Samsung is dateless and desperate on prom night
A soap opera. That's how I would describe this week's revelation that Samsung is cozying up to Microsoft and the forthcoming Windows Phone 8. Still stinging from its recent court loss to Apple, the South Korean juggernaut appears to be hedging its Android bets by embracing one of the two remaining underdogs in the mobile OS race (the other being Research in Motion).
No matter how you slice it, Samsung's executives are running scared. And who can blame them? Apple will do whatever it takes to crush the little green man from Mountain View (it's a Jobsian legacy thing). And the fact that its chief hardware rival is getting squeezed in the process is simply gravy.
The whole thing reminds me of those classic rom-com storylines of love vs. fate. Like some desperate, dateless teenager on prom night, Samsung has now turned to the heavy-set girl in the corner of the hall (Microsoft) in the hopes of scoring a quick consolation prize. But in the immortal words of Tom Petty, even the losers get lucky sometimes.
You see, the Redmond, Wash. behemoth's dance card is already full of Fins with broad patent portfolios. And while Nokia may have seen better days, the company has made it clear that Microsoft is now its true one-and-only (I hear Nokia CEO Stehen Elop and Microsoft head honcho Steve Ballmer have even exchanged keys to their respective G5s). No matter how hard Samsung tries to cut-in, at the end of the night, we all know who Microsoft will go home with.
Which leads us to RIM. Awkward and a bit shy, the company seems like an easy mark. But every time the suave South Korean tries to make a move, someone changes the music and the feisty canuck starts dancing with itself again (think RIM CEO Thorsten Heins dressed like Billy Idol circa 1980 -- not a pretty sight). Maybe if RIM would put its BB10 "rebel yell" on hold for a minute the two could hook-up. But for now, the company seems content to keep pushing its retro solo act in the hopes that the public will take notice.
In the end, as the credits roll and the various couples exit the gymnasium on their way towards romantic bliss, we find poor Samsung, sitting alone in the back of a darkened car, playing with its little Bada. Sure, the company could settle for a supporting role as a plucky sidekick or goofy-yet-endearing third wheel (insert Asian typecasting joke here). However, the one-time leading man has tasted true love and now yearns for something more.
Perhaps there is still hope for Samsung. Some twist of legal fate could restore the company's status and free it to once again pursue its dreams in the post-PC spotlight. But for now, with its love affair with the little green man coming to a close, the former star of the mobile stage must be content with its new role as a bit player in a much larger production.
And as the screen fades to black, cue the classic J. Geils vinyl: "Love Stinks!"