To date, Samsung and Apple have been in adamant opposition against one another in a series of patent infringement suits filed around the world. But that could change after Samsung's Lee Kun-hee recently returned from a three-month trip to Japan and Hawaii, according to The Korea Times.
Lee has a history of taking lengthy overseas trips before making major changes at Samsung, including new directions for the business and managerial changes. The chairman has been on 20 such trips since 1993.
Sources who spoke with the Korean publication indicated that Samsung's ongoing patent dispute with Apple is one of "several pending issues" that Lee plans to personally consider. Just last week, a judge with the International Trade Commission ruled that Samsung's products are infringing on an Apple patent related to text selection on mobile devices.
As part of its anticipated changes, Samsung may also reportedly seek a way to "cut reliance on its mobile business." Lee met with reporters at Gimpo International Airport upon returning from his three-month sabbatical, where he said he believes Samsung should "always have a sense of crisis," and strive to "run faster and always study to have insights."
Any changes the chairman plans to implement could be announced as soon as Wednesday, when he plans to meet with reporters once again.
Lee's return comes only days after Samsung announced that its profits were up 53 percent year over year in the first three months of 2013 to 8.7 trillion won, or $7.7 billion U.S. The sales, which came ahead of the launch of the company's flagship Galaxy S4, were believed to have been primarily driven by low- and mid-level smartphones.
Separately, a new report from Korea's ETNews on Monday claims that Samsung is working on a smartphone with a large 6.3-inch display. The handset, which would double as a "smart pad," could launch as early as June, the report said.
Samsung, and the rest of the smartphone industry, have been trending toward larger screens in recent years. Apple even followed last year with the iPhone 5 debuting a 4-inch display, though at that size it still remains one of the smaller screen options on the market.