Samsung is busy expanding its presence in Silicon Valley as the company sees the location as “the epicenter of disruptive forces.” The comment is probably referring to Apple and as the battle between the two companies escalates, Samsung wants to make sure it has staff and facilities in Apple’s backyard.
Its aggressive expansion into Silicon Valley includes the recent opening of a new innovation center in Menlo Park, Calif and the bold plan to build a huge new semiconductor campus. The new campus will have a very distinctive design which has one goal: to compete with Apple’s proposed spaceship-like campus and gain the title of Silicon Valley’s most distinctive architectural landmark.
By increasing its footprint in Silicon Valley, Samsung will be able to compete with Apple for the same employees and investments, a move which the company sees as necessary because in the past most of its innovation was done in Korea. Now it wants to reach out to “global hot spots” and “tap into global innovation efforts.”
Due to the legal battles between Apple and Samsung and the claims of copying and imitating, the Samsung brand isn’t known for innovation. Some think Samsung’s strength is in watching others pioneer new technologies and then quickly clone them. This is a little unfair in that while lots has been said about Samsung copying the design of the iPhone, it is Samsung who has led the way with larger screen smartphones and new niches like the Samsung Galaxy note range. In fact it was due to market pressures created by Samsung that Apple was forced to release the bigger screened iPhone 5, something the company had long resisted.
The sheer size and complexity of Samsung, which makes a whole range of products from microwave ovens to TVs, means that investors and innovators from Silicon Valley have struggled to break into the company’s insular culture. Coupled with the fact that until recently it was larger a Korean-centric business, any third party wanting to partner with the electronic giant had a hard time rubbing shoulders with the right people. The expansion in Silicon Valley should help alleviate these problem.
Is Samsung being underhanded by building in Apple’s back yard? Will the Korean giant lure away some of Apple’s employees and third party investors?