While you were sleeping, Samsung threw a party. The company announced that its operating profit for the third quarter will be up 80% from a year earlier, to $6.29 billion, soaring past analysts’ estimates. The surge reflects improvement in its components business, rather than mobile phone sales. Favorable currency trends also played a role. The company’s stock jumped 9% in response.
Though it is the world’s largest tech company (number 13 on the Fortune Global 500), Samsung plays the Rodney Dangerfield role in this country, where the tech obsessed are dazed by the bright lights of the Apple store and wait breathlessly for Aaron Sorkin’s Steve Jobs biopic. Samsung has a reputation as a “fast follower” rather than an innovator, and is struggling to overcome that, as my colleague Adam Lashinsky chronicles in this recent story.
But give the company some credit for an innovation it brought to the U.S. just last week – Samsung Pay. Unlike other mobile payments systems, Samsung Pay uses “magnetic secure transmission” in which your payment information is transmitted from your cell phone via magnet. The beauty of the technology is that it works with most existing credit card readers. You just touch your phone against the place you normally swipe your card.
I saw this technology in action in Seoul last month, where it still leaves unaccustomed check-out clerks in stunned amazement. It’s a small step forward. But any company that simplifies life by making disparate technologies work better together has cred with me.
Enjoy the day. I’m off to San Francisco to celebrate this year’s class of 40 Under 40. You can meet them here.
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