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How Samsung could develop the 21st century’s answer to Bell Labs

Samsung Science Research Investment

Sorry, Google, but you may not hold a monopoly on researching far-out technologies that may not even help your core business in the future. Forbes contributor Haydn Shaughnessy notes that Samsung has started investing substantial sums of money into science and technology research for an ecosystem that may never see the light of day. In particular, he says that Samsung has said it will invest $1.34 billion over the next decade in the Samsung Future Technology Foundation, which The Korea Times reports will focus on “three areas such as basic sciences — physics, chemistry, life science, and mathematics, materials science, and ICT fusion-type projects.”

In other words, the institution sounds a little bit like Bell Labs, the research arm of AT&T that in the 20th century made major breakthroughs in physics, electronics and computer science. That said, Shaughnessy doesn’t see Samsung’s investments in such research really paying off until it learns not to stretch itself so thin with multiple product launches every year.

“While it is now a formidable innovator, its relentless launch program leaves it with considerable inventory and stretches the company,” he writes. “The big issue is whether long-term ecosystem building will bring Samsung the customer loyalty and service revenues it needs as we pass beyond the peak of high-end smartphone buying.”

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