Here’s the big question Samsung (005930) needs to answer over the next few months: Has it become big enough where it can risk alienating the tech industry’s two most valuable companies? Bloomberg this week caught up with Doh Hyun Woo, an analyst for Mirae Asset Securities, who makes a strong case that Samsung is taking a big risk by releasing a high-end smartphone based on its own Tizen operating system. Although Samsung is insisting that Tizen is more of a fallback plan than a full-blown Android alternative, Woo says that may not stop Google from seeing it as a threat to its own ecosystem.
“This is just sort of a safety net,” he tells Bloomberg. “But if Google dominates the market just like Microsoft did in the PC market with more than 90 percent share, it may prove the total opposite.”
We’ve heard plenty of rumblings lately that Samsung might be planning a “great escape” from Android over the next couple of years as the company reportedly doesn’t want to tie its fate to a third-party operating system. This, in turn, has reportedly led Google to create its own “X Phone” with Motorola to ensure that Samsung doesn’t continue to dominate the Android market as it has over the past year. Given that Samsung’s relationship with longtime component customer Apple (AAPL) has been on the ropes for the past several months, it will be interesting to see how confident Samsung is that it can survive without both Apple and Google as major partners going forward.