As Apple AAPL debates its automotive strategy, Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) moved quickly into the fast lane of in-car technologies with its $8 billion play for Harman International Industries (HAR) , a move that not only boosts to its top line but also provides greater access to the world's largest automakers including Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) and Ford (F) .
Samsung's $8 billion bid for Harman follows a string of embarrassments for the Suwon, South Korea-based firm, including the withdrawal of its flammable flagship Galaxy Note 7. But it also comes just less than a month after Apple announced it was significantly scaling back on its automotive project and will no longer try to build its own fully-fledged self-driving car.
This means that rather than taking Tesla (TSLA) and other automakers head on, Apple will now focus on creating an autonomous driving system and partner with the existing car makers.
Apple's car initiative, code-named Project Titan, was launched in 2014 under the instruction of CEO Tim Cook and led to the tech giant hiring over 1,000 engineers from the auto industry. Since then, however, its project leader and former Ford engineer Steve Zadesky has left and so have hundreds of other hardware and software engineers.
Samsung's Monday announcement may ignite another sort of fire -- the fight for speed by Apple, Alphabet (GOOGL) and other rivals participating in the automotive electronics market, which Samsung estimates will expand to $100 billion by 2025. The South Korean maker, which only established its automotive electronics team in December 2015, has certainly been nimble in this respect.
In an analysis of the deal for our premium site Real Money, Jim Cramer wrote: "I wanted Apple to so much get away from being levered to the phone. I guess Samsung's electronics business wanted to do the same. And now it has." (To read Cramer's full take on the acquisition, click here.)
But Samsung's purchase not only steals a march on its Apple rival, it should also lift its top and bottom lines.