected cars, with over 50pc of its $7bn sales in the past 12 months dedicated to the latter.

Samsung is confident that the deal will “immediately” change the game, giving it “significant presence” in the connected automotive electronics world, which has been a strategic priority for the company, potentially growing it to over $100bn by 2025.

However, for Samsung’s mobile devices, it is perhaps the purchase of Viv last month which is more interesting, given the NewNet news.

The company is betting big on Viv, incorporating it in some way into its next flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S8.

Scheduled to launch next year, Samsung has said that this new AI will be “significantly differentiated” from its rivals, particularly Siri and Google’s latest product, Google Assistant, first released on its latest Pixel phone.

Samsung. Image: StockStudio/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic