Samsung Merges LCD And OLED Operations Amidst Rising Legal Woes

Samsung is considering the separation of its liquid crystal display operations and merging it into Samsung Mobile Display – the venture setup by Samsung Electronics and Samsung SDI Co., that makes organic light-emitting diode or OLED panels.

The possibility of the merger is due to the fact that the LCD business had an operating loss of 750 billion won ($668 million) last year because of slowing TV sales.  Merging LCD and OLED operations will help the company expand their next-generation display business by utilizing LCD-manufacturing resources to boost OLED production.  OLED is mostly used in mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets but Smasung is looking into using the technology for smart TVs.

“The logic of combining LCD and OLED businesses is quite persuasive,” Ahn Seong Ho, a Seoul-based analyst at Hanwha wrote in a report today. “Samsung’s leadership in growing the OLED market will significantly be boosted.”

Mobile Angle

Samsung already unveiled their plans for their newest tablet, which will be available in the UK by March.  And today, Samsung launched Samsung’s very first DUAL-SIM smartphones in the Indian market.  the DUAL-SIM smartphones are the Galaxy Ace Duos (SCH-i589), Galaxy Y Pro Duos (GT B5512) and Galaxy Y Duos (GT-S6102).  Samsung also added two new DUAL-SIM feature phones in their portfolio with the launch of the Champ Deluxe Duos (C3312) and Star 3 Duos (GT-S5222).

“We are very proud and delighted to announce the launch of these innovative hybrid mobile devices,” said Mr. Ranjit Yadav, Country Head, Mobile and IT, Samsung India. “These devices combine the effectiveness of all the smartphone features and at the same time give consumers a unique opportunity to maintain their work life balance. With the increasing demand for being connected 24×7 and yet maintaining a personal life balance, these innovative Dual SIM smartphones enable the mobile consumers to be socially networked through their phones anytime, anywhere, and at the same separate their personal life from their professional life.”

Legal Angle

Last week, KT Corp., South Korea’s largest wired and wireless telecommunications company, cut off internet access to Samsung Smart TVs in South Korea after Samsung’s refusal to discuss costs related to network improvement.  Samsung retaliated by holding a press conference and filing a lawsuit against the telecom company.  Smart TVs or connected TVs require greater bandwidth, and that forces ISPs to spend heavily on network capacity.

“Samsung has a created a platform without paying for using the network,” Lee Dong-hwan, a KT network-policy manager said.

The Korea Communications Commission  negotiated the dispute between the two companies and ordered KT to return internet service to Samsung’s Smart TVs and Samsung to drop the lawsuit and negotiate with KT.

“Both companies agreed to work on a sound ecosystem for the business,” the commission said.

In other legal news, Lee Maeng-hee, second to the oldest son of Lee Byung-chull, founder of the Samsung Group, sued his younger brother Lee Kun-hee for allegedly stealing from the Samsung Life Insurance fund by putting assets under his name instead of giving it to the rightful heirs/heiress.

Lee Maeng-hee is asking the Seoul Central District Court to order Lee Kun-hee to return the 8,240,000 shares of Samsung Life Insurance, 20 stocks of Samsung Elctronics and 100 million won or $89,000.

“The concerned stocks of Samsung Life and the life insurance firm itself were assets put in a trust under the name of non-heirs, and they should have been apportioned to the heirs according to law,” Maeng-hee stated.  “Upon our father’s death, Chirman Lee did not inform peer heirs and heiresses of the trust and unilaterally put them under his own name.”