Samsung to shake up its business operations

Samsung Electronics is going to overhaul its corporate structure and break it into two divisions. One division will be focused on consumer products such as cell phones and televisions and the other on components such as memory chips.

The consumer products division will be headed by Choi Gee-sung, who has been president of Samsung's handset division since 2007. Since then, Samsung has passed Motorola as the second-largest handset maker in terms of units sold. In addition, in the third quarter of 2008 Samsung passed Motorola as the top handset maker in the United States, according to the research firm Strategy Analytics. 

The move comes at an uncertain time for Samsung. The handset maker plans on introducing phones based on Google's Android platform in 2009, indicating an aggressive approach in the smartphone market. However, it is uncertain how Samsung has fared during the economic downturn when other handset makers, from Motorola to Sony Ericsson, have been struggling. Samsung will report its full fourth quarter results Jan. 23.

In a separate move, Samsung said it would pay $400 million to the patent-holding company InterDigital to settle a long-running patent infringement dispute. InterDigital developed its wireless technology in the 1980s and contends that its patents cover many basic elements of wireless technology.

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