Google chief to discuss software with Samsung

SEOUL - Google chairman Eric Schmidt will be visiting Samsung on Wednesday to meet with top executives that may include Samsung Electronics vice chairman Lee Jay-yong, sources told The Korea Herald.

The focus seems to be not on hardware, but how to more efficiently run them on better software.

The talks, the first this year but second following a meeting in 2012, are likely to address how Samsung can further develop applications for Google's Android smartphones, which was central in the first global developer's conference hosted by Samsung Electronics in San Francisco this week.

At the conference, Samsung indicated it wants Android to stand apart, announcing it has rolled out five software development kits to make it easier for developers to create apps.

"Samsung has been increasingly working on improving and strengthening software amid criticism that it's falling behind, so that's one area that the two sides may talk about," said one source.

Working more closely with startups and bolstering software and related services may be another area Samsung wants to discuss with Google, for these also are areas deemed to be the Korean tech giant's weaknesses.

Accordingly, Schmidt, an engineer-turned-tycoon, will be talking about bolstering startups during his talks at Seoul National University on Thursday.

Discussions on how the partners may brave the rapidly-changing industry environment also may be a part of the agenda.

Nokia has already unveiled its first Windows-based tablet, while HTC has signed up to provide "Amazon phones." Apple, meanwhile, has announced a bevy of new devices including the 5S, 5C and the iPad Air.

Meanwhile, Schmidt is holding extensive meetings with the Culture Ministry and participating in related cultural events including the Big Tent 2013 that focuses on how the two sides will promote Korea, which Google has been doing extensively via YouTube.

Google also has pledged US$1 million (S$1.24 million) for Korea's Hangeul Museum located in Yongsan.

Schmidt, however, won't be meeting with Science, ICT and Future Planning Ministry officials including the minister.

"There's nothing on our agenda," said a Science Ministry official close to the matter.