Aug. 13, 2014, 11:28 AM
- Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) has partly given in to calls to offer phones with Apple-like metal cases rather than plastic ones: Its new Galaxy Alpha sports a metal frame around its sides. However, the device still has a plastic rear shell that strongly resembles the Galaxy S5's.
- Moreover, unlike the rumored Galaxy F (expected to have a full metal case), the Alpha carries mid-range specs notably worse than the S5's: It has a 4.7" 720p display, 12MP rear camera, and 2GB of RAM.
- Separately, The Verge has posted pictures of Samsung's upcoming VR headset (will use a phone's display/sensors), and states the device will be unveiled at a September event also expected to feature the Note 4, which might also have a metal frame. Past reports have stated Samsung is relying on Facebook's Oculus VR to provide the headset's software.
Aug. 5, 2014, 10:48 PM
- Following untold numbers of lawsuits, injunction requests, court petitions, and billed legal hours, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) have agreed to drop all suits against each other in Germany, the U.K., Japan, Australia, the Netherlands, France, South Korea, and Italy. The deal doesn't involve any licensing agreement.
- For now, the world's biggest smartphone and tablet OEMs remain at odds in the U.S., but there are signs that battle is also winding down. In June, Apple and Samsung dropped their appeals of an ITC case that led to an injunction on older Samsung phones. The prior month, a CA jury awarded Apple $120M in an infringement suit against Samsung, much less than the $2B it sought.
- Apple settled its patent dispute with Motorola Mobility in May in a deal that didn't feature a cross-license, and agreed to work with Google on "some areas of patent reform." A cross-licensing deal with HTC was struck in 2012.
Aug. 4, 2014, 2:06 PM
- With a 14% unit share on the back of 15M shipments (+240% Y/Y), Xiaomi passed Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) in Q2 to become China's top smartphone OEM, per research firm Canalys.
- Samsung, Lenovo (OTCPK:LNVGY), and Yulong (Coolpad) are each estimated to have ~12% of the market. In Q1, Samsung had 18.3% to Lenovo's 11.3% and Xiaomi's 10.7%.
- Xiaomi has gained ground by offering Android phones with high-end specs at mid-range prices. Successful viral marketing campaigns and a popular custom Android UI (MIUI) also haven't hurt.
- The company just launched a new flagship (the MI4) that starts at $320 unsubsidized, and features a 13MP f/1.8 camera and 5" 1080p display. It's counting on former Google exec Hugo Barra to spearhead an international push; Canalys estimates 97% of Xiaomi's Q2 shipments went into mainland China.
- Xiaomi's "borrowing" of ideas from Apple and other rivals has produced controversy. Not only does Xiaomi's hardware take many design cues from the iPhone, founder Lei Jun has cultivated a Steve Jobs-like image, and ended his MI4 launch presentation with a slide prefaced by Apple's "One more thing..." catchphrase.
Aug. 1, 2014, 6:11 PM
- Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has sued Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) for alleged breach of contract over unpaid Android royalty payments related to the companies' 2011 licensing deal.
- Microsoft suggests Samsung stopped paying per-device royalties in late 2013 due to the Nokia deal, with Samsung arguing the deal nullifies the 2011 pact. Microsoft wants a ruling on Samsung's claim, and is also seeking unpaid interest.
- Likely at issue: Samsung and Nokia have a patent cross-licensing deal in place for each others' patents, one that was extended for 5 years last November. Though the deal involves payments from Samsung to Nokia, Nokia's phone unit (now a part of Microsoft) has made use of Samsung's IP through it. That opens the door to Samsung arguing a new/separate cross-licensing deal with Microsoft is needed.
- The financial implications of the legal spat could be big: Though struggling a bit lately, Samsung still had a 25.2% Q2 smartphone unit share (per IDC).
- Surging Android royalties led Microsoft's "Windows Phone" revenue to rise $1.2B in FY13 (ended June '13). With Samsung apparently halting payments midway, "Windows Phone" licensing revenue grew by $822M in FY14 to $2.54B. Nokia payments accounted for $382M of the total.
Jul. 31, 2014, 11:18 AM
- Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) memory sales were a strong point for the company in Q2: They rose 10% Q/Q and 21% Y/Y to KRW6.92T ($6.7B). But the company also hiked its 2014 DRAM industry bit supply forecast to low-30% growth from a prior high-20%. Samsung itself expects to grow bit production at a high-40% rate.
- Morgan Stanley notes Samsung once forecast mid-20% industry growth, and that it's increasing capex to make another production line DRAM-capable in 2015. MS reported earlier this month Samsung is planning to hike its DRAM output.
- Micron (MU -7.7%), whose shares have soared on expectations a favorable DRAM supply/demand balance will continue, isn't taking the news well. Samsung's production hike is also a negative for SK Hynix (OTC:HXSCL).
- Samsung fell 3.7% overnight in Seoul, though that arguably had more to do with the performance of its mobile ops than its chip ops. Weak high-end tablet sales and smartphone share losses to Chinese OEMs led mobile sales to fall 12% Q/Q and 21% Y/Y to KRW27.5T ($26.6B).
- The company expects 2H mobile sales to grow with the help of seasonality, but also (in what's at least a partial reference to the iPhone 6) cautions competition is set to intensify.
- Samsung's Q2 slides (.pdf)
Jul. 31, 2014, 3:05 AM
- Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) is planning a few new global smartphone launches to retrieve its lost market share and make up for its first quarterly net loss in almost three years.
- Two high-end smartphones releases are planned within the next six months. "One model will have a large screen while the other will be built using "new materials", says SVP Kim Hyun-joon.
