Time ripe for Samsung Apple alliance

Time ripe for Samsung Apple alliance

As the world's leading tech companies, Samsung and Apple are labelled the largest technology enterprise and the most valued company, respectively. Naturally, the pair has had a heated rivalry, including an ongoing patent dispute.

However, the time may have come for the two to set aside their differences and forge an alliance.

Samsung Electronics president Shin Jong-kyun and Apple CEO Tim Cook are likely to have a face-to-face meeting over their ongoing patent disputes, news reports said on Wednesday.

The news came after a Sacramento, California district court judge on Tuesday asked Apple and Samsung to hold talks one more time before a new patent infringement trial is scheduled to kick off in March.

The timing is critical, for both Apple and Samsung.

For Samsung, it would be all about access to the 13.4 per cent market share Apple has in the global smartphone market. Samsung has 32.6 per cent.

For Apple, while it may have a lead in software, it has built an infamous reputation for being one of the most closed-door enterprises in the world.

At a smart TV conference last week, Imad Sousou, director of Intel's Open Source Technology Center, echoed industry-wide criticism when he said "the most successful companies in the world are great at open source."

Samsung is said to be more open-minded, but its lagging software platform is its biggest weakness. The South Korean tech giant may have been able to mimic and even trump Apple in the game of devices, but it lacks the kind of innovative software that Apple has cultivated over the years: Macintosh, Lisa Office and iOS.

This is why Samsung is persistent in developing Tizen, which some see as a lost cause, engaging in M&As with software-centric firms, allying with Intel and holding the first developers' conference.

Given their respective strengths and weaknesses, some speculate that Apple and Samsung will end up sharing software platforms to offer access to both iOS and Android (or possibly Tizen) via their combined handsets.

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