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EXCLUSIVE: Samsung Notebooks Tipped To Make A Comback, JB Hi Fi Want Them

JB Hi Fi wants to sell Samsung notebooks, however Samsung believe there is not enough margin in notebooks, and that somewhere in the middle is a deal that could see what was, a very popular notebook, return to Australian retailers in the premium notebook market.

Several years ago, Samsung successfully sold what was seen as one of the thinnest and most stylish notebooks in the market with Australian consumers still buying the Samsung notebook product from overseas retailers or Amazon according to IDC.

Then along came rampant discounting a change of management at Samsung and the notebook range was dumped, some say because of poor internal management.

Phil Newton the former Vice President of Consumer Electronics at Samsung who is now the CEO of Masimo Consumer grew the Samsung monitor and PC business significantly, which at the time was selling notebooks.He was then Promoted to Corporate Vice President & CMO of Samsung, shortly afterwards new management who took over the running of the division decided to drop the supply of notebooks in Australia despite them being widely available overseas.Some insiders who have since left the South Korean Company put it down to poor management and a lack of PC market expertise by management responsible for the PC division.

Now there is talk of Samsung coming back into the notebook with Samsung Australia vice president Garry McGregor admitting that discussions have taken place with JB Hi Fi.

In the USA and Canada market retailers such as Best Buy are having a lot of success selling Samsung notebooks with retailers in Australia looking to get the range back on sale because of the clout that the Samsung brand delivers.

Notebooks such as the Galaxy Book3 Pro 360 2-in-1 16″ 3K with AMOLED touch screen capability and Intel 13th Gen Evo Core i7-1360P with 16GB of memory and a 1TB SSD are selling for around $2,200 at stores such as Best Buy.

In Australia Samsung has around 30% of the tablet market and around 32% of the smartphone market, with observers telling ChannelNews that they believe that by introducing a PC into the Samsung family of communication products that consumers who trust Samsung products would “actually buy a Samsung notebook”.

McGregor said “We were not ready to come back into the PC. Where we are selling PC’s is generally where we are manufacturing them”.

He admits that “Having PCs in the market does create an extension of the Samsung family of products similar to our watches and tablets”.

He also acknowledges that people who have purchased a Samsung notebook in the past in Australia that “People love them”.

McGregor claimed that “According to IDC we still have 3% market share in and yet we have not sold one for at least seven years” he said.

When it was pointed out that archrival Motorola, a key competitor in the Android phone now has a Think Phone that easily communicates with a Think Pad notebook owned by parent Company Lenovo he said, “Yes we noticed that”.

McGregor admitted that 50% of Samsung watch sales come a few weeks after a consumer has purchased a new Samsung smartphone.

When asked whether this could work with notebooks he said “yes”.

He admitted that if and when Samsung does come back into the notebook market it will be in the premium market.

He also acknowledged that a big driver today is connectivity between products from the same Company “particularly with business” he said.

“Having a family of products is absolutely critical today” he said.

According to analysts and retailers that ChannelNews has spoken to there is a “major” opportunity for Samsung.

Footnote: Recently we signed an NDA with Samsung in what we thought related to the launch of their new premium foldable smartphones, tablets and watches. When we approached them to publish this story before the launch last night Samsung PR management claimed, “No you cannot publish because you obtain the information during an interview about the new smartphones”.

It appears that notebooks and the release of Samsung notebooks is a sensitive issue.

The division responsible for notebooks is managed in Australia by Vice President of Consumer Jeremy Senior.

At one stage during the interview, we were asked by Samsung management whether JB Hi Fi had put us up to ask questions about Samsung notebooks.

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