In the first quarter, the two gadget makers combined claimed 53.3% of the global smartphone market, with the South Korean conglomerate leading the way, thanks to its wide array of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) Android devices. Of course, the two companies are world-class frenemies. Samsung is a major supplier for Apple, and they remain embattled in an ever-escalating global patent warfare.
Apple’s not the only one with hostilities toward Sammy. Foxconn, one of Apple’s primary contract manufacturers, also dreams of bringing Samsung to its knees. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou recently said that its partnership with Japan’s Sharp would help it intensify competition with Samsung. Foxconn took a roughly 10% stake in Sharp for about $800 million in March, and Gou personally just acquired a 46.5% stake in one of Sharp’s LCD panel plants.
This particular plant is the only one in the world that can mass produce panels as large as 60-inches to 80-inches, adding further fuel to the speculation that it’s preparing to start working on the mythical Apple TV set.
Gou told China Times that he has a lifetime goal of defeating Samsung, a company he says has “a track record of snitching on its competitors.” Gou was referring to a panel price-fixing scandal involving four Taiwanese companies back in 2010, where Samsung was a whistleblower to the European Commission.
Samsung’s newest Galaxy flagship, the S III, has just launched to much anticipation, following up the successful Galaxy S II. Gou isn’t impressed, though. He says smartphone buyers should hold off and wait for the next-generation iPhone, which is expected in either September or October, adding that “The new model will put Samsung’s Galaxy III to shame.”
This year’s iPhone upgrade is widely expected to be a whopper, featuring 4G LTE data speeds, a redesigned form factor, and a larger display.
The good news is that we only have a couple more months before we find out.
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