- The company will also introduce new mid-to-low-end models to counter low-cost Chinese competition.
Jul. 28, 2014, 4:26 AM
- Samsung (OTC:SSNLF, OTC:SSNGY) has postponed the launch of the Samsung Z (featuring the new Tizen operating system) which was scheduled to go on sale in Russia during the third quarter of this year.
- The company did not give any future timing to the launch, but cited the need to "further enhance the Tizen ecosystem."
- The delay will be costly to Samsung, which reported softer numbers and missed second-quarter estimates earlier this month.
Jul. 16, 2014, 4:37 AM
- Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) is looking to partner with Under Armour (NYSE:UA) to increase its wearable devices product line, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reports.
- A meeting was stated to have taken place between Lee Jay-yong, the heir of Samsung Group, and Under Armour CEO Kelvin Plank earlier this month discussing ways to combat Apple-Nike's wearable device market share.
- Apple and Nike have been connecting sports wear with smart devices since 2006.
Jul. 14, 2014, 2:04 AM
- Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) has temporarily suspended business with its Shinyang supplier factory after finding evidence suggesting that the child labor allegations which surfaced last week could very well be true.
- The accusation was made by the New York-based China Labor Watch which reported several cases of underage workers at the facility.
- “If the investigations conclude that the supplier indeed hired children illegally, Samsung will permanently halt business with the supplier,” announced the South Korean company.
Jul. 10, 2014, 3:50 AM
- Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) is facing new child labor accusations at its Shinyang supplier factory in China.
- The allegations were made by the New York-based China Labor Watch after finding several cases of underage workers at the facility. The factory seems to employ children and underage students during busy seasons, generally hiring them for three to six months.
Jul. 9, 2014, 11:58 AM| 13 Comments
Jul. 9, 2014, 10:18 AM
- Morgan Stanley reports Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) plans to hike its DRAM output. Micron (MU -3.5%), whose shares have risen over 6x from their fall 2012 lows, is selling off in response. Peer SK Hynix (HXSCL) fell 4.1% in Seoul.
- Digitimes recently reported Samsung is thinking of building a new DRAM fab in 2015, as industry consolidation and strong mobile and server-related demand keep prices high. The site also reported spot prices for 4Gb DDR3 DRAM chips could rise to $4.80-$5.00 in Q3, after rallying to an 18-month high of $4.35 in late June.
- TrendForce estimates Samsung had 35.5% of the global branded DRAM market in Q1, SK Hynix 28.2%, and Micron 28%.
- This morning, SA author David Alton Clark argued Micron investors should tread carefully at current levels, given the DRAM industry's historical cyclicality.
- Previous: Samsung reportedly planning to hike DRAM contract prices
Jul. 8, 2014, 4:40 AM
- Samsung (SSNLF), Intel (INTC) and Dell have teamed up to create a standard by which household gadgets communicate with each other, called the Open Interconnect Consortium. The partnership also includes chipmakers Broadcom (BRCM) and Atmel (ATML).
- The new consortium will rival the AllSeen Alliance, a similar framework supported by Qualcomm (QCOM), LG (LGEIY), Microsoft (MSFT) and other companies.
Jul. 8, 2014, 3:03 AM
- A Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) factory in Brazil was robbed yesterday, after 20 thieves stole $6.4M of cellphones, tablets and other products. The company is hoping that insurance will minimize the cost incurred from the stolen inventory.
- The heist is also a setback for Brazil, which has been trying for years to draw more electronics makers to do business in the country. Besides for the high employment costs and taxes in Brazil, added security concerns can now have some manufacturers thinking twice.
- ETFs: BRXX, BRAQ
Jul. 7, 2014, 11:43 PM
- Samsung (SSNLF, SSNGY) expects to report Q2 revenue of KRW51T-53T ($50.4B-$52.4B), and an op. profit of KRW7T-7.4T ($6.9B-$7.3B). Those guidance ranges are below Bloomberg consensus estimates of KRW53.2T and KRW8.1T.
- The electronics giant blames "mid-to-low end" phone competition in China and Europe, a strong won, and higher marketing spend aimed at lowering phone inventories.
- Also, tablet shipments fell more than expected due to a weak market, and mobile weakness had a spillover effect on internal display and chip sales.
- Samsung is facing intensifying low-end/mid-range smartphone competition from Chinese OEMs pricing aggressively - its smartphone share fell Y/Y in both Q1 and Q4 (per IDC) following a long run of share gains, while Huawei and Lenovo each grew rapidly. Xiaomi, which shipped 26.1M phones in 1H14 (+271% Y/Y), is also a growing threat.
- The tablet weakness comes after the market's growth slowed to a trickle in Q1. Notably, Samsung states phablets are cannibalizing 7"-8" tablets, and a lack of carrier subsidies is leading to low upgrade rates (previous).
- Samsung is "cautiously" optimistic about Q3. It expects hardware refreshes to boost smartphone sales, and for display and memory chip sales to also rise.
- Shares are up 0.5% in Seoul. Investors have been expecting soft Q2 numbers.
Jul. 7, 2014, 2:59 AM
- Samsung (SSNLF) is facing a tough time on all fronts, as competition from cheaper models and the launch of the iPhone 6, will likely cause profit to decline again this quarter. Chairman of the group, Lee Kun-hee, also suffered a heart attack in May, leaving the company without a leader and unclear succession.
- According to a Thomson Reuters poll, the company is expected to say on Tuesday, that earnings fell 12.6% for the second-quarter. Previously, CFO Lee Sang-hoon announced that the company's Q2 results "doesn’t look too good."
- As a result of this year's 5% stock drop, Samsung says it will compensate investors by boosting dividends.
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