005930.KS - Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.

KSE - KSE Delayed Price. Currency in KRW
50,100.00
+100.00 (+0.20%)
At close: 3:30PM KST
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous Close50,000.00
Open49,900.00
Bid50,100.00 x 0
Ask50,200.00 x 0
Day's Range49,900.00 - 50,200.00
52 Week Range36,850.00 - 50,300.00
Volume5,895,473
Avg. Volume8,954,668
Market Cap332.562T
Beta (3Y Monthly)1.18
PE Ratio (TTM)N/A
EPS (TTM)N/A
Earnings DateOct. 31, 2019
Forward Dividend & Yield1,416.00 (2.83%)
Ex-Dividend Date2019-06-27
1y Target Est54,903.00
  • Samsung Galaxy Fold, again: Hard to love, harder to hate
    Engadget

    Samsung Galaxy Fold, again: Hard to love, harder to hate

    (Probably) our last word on the Samsung Galaxy Fold.

  • Strong phone sales help Samsung beat forecasts
    Reuters Videos

    Strong phone sales help Samsung beat forecasts

    It's known as the world's biggest maker of smartphones. But Samsung's business goes a lot further than fancy handsets - and so do its problems. The South Korean giant gave a trading update update Tuesday (October 8). It says operating profit will tumble 56 percent in the third quarter. That's actually better than forecast. But chips remain a big problem. Prices for semiconductors have tumbled amid weak demand. They fell around 25% in the first quarter of this year. Though analysts see signs that things are at least getting less bad. While chip prices are still falling, the percentage decline is forecast to slow to single digits in early 2020. Meanwhile, Samsung's mobile phone business is looking a whole lot happier. The firm says its new Galaxy 10 smartphones are selling strongly, and it has 5G and folding handsets hitting the market. Rival Huawei has inadvertently lent a hand. Its sales have stumbled following the imposition of U.S. sanctions. They may prevent it selling phones fitted with Google apps. Samsung is all too happy to mop up any consumers now hesitant about the Chinese brand.

  • Sanford C. Bernstein Rate Samsung Stock 'Outperform'
    Bloomberg

    Sanford C. Bernstein Rate Samsung Stock 'Outperform'

    Oct.07 -- Mark Newman, senior research analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, talks about Samsung Electronics Co.'s financial results and outlook. Samsung posted earnings that handily beat analyst estimates as stronger smartphone demand offset price declines in the memory chip business. Newman speaks with David Ingles and Yvonne Man on "Bloomberg Markets: Asia."

  • Samsung eyes recovery as chip prices firm up
    Reuters Videos

    Samsung eyes recovery as chip prices firm up

    It's known as the world's biggest maker of smartphones. But Samsung Electronics' business goes a lot further than fancy handsets - and so do its problems. The South Korean giant is due to report earnings on Tuesday (October 8). Analysts are forecasting a 60 percent decline in operating profit for the July-September quarter. Chips are the big headache. They account for over half of Samsung's profits. But prices for semiconductors have tumbled amid weak demand. They fell around 25% in the first quarter of this year. Now analysts see signs that things are at least getting less bad. Though chip prices are still falling, the percentage decline is forecast to slow to single digits in early 2020. Meanwhile, Samsung's mobile phone business is looking a whole lot happier. In the second quarter its market share in Europe jumped to a five-year high of over 40 percent, helped by new 5G devices. Rival Huawei has inadvertently lent a hand. Its sales have stumbled following the imposition of U.S. sanctions. They may prevent it selling phones fitted with Google apps. Samsung is all too happy to mop up any consumers now hesitant about the Chinese brand.

  • Samsung: Could QLED Revive Its Display Segment?
    Market Realist

    Samsung: Could QLED Revive Its Display Segment?

    Samsung Display, a unit of Samsung Electronics (SSNLF), announced an $11 billion investment in QLED research and development by 2025.

