Samsung and Harman: Unlikely Partners, Perfect Together
Back when I was in college, one of those terms in business class that got thoroughly overused was synergy and ‘synergistic relationships.’ Usually 2 + 2 never equals 5, but in the surprising Samsung–Harman buyout, the former is purchasing a company with enormous horsepower when it comes to gaining access to OEM automakers. In case you haven’t heard, Samsung will purchase Harman in an all-cash deal for $8 billion. However, the market for automotive electronics is projected to be bigger than $100 billion in less than 10 years, thus making it a great opportunity for Samsung to bring its technology - especially its smartphone technology - to the dashboard.
The tremendous growth of connected car technology makes automotive the biggest and fastest growth opportunity for Harman, and in turn, Samsung. Consumers crave the technology when they purchase their new car. When people in the consumer technology world think Harman, their brains typically make a B line right to Harman Kardon or JBL. They are the company’s most recognizable CE brands, and especially recognizable brands in the audio world. However, no one really puts much thought into who is behind the infotainment system in their vehicle. In fact, some automakers make it a priority to suppress the name of the supplier of the audio system, and instead make it an opportunity for OEM branding. But, in the luxury and midsize segment, more often than not it is Harman hardware coupled with Harman software.