Samsung Electronics may invest $1 billion into acquisitions of artificial intelligence (AI) companies. South Korean outlet Chosun Biz reported on Tuesday that the Seoul-based tech giant is currently considering the idea of establishing a $1 billion fund for that purpose. An anonymous source from the U.S. branch of Samsung Electronics allegedly said that the company may even inject more money into the fund as the aforementioned figure is apparently just the bare minimum that the largest business conglomerate in South Korea believes is worth investing. Apart from direct acquisitions and mergers, the report says that the fund would also be used to purchase stakes in AI companies. Despite the fact that Samsung Electronics recently made some significant investments into AI, the company's management still thinks more similar initiatives are necessary, the source revealed.
Samsung's latest related investment was made in October when the company announced the acquisition of Viv Labs, a U.S. AI startup founded by some of the developers who worked on Apple's smart assistant Siri. Viv Labs reportedly also created Bixby, the unannounced AI assistant that's heavily rumored to debut with the Galaxy S8 and the Galaxy S8 Plus. Some of Samsung's recent trademark filings related to Bixby suggest that the company is looking to not only ship an assistant that would act as a selling point of its upcoming Android flagships but is also interested in creating an ecosystem around its latest and greatest digital assistant. The company's major push into AI is being interpreted as its attempt to not repeat some of the mistakes it made in the past. Namely, Chosun Biz claims that Samsung is still sore about the fact that it refused to purchase the Android operating system from Andy Rubin back in 2005 and is now adamant to do whatever it takes to spearhead the next mobile software revolution.
Given that state of affairs, it's not surprising that Samsung may consider making more investments into the AI sector, especially since the company is also rumored to be working on a competitor to Amazon's Echo and Google Home called Samsung Hello. More information on Samsung's AI-related ambitions will likely follow by spring.