Samsung and Google are in discussions to strike a deal that would give the US tech upper hand on Samsung phones at the expense of those from the Korean manufacturer. The deal would reportedly involve using the Google Assistant and the Play Store rather than Samsung’s own alternatives.
Samsung is now the world’s biggest phone company and by far the leading Andriod handset producers in the US. While its phones make use of Google’s operating system, Samsung has put in efforts over the years to create an ecosystem of its own software that beats Andriod, including the Bixby voice assistant and the Galaxy app store. Google’s own inventions are still available on Samsung’s devices, but Samsung has gone beyond to include dedicated buttons on its hardware in an attempt to make Bixby the most exclusive choice for customers.
Both Google and Samsung have had their clashes over the smartphone maker’s Android designs before, and Samsung agreed to note down some of its TouchWiz tweaks in 2014. Google still has a grudge with what’s transpired ever since, but Samsung will take some persuading this time around. The most important terms of the deal haven’t been released, but as Bloomberg notes, Google has a multi-billion-dollar deal with Apple to be its default browser in the Safari.
Google has been really busy lately, striking deals with companies. The company is reportedly joining other tech giants in an attempt to convince US lawmakers that it is not going against any protocol and abusing its power. The Play Store and Google’s mandatory service bundling on Android phones been issued huge antitrust scrutiny, and a deal with Samsung could undermine Google’s argument that the Android platform enables strong competition.
“Samsung remains committed to our own ecosystem and services,” a Samsung spokesperson said to Bloomberg in a statement. “At the same time, Samsung closely works with Google and other partners to offer the best mobile experiences for our users.”
“Like all Android device makers, Samsung is free to create its own app store and digital assistant,” a spokesman said. “That’s one of the great features of the Android platform. And while we regularly talk with partners about ways to improve the user experience, we have no plans to change that.”