Samsung (News - Alert) said Tuesday it will join closely held OpenX Technologies Inc. to enable advertisers to bid through an exchange for available space on applications running on its devices. Samsung becoming an ad network is very significant.
Samsung AdHub Market will enable advertisers to place targeted messages on Samsung phones and tablets, beginning in the second half of 2012. Observers will argue about what it means. Obviously, the move represents new competition, but "competitors" could be many.
Some will say the effort most directly challenges Google and Apple (News
) advertising efforts. But Samsung AdHub Market also challenges all third party mobile ad networks.
At some point, one has to wonder whether Samsung's move will be another instance of competition within the mobile ecosystem as well. On one level, Samsung will face Apple and Google (News
) as rival handset manufacturers. On another level, Samsung will compete with mobile ad networks that operate elsewhere in the mobile environment.
Someday, at least to some extent, Samsung might find itself competing with mobile service providers following suit in the mobile advertising business. In the past, such competition has almost always been avoided, as a wise handset supplier does not seek or promote channel conflict with its service provider partners.
As with all else in the communications business, though, channel conflict cannot often be avoided. Comcast (News
) is both a content distributor and an owner of some specific programming networks. Google supplies both an open source mobile operating system and builds and sells mobile devices. Apple both sells devices and profits from content distribution and advertising.
Samsung’s move is one more illustration of growing conflict within the mobile ecosystem, not just between contestants in one role, but between partners who assume new roles as well.
Edited by Braden Becker