This is a week for Samsung acquisitions, it seems. Fresh from announcing plans to buy audio and auto systems maker Harman for a cool $8 billion, the Korean giant revealed on Wednesday that it is also acquiring NewNet Communication Technologies, a messaging company, in an undisclosed deal.
The company might not be as sexy or as recognizable as Harman, which claims to have audio and connected systems in 30 million cars worldwide, but NewNet could provide an important piece of the services puzzle for Samsung.
Harman promises to give Samsung a huge boost in owning the increasingly important in-car infotainment space, where Google’s Android Auto and Apple’s CarPlay systems are already in the market, because of its sheer consumer presence and brand. NewNet could help in another important domain: messaging. It could enable Samsung to introduce its own messaging services to rival to iMessage, Google’s many chat apps and third-parties like WhatsApp, which counts a billion active users. (Samsung’s previous stab at messaging, a chat app called ChatOn, was closed down nearly two years ago.)
Canada-based NewNet specializes in RCS infrastructure and services which enable things like high-quality voice calls, group calls, video calls, file sharing and more. Its technology allows these features across users with different kinds of devices and different mobile operators, in a similar way that iMessage users can send each other different media types and free messages across the Apple service.
It isn’t entirely clear right now how Samsung will use NewNet, which will remain a standalone business under its ownership, but this could be another catch up move on its rivals — not unlike the Harman deal is but far, far cheaper.