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

post #1 of 54
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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 ]
post #2 of 54
I thought Samsung had the best displays in the business¡

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post #3 of 54
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.
post #4 of 54
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
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post #5 of 54
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.
post #6 of 54
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?
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post #7 of 54
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
post #8 of 54
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.
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post #9 of 54
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
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post #10 of 54
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.

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post #11 of 54
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.
post #12 of 54
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.

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post #13 of 54
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
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post #14 of 54
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.
post #15 of 54
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.
post #16 of 54
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.
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post #17 of 54
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...
post #18 of 54
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?
post #19 of 54
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.
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post #20 of 54
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
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post #21 of 54
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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post #22 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

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.

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

Samsung, of all the companies that Apple competes with, has the best chance to copy Apple on this front and succeed. They are large and have deep pockets without a fear of going backrupt month-to-month yet they also can work fast like a start up. On top of that they have their hands in HW, OS, SW and ecosystem construction that could rival Apple. If they realized the long-game of treating the customer well even though it's a cost center they could have a similar mindshare that Apple enjoys.

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post #23 of 54
It has the same conflict of interest problem, maybe even worse.
post #24 of 54
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.

I am not surprised that Samsung just upped and reamed your backside with that TV purchase. The only Samsung product I use is a feature phone and only because it was a free upgrade. I don't expect it to last long. Just like a previous Samsung cell phone died after 11 months and a Samsung dehumidifier I bought died after three months. Their customer service philosophy seems to be "take the money and run".

Samsung is a shit company run by a CEO who was convicted of embezzlement and tax evasion but then was pardoned by the president of Korea. He has also been embroiled in a slush fund/bribery controversy and is currently being sued by his brother for allegedly stealing a billion dollar inheritance from his own siblings.

I'd stay away from any company whose CEO has that track record.
post #25 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by bullhead View Post

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

In the "popular price" range, is there any clear leader? Not the tippity top for those who want the very best, but in the broad middle, does any company have a clear (no pun intended) advantage in screen quality?
post #26 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

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

Samsung, of all the companies that Apple competes with, has the best chance to copy Apple on this front and succeed. They are large and have deep pockets without a fear of going backrupt month-to-month yet they also can work fast like a start up. On top of that they have their hands in HW, OS, SW and ecosystem construction that could rival Apple. If they realized the long-game of treating the customer well even though it's a cost center they could have a similar mindshare that Apple enjoys.

While that's always theoretically true, everything I've seen of Samsung suggests that an Apple-like focus on customer satisfaction just isn't in their DNA.

Worse, their rapid emergence as a leader in the red hot mobile market seems to have convinced them that they can treat everyone with contempt-- customers, competitive IP owners, the courts, everyone.

People talk about Apple being arrogant, but their actions are all in service to making great products and keeping their customers happy. Samsung seems to think arrogance is its own reward, in service to simply venerating Samsung. A customer centric model requires a certain basic humility, the understanding that you're only as good as how much the average user enjoys your products. Samsung cares about moving product, now, and buyers remorse can always be cured by the next new better thing, of which they have an inexhaustible supply.
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post #27 of 54
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.

That is very lucrative. Apple pushes Apple Care as strongly as, say, Best Buy pushes their own brand of extended warranty. Good service after the sale translates into future sales. Apple values getting loyal customers for life.

But IMO, the thing that Apple does best is system integration. People want to buy a Mac and an Apple TV and Apple's wireless routers and external drives and iPhones and iPads in part because they all work so well together. Each one adds value to the pre-existing purchases.

I don't think that Apple gets enough credit for that. Tim was flogging that aspect yesterday at his Wall Street event, in the context of iCloud. He made tons of sense.

The ecosystem and the "it all works together" aspect of Apple's products is, IMO, a major selling point both for the product currently being bought, and for future sales of Apple products.

Nobody does lock-in better than Apple. Indeed, I see few companies that do it at all. M$ is trying to do a "Windows everywhere" thing, but Windows is nothing if not inter-operative already. You don't need a Windows phone to play nice with your company's M$ mail server. But you need Apple products to work seamlessly with Apple products.

Apple is masterful at integrating their products into a compelling whole.
post #28 of 54
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.

Sol, you've hit the nail on the head. I would add that I think the reason for not following Apple's lead is a philosophical one on the part of the competition. While everyone and their dog seems to be only concerned with "chasing profits" .... Apple has said time and time again that their focus is on making "insanely great products/services". People seem to have difficulty believing that because it seems that that is not the "normal" approach to doing business. Weird huh?

