Samsung Chairman Lee Kum-hee has urged his company to innovate ‘non stop’ in 2014. At an annual speech on Thursday, Lee noted 2013 was tough, mainly due to rising competition. His directive to his company was to jettison the old methods, and search out a new path for Samsung.
In a statement provided to The Wall Street Journal by Samsung, Lee said “Research & development center(s) should work around the clock, non-stop”, and that the company must “get rid of business models and strategies from five, ten years ago and hardware-focused ways”. As they try to pursue a larger role within the mobile technology sector, it’s worth noting that since 2010, Samsung has spent roughly $1 billion on acquisitions. Google is said to have spent that much on Waze alone.
Acquisitions are the quickest way to R&D fortunes, and Samsung has committed themselves to that front. In November, CFO Lee Sang Hoon noted the company would pursue small to mid-size businesses they felt could help their endeavors. This all comes as Samsung ends their 2013 with shares down 10%, and continues into 2014 with a 4.6% decrease over last year.
Focussing on software versus hardware is probably a smart move for Samsung. With Google becoming increasingly contextual, and Apple having won several lawsuits pertaining to the design of Samsung hardware, Samsung is clearly missing a part of the equation. A move toward software innovation would be a bit of an about face for Samsung, but with their massive resources, there is no reason to thick they can’t adjust accordingly.