  • Lithium Battery Dreams Get a Rude Awakening in South America
    Bloomberg

    Lithium Battery Dreams Get a Rude Awakening in South America

    (Bloomberg) -- South America controls about 70% of the world’s reserves of lithium, the metal used in rechargeable batteries for mobile phones and electric vehicles, but none of the infrastructure needed to put it to work.Lithium refining and battery-assembling facilities could help kick start industries in economies that are largely dependent on commodities for revenue, putting them at risk from sharp price swings. But so far, public and private initiatives in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Chile have failed to deliver even a single lithium cell factory. And none are set to be built through 2025.Chile, the world’s second-largest lithium producer behind Australia, offers perhaps the best example of an effort gone off track. A $285 million lithium-cell project by two Korea-based companies was canceled in June when plunging lithium prices undercut government incentives on the metal. Meanwhile, a local company that assembles batteries using components from abroad is struggling to get lithium cells to support their sales in Chile.“The size of the opportunity is huge,” said James Ellis, the head of Latin America research at BloombergNEF. “It makes sense to try to move up the value chain. But when you look at what’s planned globally, there are no battery manufacturing assets in Latin America.”Other countries in the region face their own challenges. Here’s a breakdown:ArgentinaThe third-largest lithium producer also saw a state-sponsored initiative stall.Last year, Italy’s Seri Industrial SpA formed a joint venture with state-owned JEMSE, or more formally the Jujuy Energy and Mining State Society. The plan was to build a plant to make lithium cathodes and cells, and assemble battery parts, using raw lithium mined in Argentina’s Jujuy province.But Argentina’s economic crisis and the possibility that Peronist candidate Alberto Fernandez could win the upcoming presidential elections has, in the words of JEMSE President Carlos Oehler, “cooled all investment projects in Argentina, including building a battery factory.”The land and permits are ready, Oehler said, “and we were starting to look for financing, but the project is frozen now.”BrazilIn Latin America’s biggest economy, former Tesla Inc. executive Marco Krapels and former SunEdison Inc. executive Peter Conklin founded MicroPower-Comerc with the initial goal of providing rechargeable batteries to commercial and industrial facilities. But Brazil offers almost no government subsidies for renewable energy, and import taxes add about 65% to the cost of the batteries.That’s driven the company, which is backed by Siemens AG, to consider buying components abroad and assembling them in Brazil as a way to lower their costs.While the nation’s market for big batteries barely exists, Krapels sees opportunity in a place with an occasionally unstable power grid and a robust market for wind and solar. “This is not for the faint of heart,” he said in an interview last month. “But I think there’s an advantage on being the first to move into a market.”BoliviaBolivia hasn’t managed to produce significant volumes of lithium or lithium products. But it is home to the world’s largest salt flat, covering 6,437 kilometers (4,000 square miles), and holding more than 15% of the world’s unmined lithium resources.A pilot plant run by state-owned Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos, or YLB, produced close to 250 tons of lithium carbonate in 2018, and the country’s goal is to generate 150,000 tons within five years, partnered with German and Chinese companies. If it succeeds, Bolivia would become one of the top-producing nations.Last month, Industrias Quantum Motors SA began sales of the first car ever built in the country, an electric vehicle that answered President Evo Morales’s once-cited wish to see a lithium-powered car “made in Bolivia.”The problem? Eager buyers aren’t allowed to drive the cars on Bolivia highways until the government can change some existing regulations.ChileThe lithium producer tried to encourage battery companies to build factories in the country by forcing miners to sell lithium at a discount. That attracted interest from giants including Samsung SDI Co. and Posco in 2017, when lithium prices were at historic highs.But since then, prices have fallen by a third, and earlier this year the companies abandoned their plans to build.Even those embarked in less ambitious initiatives are facing hurdles. In Chile’s south, Andesvolt currently imports battery components from abroad and assembles them in the southern city of Valdivia. It supplies lithium-ion batteries for electricity companies including Enel Americas SA, which installs them as back-up power in industrial, commercial and residential facilities across the country.Andesvolt expects to produce 1,000 kilowatt-hour this year, up from 200 kilowatt-hour last year. But he is finding it so difficult to import lithium cells that he is considering building South America’s first lithium-cell factory. Dealing with the hiccups of importing the cells from China is just too much, founder and Chief Executive Officer David Ulloa said.Lithium cells are highly volatile and can explode if not handled properly, which means shipping companies are often reluctant to transport them. Even when they do, there’s no guarantee the cargo will arrive on time -- or arrive at all.“We’ve seen it all,” Ulloa said in an interview. “Once a Chinese supplier didn’t do any of the paperwork needed for Chilean customs and later offered to disguise the cargo as shoes -- we’re a serious company, we couldn’t accept that and we lost that shipment.”To contact the reporter on this story: Laura Millan Lombrana in Santiago at lmillan4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Luzi Ann Javier at ljavier@bloomberg.net, Reg Gale, Steven FrankFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Samsung Is Pouring $11 Billion Into Next-Generation Displays
    Bloomberg

