December 02, 2013

Samsung May Be Pursuing a Tizen-Firefox OS Partnership

Android’s (NewsAlert) spot at the top of the mobile market seems pretty solid. After all, even Apple has been unable to top Google in terms of sheer device share — and there are few other viable competitors out there right now. However, it’s possible that a simple partnership could change this.

According to reports, Samsung (NewsAlert) has been pursuing a partnership with Mozilla with the aim of merging the latter’s Firefox OS with the open source, standards-based software platform Tizen.

What’s really interesting about this is that it’s actually feasible on a technical level, since both operating systems are based heavily on HTML5, making them uniquely suited to some form of merger. More importantly, this means that apps can be developed for both quite easily as they exist currently, meaning convergence isn’t all that necessary to create a unified front.

As usual, the real complexity comes on the business level. Despite the fact that Samsung chief secretary Wonsuk Lee recently stated that a relationship between Tizen and Firefox OS is possible, the situation isn’t as simple as that.

For example, Mozilla (NewsAlert) has often stated that it has no interest in anything beyond the low-end device market. This lack of ambition may see the company decide not to pursue a serious relationship with Samsung and Tizen.

As for Samsung, the company seems to be conflicted. It’s clear that the Korean manufacturer is concerned about its heavy reliance on Android and Google (News Alert), but the amount of money Samsung is making with Android — the company claimed 53 percent of third quarter 2013 smartphone profits, according to a recent report — must make it difficult to shift focus to Tizen. Indeed, Samsung’s behavior surrounding Tizen has been furtive and uncertain, leading to delays in the release of an actual Tizen device. The company promised Tizen-based devices by the end of this year, for example, but that hasn’t happened.

Still, if Mozilla and Samsung did manage to forge a partnership, it’s possible they could manage to gain a significant foothold.

Edited by Alisen Downey


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