Even its open source bets.
The first hedge is an IP deal with Microsoft covering Android, which Samsung previously licensed from Google.
Terms are not disclosed, so while many open source analysts are angry, like Brian Proffitt, it was hard for me to see exactly what they were angry about.
“Samsung screws Linux over,” Proffitt wrote after reading about the deal at ZDNet. When I pointed out the lack of disclosure, and the possibility this may be little money for nothing in the way of real protection, he returned my Tweet. “The Microsoft FUD that's sure to come will make great hay out of this. Actual dollar amount does not matter.”
Really? Samsung has been defending Google's Linux in court for a year, and it's been getting hit hard in the process. In addition to its legal bills, its Galaxy tablets are now illegal in Germany. While it now talks about “getting tough” against Apple in court, it clearly needs all the allies it can get. Even if they're in Redmond.
Now it has allies. Not only in Microsoft, but the Linux Foundation, which rebooted its old Intel-Nokia Meego project as Tizen, aiming to create a true HTML5 mobile platform.
That's important, not only because it means Samsung is doubling-down on open source, but because with Tizen it is getting to the heart of the problem – namely the patent and copyright protections that current mobile players use to keep others out of the game.
Mobility is an enormous market, but changes in America's approach to copyright and patents over the last year – which I think are really aimed at keeping China at bay – meaning courts are more than willing to enforce an IP-based syndicate against innovation, even open source innovation, than ever before.
And this is the heart of the policy question open source must find a way to answer.
Right now the tech world is finely balanced between western software and branding on the one hand and eastern hardware manufacturing on the other. Give away the software and the West gets rolled.
How can we convince people otherwise?