Samsung may spin off struggling LCD business to focus on OLED displays

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014


Samsung is said to be pondering a potential spin-off of its money-losing LCD business, which has in the past supplied display panels to Apple for devices like the iPhone and iPad.



The potential move comes as Samsung's display panel business lost $669 million last year, according to the Financial Times. By spinning off its LCD business, the new operation could focus more on building OLED panels, and could also find it easier to sell displays to companies that are competitors of Samsung.



Wednesday's report noted that Apple and other rivals have been reluctant to buy LCDs from Samsung, as Samsung also competes with those companies by building its own smartphones and tablets. It noted that Apple has largely relied on Samsung competitor LG for iPhone and iPad displays.



That competition between Samsung and Apple has caused a major rift between the two companies, even though Samsung remains a significant supplier to Apple. Last April, Apple sued Samsung and accused the Korean electronics maker of copying the look and feel of the iPhone and iPad, and lawsuits between the two companies have grown ever since.



Samsung said on Wednesday that it could spin off its LCD division, enabling it to merge with Samsung Mobile Display, which makes next-generation organic light emitting diode (OLED) displays. OLED is largely seen as the technology that will replace LCD, as it is more power efficient and brighter, and allows for thinner devices.



At last month's Consumer Electronics Show, Samsung showed off a 55-inch OLED display that the company will bring to market this year. When it arrives, the HDTV will be the largest OLED display available for consumers to purchase. No price has been set for the forthcoming panel.











Rumors have persisted for years that Apple has explored using OLED displays for devices like the iPhone and iPad, but those claims have never panned out. Last May, one report alleged that Apple CEO Tim Cook, then the company's chief operating officer, had met with Samsung to discuss switching to an AMOLED display for the third-generation iPad. But that device, expected to be unveiled March 7, is rumored to have a high-resolution Retina Display that will likely be LCD, not OLED.



The news that Samsung could spin off its LCD business comes as Apple is rumored to be working on its own full-fledged television set, which would place it in a market where Samsung has competed for many years. This week, one Samsung official said his company's expertise in building display panels will give it a leg up on any potential Apple television in terms of picture quality. AV production manager Chris Moseley said that the quality of the screen on an HDTV is the most important aspect of the product.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I thought Samsung had the best displays in the business¡
  • tooltalktooltalk Posts: 766member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    I thought Samsung had the best displays in the business¡



    They are, but everyone is losing money on display/TVs - the industry is too cyclical, capital intensive, razor thin margin. It doesn't seem like their revenue is growing in that unit either. I think Samsung should get out of appliance market as well (or spin off) and just stick to semi / mobile.



    I'm guessing Apple isn't going to jump into manufacturing TV's - I just don't see how Apple can make money in that biz.
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 14,321member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    I thought Samsung had the best displays in the business¡



    I've seen that claim fairly often. Personally I haven't done any personal comparisons myself to form an opinion of it.



    FWIW, the story here is reported a bit differently than I had previously read it a day or so ago. Supposedly both LG and Sharp have been losing money on LCD's (in fact Sharps' losses are the highest in their history) for a few quarters and struggling to compete with Samsung's pricing.



    EDIT: Here's another view on the how's and why's on Sammy's LCD business and it's profitable OLED unit.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...81E0BO20120215
  • wakefinancewakefinance Posts: 855member
    I hope Apple puts AMOLED in the next iPad/iPhone! The colors pop and don't have that hyper green coloring problem on the latest generation.
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,152member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    I thought Samsung had the best displays in the business¡



    Shame they pissed off their largest client eh?
  • bullheadbullhead Posts: 492member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    I thought Samsung had the best displays in the business¡



    Samesung does not have the best displays...never did. Anyone that knows anything about picture quality would say the best display right now is the Sharp/Pioneer ELITE by far
  • thataveragejoethataveragejoe Posts: 830member
    This post is horrendously misleading. The linked FT article explains it much better.



    All this is, is what to do with the remains of the joint venture with Sony that no longer exists. Attaching it to another Samsung division is just rearranging the deck chairs. Not much to read into here.
  • hexxhexx Posts: 40member
    they might have best displays but if they could calibrate them it would be more useful. i have a samsung TV but god!!! it's shit with factory settings, took mi over hour to properly calibrate it. and cheaper models even don't allow much when it comes to calibration.



    and not even talking about lack of FW updates for their 'smart' TVs. Sony on the other hand uses BRAVIA engine and if they update it, you can update your TV, samsung never released an update for my TV, 6 months later introduced a new one, with updated SW instead of offering FW upgrade for current owners.



    that's the last product from samsung I will ever have. period. fuck them
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wakefinance View Post


    I hope Apple puts AMOLED in the next iPad/iPhone! The colors pop and don't have that hyper green coloring problem on the latest generation.



