Earlier this week, Samsung released its Q4 2016 earnings report.
In the conference call that followed, the company’s Lee Kyeong-tae, an executive with the firm’s mobile division, said Samsung is open to collaborating with Google on artificial intelligence development. In fact, he even went so far as to say that Samsung and Google must work together to ensure AI-powered products gain mainstream appeal.
“Samsung and Google will have to continue to maintain their strategic partnership to nurture the AI and the market for the emerging technology,” he said, according to Korean English-language publication The Investor.
The statement comes as Samsung prepares to launch the Galaxy S8, a smartphone the company itself has confirmed will feature its own take on the personal assistant (codenamed Bixby, according to multiple reports), not Google’s recently released solution, Assistant. Lee went on to state that Samsung plans to integrate its AI software in a variety of other products, including TVs, tablets and computers it produces.
Google hasn’t said how it feels about its biggest Android partner releasing a competitor to Assistant while still using the OS it built, but it’s easy to imagine Google isn’t overly pleased, especially as it pushes developers to tone down on Android customization.
For the most part, however, Lee’s statement is another example of Samsung’s unusual relationship with Google. The company’s mobile division clearly owes a lot of its success to Google and Android, but with efforts like Tizen, it’s clear Samsung sees Google as more of a competitor than partner.