Samsung Electronics chairman Lee Kun-hee has asked the firm's top management to seek measures including acquisitions to enhance its software prowess, local media reports said on Wednesday.

His remarks come as Samsung is embroiled in an intensifying patent battle with Apple, and after Google unveiled a $12.5 billion deal on Monday to buy Motorola Mobility Holdings, threatening its ties with the Android mobile software platform maker.

Chairman Lee told top managers to come up with various measures including M&As to enhance software competitiveness, Kim Soon-taek, head of the Samsung Group office, told local reporters.

Lee made similar remarks in late July, urging managers to boost its software prowess, patent pools and talent at the firm's annual event comparing Samsung's vast product portfolios ranging from televisions, handsets and computers against those of its rivals.

At the time, Lee stopped short of mentioning mergers and acquisitions.

Samsung said on Wednesday it could not confirm Lee's comments.

Samsung is the most credible challenger to Apple in the booming smartphone and tablet market and Apple is moving aggressively to defend its dominance in those markets it virtually created.

Samsung became the world's No.2 smartphone maker after Apple in the second quarter and the biggest Android phone vendor.

Analysts say that the South Korean firm faces the challenge of moving beyond being a hardware company, clever at copying ideas, to become more creative, better adept at software, at a time when consumer gadgets are getting smarter all the time.

(Reporting by Miyoung Kim; Editing by David Chance)