June 16, 2016
Samsung has agreed to buy San Francisco based cloud provider Joyent in an effort to strengthen and diversify its mobile product offering.
Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed, however the company stated the acquisition will build Samsung’s capabilities in the mobile and Internet of Things arenas, as well cloud-based software and services markets. Samsung continually tries to find ways of differentiating its mobile products beyond sheer marketing and distribution spend and cloud autonomy should add another string to its bow.
“Samsung evaluated a wide range of potential companies in the public and private cloud infrastructure space with a focus on leading-edge scalable technology and talent,” said Injong Rhee, CTO of the Mobile Communications business at Samsung. “In Joyent, we saw an experienced management team with deep domain expertise and a robust cloud technology validated by some of the largest Fortune 500 customers.”
Joyent itself offers a relatively unique proposition in the cloud market as it runs its platform on containers, as opposed to traditional VM’s which the majority of other cloud platforms run on. The team reckons by using containers efficiency it notably improved, a claim which is generally supported by the industry. A recent poll run on Business Cloud News found 89% of readers found container run cloud platforms more attractive than those on VMs.
While smartphones would now be considered the norm in western societies, the industry has been taking a slight dip in recent months. Using data collected from public announcements and analyst firm Strategy Analytics, estimates showed the number of smartphones shipped in Q1 2016 fell to 334.6 million units from 345 million during the same period in 2015. The slowdown has been attributed to lucrative markets such as China becoming increasingly mature, as well as pessimistic outlook from consumers on the global economy.
As a means to differentiate the brand and tackle a challenging market, Samsung has been looking to software and services offerings, as creating a unique offering from hardware or platform perspective has become next to impossible. In terms of the hardware, the latest release of every smartphone contains pretty much the same features (high-performance camera, lighter than ever before etc.), and for the platform, the majority of the smartphone market operates on Android. Software and services has become the new battle ground for product differentiation.
Last month, the team launched its Artik Cloud Platform, an open data exchange platform designed to connect any data set from any connected device or cloud service. IoT is a market which has been targeted by numerous organizations and is seemingly the focus of a healthy proportion of product announcements. The launch of Artik Cloud puts Samsung in direct competition with the likes of Microsoft Azure and IBM Bluemix, as industry giants jostle for lead position in the IoT race, which has yet to be clarified. The inclusion of Joyent’s technology and engineers will give Samsung extra weight in the developing contest.
The purchase also offers Samsung the opportunity to scale its own scale its own cloud infrastructure. The Samsung team says it’s one of the world’s largest consumers of public cloud data and storage, and the inclusion of Joyent could offer the opportunity to move data in-house to decrease the dependency on third party cloud providers such as AWS.
As part of the agreement, CEO Scott Hammond, CTO Bryan Cantrill, and VP of Product Bill Fine, will join Samsung to work on company-wide initiatives. “We are excited to join the Samsung family,” said Hammond. “Samsung brings us the scale we need to grow our cloud and software business, an anchor tenant for our industry leading Triton container-as-a-service platform and Manta object storage technologies, and a partner for innovation in the emerging and fast growing areas of mobile and IoT, including smart homes and connected cars.”
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