Editor's take: Are you a big user of the Bixby virtual assistant and the Galaxy Apps Store on Samsung’s phones? Probably not, so you might not even notice if the company starts prioritizing Google’s Assistant and Play Store on its handsets.
Both Bloomberg and Reuters report that Google and Samsung are discussing a global revenue-sharing deal that would give the former more control over the latter's devices. That would mean more prominence for Google products on the phones, while Samsung’s competing AI assistant and store would be pushed into the background.
Reuters reports that Samsung could even drop Bixby and the app store from its smartphones entirely, but the company says this won’t happen. "Samsung remains committed to our own ecosystem and services. At the same time, Samsung closely works with Google and other partners to offer the best mobile experiences for our users," it said in a statement.
According to reports, Google has long been trying to get the world’s largest smartphone vendor to give its products more prominence on Galaxy handsets, but Samsung has relented, despite its own services being met with lukewarm reception.
Covid-19 has seen smartphone sales crater, and while Samsung’s operating profit rose 23 percent for the three months ending June, that includes a $1 billion payment from Apple for not ordering enough OLEDs. The Korean giant’s YoY sales were down 7.4 percent, and it will be looking at new revenue sources—something Google could provide by offering more lucrative terms than in previous deals.
Neither company has confirmed that any talks are taking place. A Google spokesperson said: "Like all Android device makers, Samsung is free to create its own app store and digital assistant. That’s one of the great features of the Android platform. And while we regularly talk with partners about ways to improve the user experience, we have no plans to change that."