    Samsung Is Pouring $11 Billion Into Next-Generation Displays

    (Bloomberg) -- Samsung Display Co. plans to spend 13.1 trillion won ($11 billion) developing and building next-generation displays, responding to a flood of supply and price pressure from fast-moving Chinese rivals.In an announcement event attended by Korean President Moon Jae-in and Samsung Electronics Co. Vice-Chairman Jay Y. Lee, the investment was presented as a move to reorganize the display industry while maintaining Samsung’s global lead and Korea’s established dominance. The government will invest about 400 billion won into next-generation displays to propel that objective, Moon said.The Samsung unit will build a quantum-dot display production line in Asan, according to a company statement, which will begin operations from 2021 with an initial monthly capacity of 30,000 panels larger than 65 inches. Production will then scale up from there, with a long-term development plan that stretches out to 2025. The investment will help create 81,000 jobs, the company added.Samsung and cross-town rival LG Display Co. are grappling with a surge of competition from Chinese suppliers such as BOE Technology Group Co., which in recent years have ramped up liquid crystal display-making capacity and are increasingly making inroads into next-generation screens. To offset a decline in margins and loss of clients, Samsung is moving forward with development of quantum-dot displays. Its stock ended Thursday largely unchanged.Samsung’s heir and de-facto leader Lee has pledged to invest for the long-term in the display business, which is one of the three main pillars -- alongside memory chips and smartphones -- in which the Korean tech champion is world leader. The company is making a huge bet on the market as the business environment deteriorates and a trade spat between Korea and Japan creates uncertainty around the supply of chemicals and components necessary to manufacture advanced displays. This week, Samsung reported a quarterly profit decline of more than 50%, though that was less of a fall than anticipated.Read more: Samsung Beats Estimates as Demand Picks Up for Note, IPhoneKorea’s largest company is the world’s foremost producer of high-margin OLED displays, but hit a snag last year when orders from Apple Inc. underwhelmed after the marquee iPhone XS fared worse than expected. It remains to be seen how enticing the new iPhone 11 Pro models will be to consumers over the critical holiday shopping season, though analysts are growing optimistic on demand.Away from displays, the unpredictability surrounding tensions between the U.S. and China -- where Samsung earns a big chunk of revenue -- has led to a downturn in the chip industry at a time when smartphone demand tapers off and the pace of data center construction decelerates.(Updates with Samsung’s shares in the fourth paragraph. An earlier version of the story corrected the timeframe for production capacity.)To contact the reporter on this story: Sohee Kim in Seoul at skim847@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net, Edwin Chan, Vlad SavovFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Samsung Display to invest $11 billion by 2025 amid industry oversupply
    Reuters

    Samsung Display to invest $11 billion by 2025 amid industry oversupply

    Apple Inc supplier Samsung Display said on Thursday it will invest 13.1 trillion won ($11 billion) on facilities and research to upgrade a production line, as it battles severe oversupply due to weak global demand for smartphones and TVs. The unit of Samsung Electronics Co Ltd said that by 2025 it will spend 10 trillion won on facilities and the rest on research and development to produce more advanced display screens. The investment announcement comes at a time when South Korea's panel makers have been struggling to cope with slower liquid crystal display (LCD) demand for TV and smartphones as well as rising competition from Chinese rivals and a shift by major clients to organic light emitting diode (OLED) panels.

  • Investing.com

    Samsung Display Plans to Invest 11B to Develop Next-Generation Display Technology

    Investing.com - South Korea-listed Samsung (KS:005930) Display will invest as much as 13.1 trillion won ($11.0 billion) on facilities and research on next-generation display technology, the country’s presidential office said on Thursday.

  • Is a Rebound Likely for Samsung in the Third Quarter?
    Market Realist

    Is a Rebound Likely for Samsung in the Third Quarter?

    Samsung just announced its third-quarter guidance. The company expects an operating profit of about 7.7 trillion Korean won, or $6.43 billion.

  • FX Empire

    Asian Shares Boosted by Hopes of US-China ‘Mini-Deal’

    U.S.-China trade talks are at the forefront, but investors are also monitoring the ongoing Brexit discussions and debating the degree of easing required from the Federal Reserve following the recent string of weakening U.S. activity indicators and the slowing in the labor market.

