Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. could eliminate Bixby, the virtual voice assistant, and the Galaxy Apps Store from its mobile devices under a deal with Alphabet Inc’s Google, Reuters reported.
It is the latest effort by Google to convince Samsung to lose one of its services and instead promote Google’s search, Assistant and Play Store apps, a source told the news service.
If the move is successful, Google would grab the world’s best selling mobile device maker by units sold, and Samsung would drop its own services while the search giant is highlighted.
The report noted Android software powers phones from Samsung and many other companies as an incentive to provide manufacturers with advertising revenue from Google apps featured on their devices.
Samsung has maintained its independence and consistently made efforts to promote its own apps and collect all the cash. This, despite years of glitches and limited interest from users.
But the onset of COVID-19, which has slowed cellphone upgrades and cooled sales, has prompted Samsung to give the idea a second thought, Reuters reported. The pandemic has caused many companies to end costly projects and search for new ways to be profitable.
The financial details under negotiation between the companies was not known.
Still, it’s likely Google is offering more lucrative terms for Samsung than in previous deals if it is willing to end its app strategy, the source told the news service. A deal could be completed by Friday (July 31), the source said.
In a statement, Samsung said that while it is committed to its own services, it “closely works with Google and other partners to offer the best mobile experiences.”
Google said it routinely considers ways to upgrade user experience with partners and Samsung remains free to create its own app store and digital assistant.
One year ago, PYMNTS reported Samsung introduced a marketplace for Bixby, despite its relatively unknown name compared to Alexa, Siri and Cortana.
The Bixby marketplace became available in the U.S. and South Korea, where users can download several different services to customize it.
The apps offered on Bixby, called capsules by Samsung, include National Public Radio, Spotify, iHeartRadio, Yelp and even Google Maps. In addition, the marketplace lists staff picks, reviews and categories based on the capsule users prefer.