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Samsung Executive Insists Its Android Payment System Can Coexist With Google's

Despite overlap, Samsung says the fact its product works with older magnetic stripe readers will give it plenty of opportunity in a big market.

Ina Fried

Samsung’s top strategy executive said Tuesday that there is room for both his company and Google in the mobile payment space despite some clear overlap.

Samsung’s Young Sohn said there is a difference in focus between Samsung Pay and Google’s just-announced Android Pay. Sohn stressed the fact that Android Pay is only for NFC readers, while Samsung’s payment system works also with older magnetic stripe card technology.

That is particularly important globally, Sohn said, where the move to NFC payments will be slower than it is here in the United States. Samsung Pay — and the compatibility with older card readers — stems from the company’s $250 million purchase of LoopPay.

As for the fact that Google and Samsung once again find themselves with similar, competing apps, Sohn said, “We’ll figure something out,” adding that for now customers will have both options.

Samsung has been moving away from offering apps and services that directly compete with Google, a trend that Sohn says will continue, generally speaking.

“Some things others do much better,” Sohn told Re/code, speaking on the sidelines of the Rutberg Future:Mobile conference in San Francisco. “We should think about not doing that. … We have actually rationalized that quite a bit, as you know.”

As for payments, Sohn noted it is a trillion-dollar market with a lot of money to go around.

“The pie is big,” he said during his onstage appearance at the conference, stressing that it is early days for money moving onto mobile devices.

Asked about sales of the company’s flagship Galaxy S6, Sohn was rather vague.

“Obviously the numbers will come out when we report,” Sohn said onstage. “Overall it has been well accepted.”

Reports say it is slightly outselling its predecessor, the Galaxy S5, but not making the gains against the iPhone that the company had been hoping for.

Sohn didn’t have much more to say after he got offstage, pointing to positive reviews and demand for the curved-screen S6 Edge variant.

“I think things are going pretty well,” he said.

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