The digital assistant launched by Samsung earlier this year is feeling a little sad. Its head of development has decided to leave the company after creating an artificial intelligence platform from scratch and releasing it on phones, tablets, and smartwatches. Injong Rhee, who’s been with Samsung in various roles since 2011, resigned with his exit effective immediately.
Bixby wasn’t the only thing he helped create for the South Korean company. Rhee also helped bring Knock and Samsung Pay to the market. Both are now well-regarded in the mobile industry.
While the departure may seem sudden, Rhee informed Samsung over the summer that he didn’t plan on staying much longer. His daughter was recently sent to Iraq as a member of the United States Army. By continuing to work nonstop on Bixby and other software products at Samsung, he felt selfish. Rhee’s only solution was to leave Samsung and focus full-time on his role as a father. He’s certainly leaving Bixby, Knox, and Samsung Pay in excellent positions, though.
Taking over Bixby will be Roh Tae-Moon, the executive leading research and development for hardware at Samsung. It’s unclear if Samsung will seek a permanent replacement to work exclusively on software or if one head for two teams is the long-term plan.
As 2018 approaches, big things are ahead for Samsung. The Galaxy S9 should launch in late February, and with it will come the next version of Bixby. Samsung also plans on bringing its digital assistant to more devices, including smart speakers and those not made in-house. So it’s a very important year on the horizon. Its leadership needs to make sure everything is on track for successful releases throughout the year.