Dear Microsoft, Samsung Isn’t Very Happy With You

There’s been a lot of talk lately about Samsung’s growing rift with Google. But what about Samsung and Microsoft?

Samsung has indeed been moving away from Google’s native apps with their own complement of directly competing services. And their insistence to continue developing Tizen as an mobile OS over which they have full control looms over Google’s future as a valuable partner to Samsung. You can check out our thoughts about this here.

But Samsung’s executives have been voicing their discontent with Microsoft’s products for quite some time. “Smartphones and tablets based on Microsoft’s Windows operating system aren’t selling very well,” admitted Samsung Co-CEO J.K. Shin in his latest interview with the WSJ yesterday. “In Europe, we’re also seeing lackluster demand for Windows-based products.” It’s also worth noting that J.K. Shin gave his assurances that Samsung and Google were still very much on friendly terms.

Samsung Executive Vice President Song Soo Jun, manager of the company’s memory marketing division, was a little more blunt. “I think the Windows 8 system is no better than the previous Windows Vista platform.” That’s a low blow considering Windows Vista’s reputation as a bloated and buggy OS that shipped too soon. Even more so when you consider that Windows 8 was supposed to be Microsoft’s great divergence away from the Windows of Yore.

Samsung has reason to be unhappy with Microsoft – Windows 8 and Windows Phone devices as a whole just aren’t selling well. Since its debut last October, Windows 8 only amounts to 2.3 percent of the global desktop OS market share. Microsoft has only managed to ship 1.5 million units of its Surface tablet, falling far below industry estimates of 3 million. Weak sales for Windows RT tablets in Germany is forcing Samsung to ditch their entire Windows RT lineup there.

But from some perspectives, Samsung’s attitude towards Windows Phone is one wrought purely from negligence. “There is no evidence that Samsung has any interest in seeing the Windows Phone platform succeed,” writes Detwiler Fenton analyst Jeff Johnston.

All of this says plenty about where Samsung and Microsoft respectively are today. Samsung’s successes in the mobile market have seemingly turned the company overnight into a fearsome juggernaut with plenty of spending power. When it comes to mobile, Microsoft is still struggling to keep itself afloat.

That’s why it isn’t surprising at all that Samsung feels confident enough about its own position that it’s firing shots over Microsoft’s heads. A Samsung executive badmouthing Windows would have been unfathomable a decade ago. But times and circumstances have changed. Samsung has an answer to mobile that is producing profit. Microsoft doesn’t. And until Microsoft figures out a way to make itself relevant in the mobile space, Samsung won’t be paying any attention to them.