Samsung Exec: Samsung’s Not Doing Very Well with Tablets

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It’s been almost two years since the first iPad shipped, and no manufacturer has emerged as Apple’s primary archrival in the tablet business. But Samsung has been trying harder than anyone else, with scads of models that take on the iPad directly, indirectly, and, basically, every which way. It’s probably the preeminent tablet manufacturer among manufacturers that don’t happen to be Apple.

But according to Cnet’s Roger Cheng, who attended a media event at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Samsung executive Hankil Yoon says that the company is “not doing very well in the tablet market.”

Now, with the possible exception of Amazon and–even more tentatively–Barnes & Noble, nobody except Apple is shipping a tablet that’s obviously a hit. And if Yoon qualified his disappoint in terms of Samsung’s goals and actual results, Cheng doesn’t say. Given how much energy the Korean electronics giant has put into tablets, it’s clear that it started out thinking that they could be an enormous business.

So we don’t know if “not doing very well” simply means that Samsung thought it could sell tablets in iPad-like numbers and hasn’t yet achieved that goal, or whether the situation is more dire than that. (My guess is that some companies that dived into the tablet market in the wake of the iPad will eventually dive out again, as HP did so swiftly–but I wouldn’t bet on Samsung being one of them.)

The last time that Samsung startled people by saying that its Galaxy tablets weren’t doing so well, it later claimed that it was all a misunderstanding. I wouldn’t be surprised if it backpedals on Yoon’s admission in similar fashion. If so, it might be a sign that he simply committed a Kinsley Gaffe, by accidentally telling the truth.