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Samsung is buying companies to fill in gaps in its platform

Not so long ago Samsung purchased the AI company Viv Labs, which was the original creator of Apple’s Siri personal assistant. Look for that tech to form the basis of the personal assistant in Samsung devices soon. Today we hear that Samsung will pay $8 billion for the U.S. car tech company Harmon, which could serve as Samsung’s ticket into the connected car space. 

Harmon is best known for its Harmon Kardon car speakers brand, but the company has moved into other areas of automotive, like Wi-Fi tech and navigation systems. Samsung might use Harmon’s tech and people to build an operating system for connected, driverless cars. 

The larger picture here is Samsung’s willingness in recent years to fill in blank spots in its platform via acquisitions. The company bought into the connected home space with its SmartThings acquisition in 2014, into mobile payments with its LoopPay buy 2015, and into cloud computing with its Joyent buy this year. Look for Samsung to snag a startup making freestanding home assistants à la Echo next.MS