Samsung to emphasize Google app and services over its own going forward?

SamsungGoogle and Samsung earlier this week signed a new 10-year global patent cross-license agreement that will see the two companies share their patent portfolios and collaborate even more closely on future projects. Re/Code has now learned that the agreement may go even further than that and could lead to changes to Samsung’s TouchWiz interface and the apps and services it bundles with Android devices.

As the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer, Samsung has established itself as Google’s key Android partner. At the same time, it has steadily moved to reduce its reliance on Google by introducing its own apps and services. many of which mimic Google’s own. The recent introduction of its new Magazine UX at CES 2014 apparently shocked Google executives by how much it customized the Android interface. For its part, Google has been gradually exerting more control over Android by moving more functionality over to its Google Mobile Services which come with a more rigorous set of terms and conditions and are not open source as Android itself is.

The direction in which both companies were moving could well have led to a rift that would have equally harmed both companies. Recognizing that, it appears that discussions began between the two at CES this year to avoid that outcome and ensure that both companies worked towards a mutual goal. These may have culminated with the new cross-license agreement and a further understanding that has so far remained confidential to both companies. One source described the relationship between the two as having gone through “a huge change, a sea change in the last few weeks.”

Re/Code sources suggest that among these additional terms could be a decision by Samsung to step back its efforts to better align with Google’s own Android vision. Samsung could go as far as modifying or even getting rid of the Magazine UX in future devices. It will also give more attention to Google’s apps at the expense of its own software and services. It’s not quite as clear what Google may have given up in exchange. One possibility could be that Samsung will produce a future Nexus device after having seen ASUS become Google’s partner for recent devices such as both Nexus 7 tablets and the Nexus 5 smartphone.

Google and Samsung both declined to comment on the story but Samsung did add that, “To continue our momentum of delivering great user experiences and bringing greater value to people’s lives, Samsung will continue to identify and provide differentiated and innovative service and content offerings on our mobile devices.”

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Source : Re/Code