  • Samsung Billionaire Heir to Cede Board Seat Before Bribery Probe
    Bloomberg

    Samsung Billionaire Heir to Cede Board Seat Before Bribery Probe

    (Bloomberg) -- Samsung Electronics Co.’s de facto leader, Jay Y. Lee, plans to give up his board seat after his directorship expires late October as he prepares for another trial over alleged bribery, a person familiar with the matter said.The billionaire heir won’t seek to extend his three-year term on the board of the tech behemoth when it ends Oct. 26, but will remain at the helm of the world’s largest chip and smartphone maker, the person said, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue. Lee will instead continue to run Samsung Electronics with the title of vice chairman though its board will stay central to overall management, the person added.The 51-year-old is putting some distance between himself and Korea’s largest conglomerate ahead of a re-trial over bribery charges that could land him back in jail. He faces additional allegations in a landmark case that inflamed popular anger over the chaebols that control the country’s economy and helped bring down former president Park Geun-hye. Lee may be pre-empting a backlash over his re-seeking a board position -- which requires shareholder approval -- while contesting a months-long legal case.Read more: Samsung’s Lee Faces a Retrial That Could Put Him Back in JailWhen Lee joined the board in 2016, it was deemed a symbolic move to step out from under the shadow of his ailing father and consolidate his power over Samsung. His ascension was intended to shore up his position as a leader who drives strategic initiatives such as mergers and acquisitions.Yet months later, Lee’s fortunes reversed. Caught up in a nationwide scandal, Lee spent about a year in prison battling accusations that he offered horses and funds to a confidante of then-president Park in return for support of a 2015 merger that cemented his control over the Samsung group.Since his release in 2018, Lee has been busily re-cultivating an image as the face of successful Korean business. He joined President Moon Jae-in on visits to India and Pyongyang, and expanded his network via meetings with financier Mohammed bin Salman and Indian tycoon Mukesh Ambani.The only son of Chairman Lee Kun-hee will remain Samsung’s overseer for the time being, grappling with a laundry list of tasks including steering Samsung through a severe industry downturn. The company’s operating income fell more than 50% in the September quarter, though that was less of a decline than anticipated.As Lee has stressed in a series of press releases, the company needs to continue to invest in future businesses such as logic chips and even sixth-generation mobile networks to overcome growing uncertainty.Why Samsung’s Lee Needs to Do His Prison Time: Michael SchumanTo contact the reporter on this story: Sohee Kim in Seoul at skim847@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at echan273@bloomberg.net, Peter ElstromFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Samsung Beats Estimates as Demand Picks Up for Note, IPhone
    Bloomberg

    Samsung Beats Estimates as Demand Picks Up for Note, IPhone

    (Bloomberg) -- Samsung Electronics Co. posted earnings that handily beat analyst estimates as stronger smartphone demand offset price declines in the memory chip business.Operating income was 7.7 trillion won ($6.4 billion) in the three months ended September, compared with the 6.97 trillion won analysts had forecast, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Still, that is a profit decline of more than 50% for the Suwon, South Korea-based company.Samsung, the world’s largest producer of mobile phones and smartphone displays, is benefiting from solid demand for its Note 10 and for Apple Inc.’s iPhone 11 Pro, which uses the company’s OLED displays. Yet, the memory chip business has been its most profitable and uncertainties there have lingered because of the ongoing U.S.-China trade war and Japanese restrictions on the export of materials essential for chip and display production.“It’s better-than-expected results as mobile business made a huge improvement,” said Park Sung-soon, analyst at Cape Investment & Securities.Shares rose as much as 1.4% and had climbed 23% this year through Monday’s close.Sales for the third quarter were 62 trillion won, beating the average projection compiled by Bloomberg of 61.14 trillion won. Samsung won’t provide net income or break out divisional performance until it releases final results later this month.Samsung’s new high-end smartphones, including the Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Fold, helped cushion profit declines in the memory business. Its display business is recovering from a slump, with strong demand for OLED displays for smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone 11.The volatile business environment due to the U.S.-China trade war and South Korea-Japan spat has fueled uncertainties and made it harder for the market to gauge demand. As Japan’s export curbs on key materials used in chips and display production kicked in early July, clients raised their inventories of memory components to minimize risk, according to a note from TrendForce on Sept 26.“The stock-up demand was stronger than expected this third quarter due to the seasonal tailwinds and the pulling forward of end product shipments ahead of a possible new round of U.S. tariff increases in December,” said TrendForce. “Consequently, the overall trend of contract prices also shifted from decline to stability during the third quarter.”Analysts raised operating profit estimates in recent weeks as dynamic random-access memory shipments improved in the third quarter. Citi estimated Samsung would report semiconductor profits slightly higher than its previous estimates, supported by a 30% increase in DRAM shipments quarter-on-quarter, despite a 20% drop in DRAM prices.Concerns over the impact on the production of chips and displays have eased among some market watchers as Japan approved shipments of key materials to Samsung. Liquid hydrogen fluoride -- a highly purified chemical used to refine chips in production -- has not been approved for shipment to South Korea so far, but multiple reports and analysts indicate a local supplier may be able to provide substitutes.“Although DRAM and NAND demand is recovering and shipments in the third quarter were quite robust, there is skepticism about the sustainability of the demand upturn,” said Sanjeev Rana, technology analyst at CLSA.With the trade war issues hanging over the tech industry, Micron Technology Inc. warned that the tensions may prolong a memory-chip industry slump and gave a disappointing profit forecast. Despite the cautious outlook, investors are growing more bullish on Samsung amid hopes for an end to the slide.“As inventory de-stocking cycles end at major customers, we expect the memory industry to enter a recovery stage in 2020, while the magnitude of recovery will be more gradual (especially for DRAM) relative to previous upturn cycles,” J.P. Morgan said in an Oct 3 note.In the third quarter, contract prices for 32-gigabyte DRAM server modules fell 13.8% compared to the previous quarter while those for 128 gigabit MLC NAND flash memory chips rose 12.3%, according to inSpectrum Tech Inc.(Updates with analyst comment in fourth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Sohee Kim in Seoul at skim847@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at echan273@bloomberg.net, Peter ElstromFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Strong smartphone sales raise hopes of Samsung turnaround
    Reuters

