According to the paper, some of those possible targets have included Unity Technologies, a San Francisco-based gaming platform developer; Green Throttle Games, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based company that makes game controllers and software that connects mobile devices to televisions; Israeli mobile search engine Everything.me; Israeli video-chat app maker Rounds; and location-sharing app Glympse of Seattle, Wash.
It's not clear from the report whether Samsung is still looking at any of the companies aside from Glympse. In the case of that company, the journal said talks are ongoing. Glympse and Samsung have formed partnerships in the past, with Glympse releasing one of the first Galaxy Gear smartwatch apps.
Samsung also looked at game maker Atari, which auctioned off some of its assets earlier this year as part of a bankruptcy filing, the journal reported. And it approached navigation app maker Waze about a large investment and partnership. Google ultimately bought Waze for $1.1 billion in July.
The Wall Street Journal cited a mergers and acquisitions presentation prepared in February by Samsung's Media Solution Center (MSC) as the source for its report. MSC is the Samsung business that focuses on software and other similar initiatives to help the company expand beyond its hardware roots.
Samsung declined to comment. We've contacted the possible targets listed and will update the report when we have more information.
Samsung has long been one of the strongest hardware makers in the electronics industry, but it has struggled with software. It's vital for Samsung to hone its capabilities to differentiate its devices from others on the market, particularly as more companies turn to Android. In addition, more value likely will come from software and services in the future as smartphones and other products become commoditized.
MSC and Samsung's newly created Open Innovation Center (OIC) are two ways the company is trying to build its software capabilities. In the case of OIC, Samsung will partner with startups, as well as make investments in them and drive acquisitions. OIC drove the company's recent purchase of New York cloud DVR startup Boxee, and it also opened accelerators in Silicon Valley and Manhattan.
"We know the future is not just about hardware," David Eun, head of Samsung's OIC, said at an event this past month to launch the company's New York accelerator. "It's about the thoughtful integration of hardware and software."