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Samsung’s latest move could crush Microsoft’s new handset business

Samsung Merge Mobile Camera

As Nokia prepares to pass the torch to Microsoft and exit the handset business, the struggling smartphone maker is finally gaining some momentum. Lumia smartphone shipments grew 19% on-year in Nokia’s most recent quarter, thanks largely to volume growth among Nokia’s low-end smartphones geared toward emerging markets. But things are also getting interesting elsewhere for Nokia. The company’s latest marketing push focused once again on high-quality cameras but this time around, it finally seems to be resonating with some consumers. The Lumia 1020, after all, is easily the best camera phone on the planet. Considering cameras are key to Nokia’s (and soon Microsoft’s) ability to differeniate in the crowded smartphone market, some potentially terrible news emerged for the companies on Friday: Samsung is about to set its sights on Lumia phones’ bread and butter.

Samsung on Friday confirmed to Korean-language news site ET News that it has combined its Mobile Communications and Digital Imaging businesses into one unit. “We will transplant the brand, sales networks, software competency and manufacturing competitiveness of the Wireless Business Division into the Camera Business Division, and integrate the technical know-how of the two business divisions into competency for differentiating our smartphones,” a Samsung spokesperson told the site, which has plenty of details on the specifics of the reorganization.

With camera quality being among the most important factors for consumers as they look to purchase a new smartphone, Microsoft had a leg up on the competition in a key area as it prepares to take over Nokia’s cell phone business. But that edge could all but disappear in the near future as Samsung combines its mobile prowess and digital imaging business with its massive marketing budget.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.