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Tuesday, August 23, 2011, 05:00 pm PT (08:00 pm ET)

Samsung considering purchase of HP’s PC business - report [u]

Samsung is reportedly considering outsourcing notebook production to Taiwan-based OEMs, a move which sources attribute to the company’s unofficial interest in purchasing HP’s PC business [updated with Samsung response].

Update: Samsung said Wednesday that it has no intention of buying HP's PC business, as noted by MarketWatch.

DigiTimes reports that Samsung contacted Quanta Computer, Compal Electronics and Pegatron Technology in August to “evaluate the possibility of outsourcing notebook orders.” The South Korean company, which usually works with China-based notebook makers, is said to consider ordering a “small volume” of notebooks from these Taiwan-based companies in the future.

The same sources suggest that Samsung may make a move for HP’s PC business, although, considering the publication's hit and miss record, such rumors can not be verified at this point.

HP recently announced plans to cancel webOS hardware development as well as an interest in spinning off its PC business in order to focus on software instead. If Samsung were to take over HP’s PC business it would need to rely on Taiwan-based companies to build “HP’s 40 million units of PC orders in 2011.” Also important is the fact that PC orders from HP are "already set" for 2012 at least for Quanta.

Of those 40 million PCs, Quanta is said to be responsible for 20 million units with Foxconn Electronics, Inventec, Wistron and Compal expected to build eight million, seven million, 3-4 million and two million units, respectively. Samsung would also manufacture 10 million PC units of its own, which would bring the total number of shipped units close to 50-60 million per year, a number out of Samsung's reach. The company would therefore have to rely on OEM partners to meet that PC quota, Quanta reportedly believes.

According to a DisplaySearch report, Apple surpassed HP in the second quarter of 2011 to become the number one mobile PC vendor in the world. Apple shipped 13.6 million personal computers and iPads in Q2 compared to HP’s 9.7 million units sold during the same period. Samsung was not included in this list of top five mobile PC vendors compiled by DisplaySearch, which saw Dell, Acer and Lenovo occupy the third, fourth and fifth positions, behind Apple and HP.

Samsung, a long-time supplier for Apple, is becoming an important rival for the Cupertino-based company in the mobile business, thanks to its popular Android smartphone and tablet lines. Also worth mentioning are some of its current notebooks, specifically the Samsung Series 9 line, considered to be a Windows-based alternative to Apple’s MacBook Air models.

Apple is seeking to block Samsung in various patent infringement legal disputes in the USA and in other international markets, as a direct result of the growing rivalry between iOS devices, such as the iPhone and the iPad and their Android counterparts made by the South Korean company, namely Galaxy S smartphones and Galaxy Tab tablets.