    Strong smartphone sales raise hopes of Samsung turnaround

    Strong sales of Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Note 10 smartphone series are limiting forecast profit falls at the South Korean tech giant, raising hopes it is getting back on a growth track after years of moribund sales. Samsung, the world's largest smartphone maker, is powering ahead with the launch of 5G phones and $2,000 foldable handsets as it heats up competition with rivals U.S. Apple and China's Huawei [HWT.UL] following a battery explosion scandal in 2017 that hurt sales. There are also early signs that the global memory chip business, a key driver of Samsung's profit, will stabilise next year after prices were eroded by a weak global economy and slower spending by key data centre customers.

  • Investing.com

    Samsung’s Shares Gain Despite Falling Operating Profit in Third Quarter

    Investing.com - Shares of the South Korea-listed index heavyweight Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (KS:005930) traded higher on Tuesday in Asia even after the company said its operating profit in the third quarter fell by more than 50% from a year ago.

  • Three Countries That Prospered in the ’10s Are in Trouble
    Bloomberg

    Three Countries That Prospered in the ’10s Are in Trouble

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Most developed countries grow at about the same rate, thanks to the broad march of technological progress and globalization. But in each decade, there are a few stars that outperform the rest. Typically, other rich nations look to these winners for clues about how to raise their own growth rates.In the decade since the financial crisis, Germany, Singapore and South Korea stand out. All of these countries have outpaced the U.S. since 2009:For each of these countries, it’s possible to tell a story about why they’ve done so well. Germany’s strong performance is often attributed to its small but productive manufacturing companies, its harmonious relationship between organized labor and management, its vocational education system, and its substantial trade surpluses. Singapore’s success is sometimes credited to its educational prowess, unique public-housing system, and government investment in biotech and other cutting-edge industries. South Korea’s growth, meanwhile, tends to be ascribed to the strength of its national champion companies, especially Samsung Electronics Ltd. Writers, including myself, often recommend that the U.S. copy some of these policies in order to catch up.But in the past year, these three countries’ economies have begun to look much shakier. Even as U.S. economic numbers look solid, Germany, South Korea and Singapore have all either experienced recessions or come close.The German economy shrank in this year's second quarter, and it is forecast to contract even more in the third:A decline in exports is the main cause. About one-eighth of this is due to a slowdown in China, which has been a major customer of German capital equipment and other products. But the whole world is buying less from Germany these days. And where exports go, so goes the rest of the manufacturing sector.My colleague Chris Bryant believes that a number of trends may be working against the country’s industrial champions. The German automotive industry is highly exposed to climate change, with tightening emissions rules posing a threat to the future of diesel vehicles in particular. A number of European cities are banning diesel vehicles entirely, and some countries in the region have pledged to bar all internal combustion vehicles in the near future.This shift means a painful adjustment for Germany. The German auto industry represents a huge, deep pool of knowledge over a century in the making; the switch to electric vehicle will quickly make a portion of that knowledge obsolete.South Korea’s economy grew in the second quarter, but it contracted by 0.4% in the first. Inflation is falling as well, indicating a lack of demand.As with Germany, exports are the problem, with semiconductors the biggest worry. In recent years, South Korea has become a powerhouse in the industry, as Samsung has eclipsed Intel Corp. as the world’s biggest (and possibly most technologically advanced) semiconductor manufacturer. Semiconductor exports represent about a quarter of South Korea’s entire economy. So a recent drop in shipments – probably due to the China slowdown, the U.S.-China trade dispute, and another brewing trade war between South Korea and Japan – is bound to be painful.A retreat by Korean consumers could exacerbate the external shock. Households there have taken on a lot of debt in recent years, and a drop in exports could trigger a painful deleveraging.Singapore, meanwhile, saw its economy shrink in the second quarter. Yet again, falling exports and weakening manufacturing are the culprit. With exports representing more than 170% of gross domestic product, Singapore is one of the most trade-dependent countries in the world, and the U.S.-China trade war – including U.S. restrictions on technology exports – will hit it hard. Ironically, the protests ravaging Hong Kong may help Singapore to avoid a recession in the short term, as financial and business activity shift from the former to the latter. But the longer-term danger of the trade war, combined with an aging population and slowing productivity, will remain.So all three of these star performers share similar issues – slowing global trade and falling demand for manufacturing imports. The end of China’s rapid catch-up growth, plus the U.S.-China trade war, signals an end to the global economic model that drove growth during the past 20 years. And if the Japan-Korea trade spat signals a more widespread turn toward economic nationalism, the world’s export-dependent economies could be in for even more pain. Meanwhile, the escalating urgency of climate change will disrupt industries like autos that rely on burning fossil fuels.The economic environment that made Germany, Singapore and South Korea the champions of the 2010s is therefore coming to an end. This doesn’t mean that the U.S. has nothing to learn from these countries’ educational systems, labor relations, and industrial policies; indeed, the U.S. should copy their best elements. But it’s a reminder that different types of economies are suited to different times, and when the times change, the winners and losers change as well.To contact the author of this story: Noah Smith at nsmith150@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Greiff at jgreiff@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Noah Smith is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, and he blogs at Noahpinion.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Samsung Fixed Its Folding Phone. But It’s Still Not Ready for Most
    Bloomberg

