Samsung squares up to outbox HP and IBM

Korean firm promises war

Samsung plans to begin a war of attrition against the likes of HP and IBM to become a major supplier to the corporate IT market.

David Steel, vice president of Samsung's digital media business, said: "Of course, we have a long way to go before we can compete with these established vendors. It's not going to happen overnight but we are coming in as a new hungry player with new technology."

Samsung is a best known as a consumer products brand but it already has a presence in the business market. As a supplier of specialist monitors in the corporate market, it has been seeing good sales and has proved popular but the sales are secondary sales as most PCs sales bundle in a monitor as part of the package.

The company is also believed to have been working with Microsoft on a 22 inch LCD monitor designed specifically for Windows Vista. This monitor will be badged by Microsoft and is expected to appear some time in the next few months.

In signage the company has a series of thin client monitors and has recently signed a deal to supply the new Heathrow Terminal 5 with 3,000 of these large-format screens.

Another area where Samsung is quietly enjoying success in the corporate market is as a manufacturer of Dell's Latitude business notebooks. Steel points out that brand awareness in the consumer market over the last few years offers a springboard into the corporate markets, but adds that the main push will be in the SMB market. This will serve to grow awareness of its product ranges, create a track record for "reliability and functionality".

Steel says that differentiation through innovative features and hardware design will be a key property of Samsung's business products.

Samsung is not so well known for its laser printers and this is where Steel sees an opportunity as the company moves from a pure monochrome range into low-cost colour systems.

"A couple of years ago our printer range was focused on the SoHo market at 20 pages per minute and sold through retail. Now Samsung has 45ppm, we have the world's smallest colour laser, we have colour laser multifunction printers," he said.

The company is investing in colour laser research to break into an area that is now beginning to show signs of significant growth.

Samsung's go-to-market strategy will be to sign up resellers that understand the business market as its primary sales channel. This process is already underway and the company plans to make its initial moves in early 2007. ®

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