Samsung set to go on a software shopping spree, will this be a repeat of Nokia’s Ovi failure?

by: ŠtefanSeptember 27, 2012

Kang Tae-jin, Senior Vice President of Samsung’s Media Solution Center, was recently interviewed by Reuters. He told them that the South Korean handset maker is yearning to become better known for their software. In order to do that, they’re going to buy up smaller companies instead of building their own stuff in-house. Take the Samsung Music Hub for instance, which was made after the company acquired mSpot in May 2012. Samsung wants to turn that into one of the “world’s top four services within three years in both revenue and subscriber numbers.”

Does Samsung plan on making money with their services? Not really. Kang admits that “selling content won’t make much of a contribution to the bottom line.” There are benefits to selling devices that are backed up with a rich set of software and services however, just look at the success of the iPhone around the world or the Amazon Kindle Fire in the United States.

We have to wonder though, is Samsung setting themselves up for failure? Back in August 2007, Nokia announced a new brand: Ovi. It was an “umbrella brand” that covered all the online services that the company was trying to push to consumers. There was an Ovi Music Store, an Ovi Cloud Storage platform, an Ovi Share service that let users share photos and video, an Ovi Contact Sync solution. Hell, there was even a web based Ovi Email service! Were those separate pieces, each built by different companies, seamlessly integrated? No, and that caused a ton of frustration. So much so that Nokia killed the Ovi brand in 2011 after discovering people would rather use the web services they were already familiar with instead of signing up for something new.

“We have an internal target to break even in software,” said Kang. That’s an incredibly fancy way of confessing that what Samsung is doing now is subpar compared to the competition. We love Samsung hardware here at Android Authority, make no mistake about that, but the thought of the Galaxy S4 or Galaxy Note 3 coming with even more Samsung bloatware just makes us incredibly frustrated.

  • Well, this will be interesting to watch.

    • Stefan Constantinescu

      You can say that again!

  • what comes around

    Many companies ebb and flow with specializing and diversifying. Such is Samsung. But what is lame is that this kind of diversity bores consumers because it results in phone bloatware…which excites no one. If they want software, pour the money into all that other hardware they build, but please not into phones. Make TV software, or something else.

  • in my mind’s eye, this will come down to implementation. That’s why Ovi failed where amazon and apple succeeded. if samsung makes everything fast, seemless, cheap, and easy, this will be a win.

    if it’s, as Stefan so eloquently put it, frustration incarnate, then it’ll fail. Can’t wait to see how this goes :)

  • Eddy

    They should come not pre installed like a “more services” that you can download if you want. But even if they come pre installed, I don’t see it as a problem, we can always remove what we don’t want.

    • Only if your phone is rooted, right? Which I’m not sure if everyone is comfortable with. Phones with custom UIs (like my xperia) give you no control at all for removing bundled apps. I can’t even get the default Android ICS Home.

      • Eddy

        You are right man, there are people who are not comfortable with rooting, there are people who like iPhone because it has a dumb down OS because it’s so restrictive. But in the Android world rooting, custom rom’s etc, are the fun part. So that’s why I don’t consider bloatware a problem. For those people there is iPhone, I know is harsh but that is that.

  • It WILL NOT be a repeat of Nokia Ovi.

    They SHOULD go for buying good software if it fits with their strategy.

  • Marco Costa

    To be honest they could have done with being optional, i got my GS3 and one of the first things i did was to disable stuff like musichub, samsung apps, gameshub etc.
    I do actually like the new Touchwiz believe it or not, on my GS2 i didn’t i gone the way of CM10 but on the GS3 i do actually like it and also the fact that if i install a custom rom i most likely lose some features that are unique to the S3. But the bloatware they pre-install just drives me nuts!