    Samsung Fixed Its Folding Phone. But It’s Still Not Ready for Most

    (Bloomberg) -- Samsung Electronic Co.’s Galaxy Fold is no longer a $1,980 brick. Six months after launching a device with a strange screen protector and a tendency to crack, the South Korean-technology giant is back with a much-improved product. It’s still not ready for most consumers, though.The screen protector is now under a plastic rim so it’s essentially impossible to remove. That should prevent the cracks that doomed the original Fold. There are also new caps at the top and bottom of the hinge to stop debris getting into the display. With the previous model, dust and other gunk sometimes caused the screen to bubble up and break. The hinge – the mechanism that lets users open and shut the phone – also seems slightly stronger. The inner screen opens up to become a tablet about 7 inches in size. There’s also a 4-inch outer screen that is mostly used for quickly replying to messages, and handling phone calls. The external screen works well for dialing numbers and accepting calls, but it’s too cramped for most other tasks. The larger screen inside, however, is compelling. Being able to have a tablet-sized screen in your pocket makes the Galaxy Fold one of the best smartphones for watching video. It’s an excellent YouTube machine. You can also pin multiple apps on the screen at once, so it’s easy to watch video, text and browse the web at the same time.The operating system lets you slice up the screen in inventive and useful ways. One app can take up the whole of the left side of the screen, while another app takes up the top right area, with a third filling in the remaining bottom right of the display.  You can also add several small “pop up view” apps that float around the screen, although this starts getting confusing and messy with more than three or four apps. There are still drawbacks with the folding display, though. In very bright environments, it’s harder to see. And the crease that runs down the center of the screen shows up when you’re viewing something dark. And one issue from the first model remains: The screen can pick up dents from fingernails. Over several months or a year of use, that’s likely to bother customers. Samsung has said this is an inherent characteristic of its foldable phone design and offers a $149.99 screen replacement within the first year.The Fold is not water or dust resistant, practical features that most high-end smartphones offer these days. And if it’s near a magnet, the screen sometimes switches off. The box is loaded up with warnings, such as being careful with the screen. Rather than a polished device for the masses, the Fold seems to be a showcase for Samsung’s vision of the future of mobile computing. More of a “beta” test product, not a blockbuster. The company is already working on future versions of the Fold that will hopefully be cheaper, sturdier and have a much better external screen.To contact the author of this story: Mark Gurman in Los Angeles at mgurman1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Alistair Barr at abarr18@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Samsung heir Lee won't seek board term extension - report
    Reuters

    Samsung heir Lee won't seek board term extension - report

    Samsung Group heir Jay Y. Lee will not seek an extension to his term as director of the board of Samsung Electronics , the Korea Economic Daily newspaper reported on Friday. A South Korean court this month is set to review Lee's suspended jail sentence for bribery linked to former President Park Geun-hye. Lee, 51, will remain vice chairman of Samsung Electronics, the largest business in South Korea's largest chaebol, or family-run conglomerate, the newspaper said, citing unnamed sources.

