Latest Samsung phones degrade Microsoft Office

Samsung phones have a hidden service which is slowing down Microsoft Office apps including the mobile apps for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and the Office ‘all in one’ app.

Inside some of the new S22 Galaxy smartphones is a Games Optimization Service, or GOS.  Cynical techies know to be wary about anything labelled ‘Optimization’ because it’s a euphemism for something bad.  And that’s what Samsung is doing.

The GOS throttles or downgrades the performance of selected apps.  Not just games but a long list of apps including Microsoft Office apps.

Source: @GaryeonHan on Twitter

All the Microsoft Office mobile apps (Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint) are on Samsung’s throttling list, including the Office ‘all in one’ app ( Apps for OneNote, Teams and Lens aren’t on the list that’s been leaked so far but could also be throttled.

There are around 10,000 apps on the affected list including Netflix, Snapchat and Spotify.  Also, surprisingly, Samsung’s own apps.

Apps not on the GOS throttle list are Geekbench or 3DMark, two important benchmarking apps used to rate and compare smartphones. Those same cynical techies note that an S22 sent to a reviewer didn’t have the ‘Optimization’ app.

Does it matter?

According to analysis by YouTuber Square Dream, Samsung’s ‘Optimization’ can cut an apps performance score in half!

Source: YouTube Square Dream

Similar downgrading is present on other Samsung devices but not to the extent that the S22 models appear to do.

No word yet from Samsung about this.  Most likely, they’ll argue the ‘optimization’ is done to improve battery life or prevent overheating.  UPDATE: Samsung has now posted a message, confirming our prediction.

The GOS of the Samsung Galaxy S22 series is preloaded with our app that optimizes CPU and GPU performance to prevent excessive heat during long gameplay.
In order to meet the needs (sic), the Game Booster lab in the Game Launcher app will soon implement a software update that provides a performance priority option.

– Samsung official statement on Members app (machine translated) Source: GSMArena

That statement continues the fiction that the GOS is for games only when it’s clearly affecting many more non-gaming apps. Even if GOS becomes an option, few users of Office, Netflix etc would realise that the ‘Game Launcher’ app includes a setting that would improve the performance of non-game apps.

Customers should have the clear choice. Samsung devices have power modes that the user can select plus ‘Adaptive power saving’.  The GOS should be a choice in some of the power saving modes, not globally applied to thousands of apps.

WWMD? What will Microsoft Do?

Microsoft has a close relationship with Samsung. Will they use that connection to fix this?

Ideally, Microsoft will pressure Samsung to remove all Microsoft apps from the downgrade list or make the ‘optimization’ an option.

Or will Microsoft choose to do nothing?  Making the choice that their corporate links with Samsung are more important than getting the best for their paying customers?

Tip of the Hat to Tom’s Hardware

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