    They won't. There are many issues with AMOLED that make it inferior to the IPS LCD panels Apple uses. If you don't go PenTile using sub-pixels you have a thicker panel and use more power which is why even today the new Droid RAZRs and the Galaxy Nexus S* use PenTile.



    Apple would also need to alter the UI to have more blacks so that power consumption can be reduced further. Then there is colour accuracy, brightness and other factors that are more important that simply having absolute black.



    Beyond that getting a 9.7" AMOLED display doesn't seem feasible in a $499 tablet. At least, I haven't seen one.







    * The Nexus S also comes with an LCD option with a few more HW features but it's not for all markets.
  • clauclau Posts: 15member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hexx View Post


    samsung never released an update for my TV, 6 months later introduced a new one, with updated SW instead of offering FW upgrade for current owners.



    that's the last product from samsung I will ever have. period.



    3 years ago I bought the then brandnew top of the line flagship touchscreen smartphone from Samsung for what was an obscene amount, never received any FW update and three months later they launched a new top of the line model and swept mine aside. The one I owned has many glitches, their products are shady at best.



    I came to the same easy conclusion you did.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Clau View Post


    3 years ago I bought the then brandnew top of the line flagship touchscreen smartphone from Samsung for what was an obscene amount, never received any FW update and three months later they launched a new top of the line model and swept mine aside. The one I owned has many glitches, their products are shady at best.



    I came to the same easy conclusion you did.



    Of all things Samsung copies from Apple the one thing that could make them a real threat to Apple is the one thing they haven't copied and the one thing Apple doesn't have exclusive rights to: customer service and support.
  • hexxhexx Posts: 40member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Of all things Samsung copies from Apple the one thing that could make them a real threat to Apple is the one thing they haven't copied and the one thing Apple doesn't have exclusive rights to: customer service and support.



    they would need to look it up in dictionary and then use those 10000 R&D employees to decipher it - they're just bunch of wankers
  • hmmhmm Posts: 3,355member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    I thought Samsung had the best displays in the business¡



    We've all seen the $100 lcd displays in stores. We've seen the price of 40" televisions. Most of these things have razor thin margins, especially right now. Bleh editing this to make it at least a bit more interesting. I'm surprised they've gotten so far with OLED. LED in general has a lot of problems with heat and color stability. These problems would become more apparent in building such a massive display. It's not that this is a bad type of technology. It's just difficult to implement such a thing.
  • igxqrrligxqrrl Posts: 105member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tooltalk View Post


    They are, but everyone is losing money on display/TVs - the industry is too cyclical, capital intensive, razor thin margin. It doesn't seem like their revenue is growing in that unit either. I think Samsung should get out of appliance market as well (or spin off) and just stick to semi / mobile.



    I'm guessing Apple isn't going to jump into manufacturing TV's - I just don't see how Apple can make money in that biz.



    I think Apple has shown that there are margins available in even cutthroat businesses for exceptional products.



    PCs operate on razor thin margins, but the margins on Macs are quite good. LCD monitors have razor thin margins, but the Apple Cinema Display has great margins. Just about the only company making good money on smartphones is Apple.



    I think it would be more correct to say that the margins on commoditized TVs is low. By differentiating itself, Apple could probably do pretty well.
  • gatorguygatorguy Posts: 14,321member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    Shame they pissed off their largest client eh?



    Ah yes. . .

    Sell the product under cost but make it up in volume.
  • bluedjinnbluedjinn Posts: 56member
    Who knows, perhaps Apple will decide to cut out the middleman and just start manufacturing the things themselves. Lord knows they have the money to cover the startup costs, and if anyone can find a decent margin in the industry, they can...
  • cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,054member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


    Shame they pissed off their largest client eh?



    I didn't know Samsung pissed off Sony - when did they do that?
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,152member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


    I didn't know Samsung pissed off Sony - when did they do that?



    I was referring to Apple not Sony, sorry I thought what I said was self explanatory, I must stop assuming things like that, my bad. I meant Apple could well have become their biggest client.
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,152member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


    Ah yes. . .

    Sell the product under cost but make it up in volume.



    I'd have thought having Apple as a happy, friendly client would be a good thing.



    Edited cos he lives near me
  • digitalclipsdigitalclips Posts: 15,152member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Of all things Samsung copies from Apple the one thing that could make them a real threat to Apple is the one thing they haven't copied and the one thing Apple doesn't have exclusive rights to: customer service and support.



    No doubt there will be a group of people here that misunderstand or misconstrue what I am about to say but ...



    You know that's so true and equally applies to almost everyone Apple competes with. It could almost be considered as yet another industry (classing support as a business) Apple has re-invented.
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