Samsung’s epic splurge on R&D appears to have paid off

The explosion in Samsung's R&D budget over the past decade has impacted its innovative edge, albeit at an extreme cost.

More innovation with more effective R&D spending: that appears to be the message in this year’s Strategy&'s R&D report. In case you haven't heard of them; Strategy& is a consulting arm of professional services firm, PwC. 

It’s possible to interpret the theme as an indirect dig at Samsung; its R&D spend has more than tripled in the past decade. But looking at the history of Samsung’s ramp-up in R&D spending reveals that increased funding can make a dent in the long term. According to the study, it’s still not as innovative as R&D-savvy Apple. But the increase in R&D funding has improved its ranking over the past five years. 

Here is Strategy&'s innovation ranking for 2010.

Now, here’s the major tech giant’s annual spend on R&D over the past decade. Note how Samsung increased its spend over the entire period, while Microsoft’s spend slowed after 2010. 

And here’s Samsung’s ranking today. It’s an improvement from its 2014 result,  albeit a costly one given that it more than doubled its R&D funding since 2010. 

For argument’s sake, it’s also worth noting that Samsung spend may be inflated by the fact that it’s product range straddles everything from whitegoods through to wearables. 

This post was originally published on The Ticker

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