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Samsung admits its software needs improving, commits half of R&D workforce

Samsung admits its software needs improving, commits half of R&D workforce


Samsung is just like the Red Sox

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Samsung Kwon Oh-hyun
Samsung Kwon Oh-hyun

Samsung today admitted it needs to work on software, an area it's "not as good" at as hardware. Samsung vice chairman & CEO Kwon Oh-hyun compares the company's software efforts to the World Series-winning Boston Red Sox's pitching performance. Kwon notes the Red Sox led the pack in batting this year, but were only an average pitching team. His conclusion? "Even though we're doing the software business, we're not as good as we are in hardware." The Red Sox still won the World Series, though, with the implication being that Samsung is "winning" at technology right now.

Samsung makes a massive commitment to improve software

It's true that software imperfections have yet to hamper Samsung's march to global dominance. 2013 has seen the Korean company post consecutive profit records and improve its marketshare in key areas, including strengthening its grip on the number-one spot in the smartphone market. That said, Samsung isn't taking any chances; Kwon says that half of his Research and Development (R&D) workforce is focused on software, and the efforts to improve software are likely to grow moving forward. Given the company is currently spending over $3 billion per quarter on R&D, that represents a colossal investment in software.

Startups can "address region-specific needs."

Company president Lee Sang-hoon reaffirms Samsung's focus on getting software right. "Industry-wide tech development is shifting from hardware to software." Lee says the company's recent efforts to acquire fresh talent from startups — including the establishment of overseas R&D centers —  are an effort to "address region-specific needs."

Kwon and Lee's remarks came at Samsung's first analyst day in eight years. The public meeting, which is seen by many as an effort to boost the company's middling stock performance this year, took place in Seoul and included several high-profile members of the Samsung hierarchy. The company claims it wants to actively engage with shareholders more and lay out a long-term vision for its continued success.