I was always taught that if you take care of the details (i.e. quality of design, service, et.) .... the "big picture" (company profits) will take care of itself. All great artists take time with the thousands of details to paint a masterpiece. Running a business of any size is no different. Until Apple's competitors really understand and practice this simple idea ..... Apple will continue to dominate the marketplace in the only metrics that amount to anything .... customer satisfaction and profits. .... just my 2¢ wort. Cheers.
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post #29 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

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

If you are talking about samsung's second largest cliet, Apple, well, Samsung electronics's semi unit has the fattest profit margin, followed by mobile.
post #30 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbee View Post

Sol, you've hit the nail on the head. I would add that I think the reason for not following Apple's lead is a philosophical one on the part of the competition.

John Gruver of Daring Fireball stated just yesterday that Apple's isn't a HW or SW company, it's an experience company. While that's contains a bit of marketing flare it it's also true. They sell the experience by being great at both HW and SW and almost always releasing completed products that work well to bring this synergy to the user.

I'd love for others to copy this part of Apple.

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post #31 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

In the "popular price" range, is there any clear leader? Not the tippity top for those who want the very best, but in the broad middle, does any company have a clear (no pun intended) advantage in screen quality?

In the cheapo market, there really is no difference. You can get a decent picture from any manufacturer; there is no leader in terms of picture quality.
post #32 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

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.

With all due respect, Apple support is very good; but not reinventing-ly great. They just look really look good with the piss poor support of Windows products (coupled with how much more often they need support )

This might also be because I've been on the benefiting side of Valve's customer support, which I would argue with anyone is the best in the tech business.
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post #33 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

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

I don't know about your math but in mine it doesn't matter how many you sell under cost, you'll never make money.
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post #34 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by dasanman69 View Post

i don't know about your math but in mine it doesn't matter how many you sell under cost, you'll never make money.

. . . Bingo!
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post #35 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by bullhead View Post

In the cheapo market, there really is no difference. You can get a decent picture from any manufacturer; there is no leader in terms of picture quality.

Thanks.
post #36 of 54
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.[/QUOTE]

Very well said.
post #37 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by LogicNReason View Post

With all due respect, Apple support is very good; but not reinventing-ly great. They just look really look good with the piss poor support of Windows products (coupled with how much more often they need support )

This might also be because I've been on the benefiting side of Valve's customer support, which I would argue with anyone is the best in the tech business.

I'm sure we can all come up with anecdotes of better and worse, the fact is Apple get rated by independent companies and have scored, consistently high in customer satisfaction. It is this not just my own experience I am referring to. Don't forget the scale involved. I'd like to think my own companies over the years gave excellent support too but we didn't have quite as many customers as Apple

My best personal experience was Apple shipping me a replacement / loner 30 inch ACD at 6 p.m. my time that arrived 10 a.m. the next day enabling the editing to continue with hardly a break.
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post #38 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by LogicNReason View Post

With all due respect, Apple support is very good; but not reinventing-ly great. They just look really look good with the piss poor support of Windows products (coupled with how much more often they need support )

This might also be because I've been on the benefiting side of Valve's customer support, which I would argue with anyone is the best in the tech business.

I would consider the Genius bar as re-inventingly great. No other store had anything like it -- a full staff of techies ready to look at your Apple gadget no matter how old it is and doesn't charge you just to perform diagnostics. And if it's a minor fix, it's usually free.

Bestbuy has a tech support area whose main job apparently is to fend off warranty claims and to sell overpriced and unnecessary tune-up and maintenance services.
post #39 of 54
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.

Perhaps that's because Apple support has been slipping¡ Or should that be a ¿
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post #40 of 54
Given this latest episode of goofiness in the TV business, it's no wonder yesterday that Tim Cook reiterated his comments at the Goldman Sachs conference about it continuing to be a "hobby" for Apple. I don't think Cook engages in misdirection plays, and I draw from his latest remarks that any so-called Apple television product is a considerable ways from prime time. In other words, Apple hasn't yet made a firm commitment to go that route. The path to introducing a game-changer in television is still too obscure, not due to a lack of technology, but due to the chaos in creative content, distribution and conflicting interests that litters the landscape. It's like the early days of Gettysburg - a melee on many fronts and the outcome unclear.

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