  • Recovery beckons for Samsung as chip prices stabilize
    Reuters

    Recovery beckons for Samsung as chip prices stabilize

    Samsung Electronics Co Ltd <005930.KS> is likely to post a fourth consecutive quarter of declining profit when it reports preliminary earnings next week, though investors will be hoping the worst has passed with chip prices showing signs of recovery. Falling semiconductor prices and the drawn-out U.S.-China trade war have bitten into profits at the world's top memory chip and smartphone maker but analysts expect to see earnings growth next year as chip prices turn around. Samsung is likely to flag a 60% decline in July-September operating profit to 7 trillion won ($5.8 billion) on Tuesday, according to Refinitiv SmartEstimate, based on estimates from 28 analysts.

  • Apple Just Made the World's Best Phone Camera: iPhone 11 Pro Review
    Bloomberg

    Apple Just Made the World's Best Phone Camera: iPhone 11 Pro Review

    (Bloomberg) -- It’s been a while but, with the iPhone 11 Pro, Apple Inc. can once more claim the industry’s most capable smartphone cameras.Apple’s priciest mobile gadget represents the culmination of a strategic rather than hardware redesign — one that places the focus squarely on a device’s innards. From the front, the Pro looks much like the 2017 iPhone X. But flip it around and you’ll find the best camera system Apple’s ever devised. Use it for a while and you’ll experience the best battery life too. With what Phil Schiller dubbed the “first iPhone good enough to be called Pro,” Apple has mostly matched the specifications of Android rivals like Samsung Electronics Co. and Huawei Technologies Co., which have had multi-camera systems for years. But it’s also taken a step further through superior software implementation. Apple’s triple-camera system is ahead of the pack in switching smoothly between lenses when zooming in and out, keeping exposure and image quality consistent. That’s especially helpful in video, where the iPhone 11 Pro extends Apple’s established lead as the industry’s best mobile video camera.It’s part of the California giant’s new approach of selling services and industry-leading enhancements to a loyal fan base. Faced with a stagnating smartphone market and a user base happy with its existing devices, Apple this year stopped reporting product sales numbers and launched numerous initiatives to augment its growing portfolio. Apple Card got it into banking alongside Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Apple TV+ entered it into the streaming wars against the likes of Netflix Inc., and Apple Arcade turned it into a serious games publisher.Read more: Apple Bets on Cameras, New Pro Focus to Sell Latest IPhonesApple appears intent on reclaiming the mobile photography lead it lost when Google’s Pixel was released three years prior — because the camera is critical to any device, and the latest iPhones need an edge. That’s true even if you buy into expectations in some corners that iPhone demand will hold up despite global trade ructions and stiffening Chinese competition.Most impressive among Apple’s photo upgrades is the new night mode, which takes two to three seconds to capture a burst of images and then combines them into one. It works just like Google’s excellent Night Sight on Pixel devices, except Apple’s solution is simpler as it kicks in automatically when needed. Apple’s night photo quality matches or surpasses rival systems including Google’s.That means the iPhone’s camera is again top of its class, turning a point of weakness over the past few years into a strength. But it’s no slouch in other key areas, either.The battery life of both iPhone 11 Pro models is superb, giving the user confidence it will last through a busy day without recourse to a charger — which couldn’t be said of their predecessors, the iPhone XS and XS Max. A fast charger is finally included in the box with the new Pro iPhones (though not with the basic iPhone 11 model), and Apple has also embraced the gesture-typing popular on Android devices with its iOS 13 keyboard. The fluidity of Apple’s interface and animations remains unrivaled, aided by an upgraded A13 processor, which will let Apple build more augmented-reality applications while helping establish 4K video recording as the new iPhone standard. There’s still occasional sluggishness with navigation, which suggests next year’s iPhones might benefit from a greater memory allowance.Read more:  Without 5G, Apple’s New IPhones Risk Falling Behind in ChinaApple doesn’t strictly need to win any spec or performance contest. Because many users feel locked in to their chosen ecosystems, it’s sufficient for Apple to demonstrate that its best iPhones are among the leaders. That has historically allowed the company to bypass the rush to reinvent the smartphone every year with cutting-edge tech like bezel-less displays, pop-up cameras or so-called waterfall edges that turn the sides of the phone into display. Apple has the luxury of choosing which new tech to adopt and when.That being the case, the lack of fifth-generation networking in this year’s iPhone means Apple will miss out on a major upgrade cycle in China next year. Archrivals Samsung and Huawei already have 5G phones on the market.For the few people not committed to either iOS or Android already, the iPhone 11 Pro is also an invitation to join the Apple camp: It now offers top-notch camera quality alongside an extensive app ecosystem, effortless biometric security and consistently the best resale value.  To contact the authors of this story: Vlad Savov in Tokyo at vsavov5@bloomberg.netMark Gurman in Los Angeles at mgurman1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net, Edwin ChanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Microsoft Looks to Rewrite History on Its Phone Business
    Bloomberg

