Verizon CEO: Samsung may be 'dark horse' with own mobile OS

Verizon's Lowell McAdam believes Samsung has the capability to create a successful third mobile operating system.

Lowell McAdam at the Verizon iPhone launch in 2011. Sarah Tew/CNET

Samsung Electronics could be a major player if it launched its own mobile operating system in a big way, according to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam.

"There's a potential elephant in the room with Samsung," McAdam said at an investor conference today.

While Google Android and Apple's iOS continue to dominate the market, the carriers are anxious for a third alternative. A number of companies and platforms are competing to be that strong No. 3.

Samsung is a massive conglomerate with the resources to pull off a strong third mobile platform, McAdam said. The company is already the largest handset and smartphone manufacturer in the world, and has a brand and clout that rivals Apple.

Samsung already has its own operating system, Bada, which it puts in phones in select parts of the world. Its own executives have admitted that it needs to get away from its dependence on another company's operating system.

Samsung could do well putting its resources behind an operating system, McAdam said, calling the company a potential "dark horse" in the wireless industry. He didn't specify whether he was referring to Bada or a brand new OS. He added that the recent defeat in the courtroom could spur Samsung to more seriously eye a strong independent mobile operating system.

Samsung declined to comment to CNET.

In doing so, Samsung could control the software and hardware, something only Apple and Research in Motion do with dramatically disparate levels of success.

On RIM, McAdam said that he wouldn't count BlackBerry out. A Verizon executive previously told CNET that the carrier would sell BlackBerry 10 devices when they launch.

McAdam also said he liked Microsoft's Windows Phone, and is excited about the products that he plans to launch with them.

"What I like about Microsoft, it's not tied to one piece of hardware," he said.

McAdam touched upon a number of other topics during the discussion. He said the Share Everything family data plans, which received a lot of early criticism, were "well accepted" and that he was pleased with the progress.

He also expressed an openness to talk to Apple about any potential service, and also mentioned Google TV as another option.

"I think we look at everybody," he said. "We're not a closed shop."

Verizon isn't afraid of the growing trend of over-the-top video, or video streamed through the Internet instead of the traditional cable line, which is why the company partnered with DVD rental service Redbox . He also noted that consumers right now prefer the traditional pay-TV model, which Verizon offers through its FiOS service.

"We don't rule anything out," he said. "We're positioning ourselves with Redbox to win either way."

Updated at 9:27 a.m. PT: to include a response from Samsung, which denied comment.

 

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