Samsung Electronics is investing in a field dominated by Amazon.com (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report , Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation (MSFT) Report and Alphabet's (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report Google, with the purchase of cloud services provider Joyent Inc.
The purchase may actually be a move to lessen its reliance on services from Amazon and to gain ground against rival Apple (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report , Andrew Reichman of 451 Research suggests.
"Samsung is a huge consumer of cloud," Reichman said, noting that the Seoul electronics group was an early customer of Amazon. "Rather than pay Amazon margins, they think their usage can grow big enough to warrant owning their own."
The benefits could extend beyond reducing its cloud services bill.
Samsung said that the purchase would strengthen its mobile, Internet of things and cloud software and services offerings.
"Internet of things means devices creating data outside of a data center," Reichman said. "Whatever happens with Iot is going to happen in the cloud because its happening outside the data center."
The flow of data between networked devices and all of the uses that it can be put toward presents a growing opportunity.
"They see their future being defined not by manufacturing the devices but by connecting the devices and analyzing their usage and providing content for them," Reichman.
As this new opportunity develops, Samsung could see an opportunity to gain ground on an arch-rival in mobile devices.
"I see this as Samsung trying to leapfrog Apple," Reichman said.
For all of Apples success, he noted, a criticism could be that the company is too focused on devices.
CEO Scott Hammond said that Joyent would become an independent subsidiary of Samsung.
Samsung is one of the world's largest providers of consumer electronics, semiconductors, mobile phones and appliances. Hammond wrote that Joyent's new partner brings a critical component to the cloud company. "We lacked the scale required to compete effectively in the large, rapidly growing and fiercely competitive cloud computing market," he wrote. "Now, that changes."
Amazon.com's Amazon Web Services is the top provider of public cloud services, in which companies buy storage capacity from remote servers, and has shaken up the computing industry. Microsoft's Azure and Google's cloud service are the other larger players.
Joyent CTO Bryan Cantrill noted the rapid disruption in the industry, in a blog post.
"A decade ago, one probably wouldn't have guessed that the leaders in computing--which at the time included the survivors from the mainframe, minicomputer, workstation and personal computer revolutions--would become a search engine and an online bookstore," Cantrill wrote.
Both companies have been around the block.
Cantrill explained that during Joyent's history "many (all?) computing infrastructure companies have come calling at one time or another, with varying degrees of seriousness and aspiration," in his post. Deal talks with mature, legacy tech groups often fizzled as suitors exhibited "a palpable sense of fear--as if their worst nightmare was that our technology would thrive under their aegis and pose a mortal threat to their existing (and more comfortable) lines of business."
Likewise Samsung's Chief Technology Officer for its Mobile Communications unit, Injong Rhee, noted in a press release that the company "evaluated a wide range of potential companies in the public and private cloud infrastructure space with a focus on leading-edge scalable technology and talent."