    Microsoft Looks to Rewrite History on Its Phone Business

    (Bloomberg) -- Now that Microsoft has restored some of its former glory, the company is going for an even more unlikely comeback: rewriting the history of its much-maligned phone business.Three years after retreating from the smartphone business, Microsoft on Wednesday took the wraps off the Surface Duo, a dual-screened handheld computing device coming in time for Christmas 2020. Yes, it makes phone calls and sends texts, even if Microsoft doesn’t seem to want to call it a phone (or a comeback).The success of this surprise return to phone hardware could rest on how Microsoft intends to market it. The company’s current lineup of Surface laptops and tablets is generally targeted at the high end of the electronics market – corporate users and gadget enthusiasts who value the sharp design or need the ability to blend work and personal functions on one device. Microsoft’s overall strategy for the broader Surface hardware business has never been to become one of the biggest laptop or tablet sellers, and the company has only a couple of percentage points of the worldwide tablet market, according to IDC. The question is whether the company will take the same approach with the Duo phone—will it be a hero device aimed at a small percentage of the market, meant to showcase how the company’s cloud-based services work in a mobile world? Or is Microsoft aiming to pose a serious challenge to other smartphone makers? With the device a year away, it’s not clear if Microsoft has worked out its plan yet.At the unveiling in New York, Chief Product Officer Panos Panay took pains to focus on the Duo’s similarities to other Surfaces, even as he noted that the press and analysts in the audience would headline its ability to make calls and send texts. “You’re going to talk about this as a phone,” he said when previewing it at the company’s annual hardware event. “Make no mistake, this product is a Surface.” Panay even told Wired he doesn’t want people to call it a phone. Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella and other executives have frequently responded to questions about whether or when Microsoft would make a phone again by pledging that the company wouldn’t do so unless it had a differentiated product and a significant point of view. In the Duo, the company thinks it has just that. A portable, foldable device with two screens – not a folding screen like Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy Fold – that can merge Microsoft’s apps with those made for Google’s Android operating system. Either way, the move is significant both strategically and in historical context. Phones became the white whale of Nadella’s predecessor, Steve Ballmer, who negotiated the $9.5 billion purchase of Nokia Oyj’s handset business in 2013 in a desperate attempt to get traction in a growing market. Though designing and selling one model of a Surface phone is a smaller investment than that disastrous deal, another failure here would sting. It would also dent Nadella’s reputation as Microsoft’s turnaround king and a shrewd judge of which businesses to home in on and which to jettison. Few things represent the impotence of Microsoft’s waning tech leadership in the aughts than its missteps in mobile. Indeed, even in a period when sales and profit rose and Microsoft created massive businesses in Xbox and server software, it was the poor execution and strategy in phones that colored public perception of the company. Years before Apple Inc. and Google pioneered the modern smartphone market, Microsoft began its foray into phone software in the early 2000s – and had fielded handheld-organizer programs even earlier than that. Yet its products never caught on. In 2007, then-CEO Ballmer publicly derided Apple’s first iPhone, and Microsoft mobile executives had the same take on Android, arguing that Windows already offered an operating system for phone makers to load on their handsets.As Android and Apple's iOS ate away at Windows Phone’s market share, Microsoft increasingly looked to Nokia as a savior, first striking a partnership to put Windows on Nokia handsets. Ultimately Ballmer fought his board and pushed through a plan to acquire that handset business in the waning days of his tenure as CEO. Nadella, who had initially voted against the purchase when Ballmer polled his top executives, stuck with it. Less than 18 months later, that call came back to bite him as Microsoft had to write down almost the whole value of the deal. Microsoft fired most of Nokia’s workers and exited the phone business.It wasn’t just a major embarrassment – Microsoft’s phone debacle dealt a serious blow to its flagship Windows operating system, confining the software to the declining desktop computer market and leaving the phone and tablet spoils for Apple, Google and Samsung.Microsoft’s announcement this week is a declaration that it’s back in the game – to what degree isn’t yet clear. One thing, though, is certain: Nadella’s Microsoft has a healthier sense of what the company is good at, and where it should just license technology from others who are further ahead. The Surface Duo will run on Google’s Android, not Windows.  To contact the author of this story: Dina Bass in Seattle at dbass2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Samsung Leaves China: Can It Regain Its Lost Ground?
    Market Realist

    Samsung Leaves China: Can It Regain Its Lost Ground?

    Samsung has stopped manufacturing mobile phones in China. Stiff competition, rising labor costs, and China's slowing economy led Samsung to this decision.