Wednesday 29 July 2020 12:42 pm

Samsung mulls ditching App Store and virtual assistant in possible Google tie-up

Samsung is said to be considering plans to drop its own Galaxy App Store and its virtual assistant Bixby in favour of signing a deal with Google’s Android competitor.

The tie-up would mark a major change for Samsung, which has consistently clung to using its own services rather than adopting Google’s offering.

Google has tried for years to get Samsung, the world’s top-selling smartphone maker, to adopt Google’s Search, Assistant and Play Store apps, a person close to the relationship told Reuters.

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Google is now said to be offering more lucrative terms for Samsung than in previous deals if it retreats from its app strategy, with terms set to be finalised by Friday.

Samsung denied having plans to drop its app store and assistant, however, saying it remains committed to its services and ecosystem.

Samsung phones are already powered by Google’s Android software, which sometimes as an incentive will give manufacturers a portion of ad revenue generated from Google apps featured on their devices.

But the South Korean electronics magnate has stuck by its own app store and services, from which it can collect all the revenue, despite a reputation for glitches and a lukewarm reception from users.

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This strategy has been challenged in recent months, Reuters reported, as the coronavirus pandemic and a slowdown in phone upgrades have hurt sales.

Some companies are now having to shut down costly projects and search for new revenue, which could have prompted the move.

Google said in a statement that it regularly discusses ways to improve the user experience with partners and that Samsung remains free to create its own app store and digital assistant.