Samsung is open to an artificial intelligence partnership with Google, the company's President and Chief Executive Officer Kim Hyun-suk said while speaking to journalists at this year's iteration of IFA trade show in Berlin, Germany. The industry veteran acknowledged that Samsung's ambitions in the AI segment are directly rivaling those of Google, particularly given its focus on developing Bixby into a full-fledged ecosystem. Regardless, the Seoul-based technology giant is still open to a collaboration with Google and would even be able to leverage its status of the world's largest smartphone vendor in order to kickstart such a partnership, Mr. Kim said.
One example of such a partnership would be a deeper integration of Google-made services such as Maps and Search into Bixby, according to the executive. "Collaboration is essential for perfect voice control," the CEO asserted, having also referred to Samsung's global device sales that are in the ballpark of half a billion units per year as a user base that Google wouldn't be wise to ignore. Alphabet's subsidiary has so far been extremely inclusive in regards to widening its Google Assistant ecosystem but showed little interest in supporting any direct rival such as Amazon's Alexa. The latter adopted a more collaborative approach akin to the one Mr. Kim described last week, as evidenced by its partnership with Microsoft's Cortana. Samsung's massive install base should still allow the company to negotiate its way to a certain "level of cooperation with AI leaders," Google included, the executive maintained.
With Bixby being set to receive support for third-party apps this November and Samsung's first smart home speaker being scheduled to debut in the coming weeks, the South Korean tech juggernaut will be challenging Google's smart home offerings in the most direct manner to date and it's presently unclear whether a collaboration with the Mountain View-based company is something it will be actively pursuing in the near future. Google is expected to debut new AI-powered consumer electronics in early October, including the Pixel 3 line of Android flagships.