Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Foxconn's chairman claims iPhone 5 will 'put Samsung's Galaxy S III to shame'

Mention Foxconn and many immediately think of Apple. Terry Gou, chairman of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., trading as Foxconn, flat out told the China Times that end users should wait for the iPhone 5. Gou said that the iPhone 5 would "put Samsung's Galaxy III to shame."

That's saying a lot, but then Apple - if not its largest manufacturing partner, Foxconn - has always pushed up the bar when it releases a new iPhone.

The statements hit the media just as Samsung's Galaxy S III was set to make its American debut. The new device will launch on Sprint and T-Mobile's networks on Thursday, although in somewhat limited supply at both carriers.

Meanwhile, the nation's No. 1 and No. 2 wireless carriers, AT&T and Verizon, won't launch their versions until later, although both are currently taking pre-orders.

There's no love lost between Gou and Samsung. He said he has made it his lifelong goal to defeat Samsung, “a company with a track record of snitching on its competitors.” That was a reference to a European Union price-fixing investigation of the flat panel industry in 2010, on in which Samsung "tattled" on four Taiwanese rivals. Samsung was exempt from the investigation, serving as a "tainted witness."

He also added the following: “I respect the Japanese and especially like their execution and communication styles. Unlike the Koreans, they will not hit you from behind.”

Although thought of primarily as a manufacturer for others, Hon Hai has been moving in other directions, as well. In late March the company announced it had acquired a roughly 10 percent stake in Sharp for $800 million. That made it Sharp's largest single shareholder.

Sharp and Samsung are rivals in the flat panel and television business, just as Apple and Samsung are rivals in the cell phone business.

As part of its new association with Sharp, an assembly line of TV sets will emerge at Hon Hai's headquarters in New Taipei, Gou said. Market sources have suggested those TV sets will actually be the long-rumored Apple TV.

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