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Key executive behind Samsung Pay and Bixby joins Google

15 February 2018

Prior to joining Google, Rhee was an executive in Samsung for nearly six years. Rhee will report to Diane Greene, CEO of Google Cloud and a board member of Google's parent company, Alphabet.

Rhee said he aims to harmonize Alphabet's various projects related to the Internet of Things, or IoT, a term that encompasses any device that accesses data online.

Speaking in an interview with Maeil Business Newspaper, Rhee told reporters he would be working to connect a variety of existing Google IoT assets, including Google Cloud, the connected auto platform and Google Home and Nest. In fact, his LinkedIn profile says he still works there - though Business Korea reports he left the role in December 2017.

While Samsung is still the leader in the smartphone global rankings, it hasn't been able to emulate Apple is collecting the profits.

Bixby, Samsung's own digital assistant, is a good example of how the Koreans want to be more involved in the consumers lives, but acquisitions such as cloud provider Joyent (which Rhee was responsible for) could be viewed as a strategy to be more than a simply a smartphone brand. "More people use Bixby", he said. Eventually, he was made the head of Samsung's R&D team 1, which worked on software and services.

Samsung Electronics has promoted 221 senior executives, the most since 2013, with 99 of them from the highly profitable semiconductor business.

This project manages exporting software and hardware to other companies.

Rhee will likely play a key role in the initiative as entrepreneur-in-residence.

As for how that relates to Bixby, Berne is pointing out that the stuff Rhee gets behind doesn't fail and often becomes cornerstones of Samsung's portfolio because the guy just "would not quit" on anything until it succeeded.

Key executive behind Samsung Pay and Bixby joins Google