For the longest time in the mobile industry it seemed that Apple was the one that people chose as the bad guy – you knew other companies were playing games too, but Apple was a prime target because, well, they just made it easy. Rounded corners? Patent lawsuit. The page turn? Patent lawsuit. Don’t even think about looking at them funny because you can expect a patent lawsuit with your name on it shortly after. Alright, that’s exaggerating – but we all know Apple hit people with lawsuits in the past for pretty miniscule things. It all seems strange given that once Steve Jobs himself claimed that those working for Apple resembled artists, in a way, and therefore embraced the lifestyle of stealing ideas – as long as nobody was stealing the ideas back from them.
Thanks for the idea, stupid. Now pay up because that's our idea now.
However, while I could make endless jokes about Apple and their patently ways another story has been brought up in recent news that has me raising an eyebrow at a company other than Apple – a company that is currently sitting on very high market shares and profits and really has no reason to be playing shenanigans when it comes to business practices: Samsung.
A news article from BBC News recently brings to light that Samsung is under investigation in Taiwan for hiring students to post fake web reviews defaming the highly acclaimed HTC One. This stems from documentation appearing on a local website. The document allegedly came from Samsung looking to hire students to bad-mouth HTC and sing praises to Samsung over fake Internet reviews.
This stunt doesn’t seem to be happening on the grander scale of things and probably won’t amount to anything more than a slap on the wrist for Samsung. It seems to me like it was one section of the company and would have gone unnoticed otherwise if it weren’t for those meddling media kids. However, on the other hand, it’s kind of like when you’re dealing with one aggressive retail representative from a company – even though it’s just one person who isn’t acting on the company as a whole, they are putting on a face in the name of the company and that is ultimately what we base our experiences on. This whole falsifying claims on a phone for the sake of business is a pretty low hit in my books, especially when it’s on a device like the HTC One.
Plus, if Samsung’s devices were that much better than the HTC One then the reviews would pay for themselves. Somebody is lacking in the confidence department.
Think about it: The HTC One probably got its name by being the ONE good product that they’re coming out with this year, and Samsung just has to go and stomp all over it. Granted, it’s a pretty sick device. The unibody aluminum design has people raving left and right over the premium look HTC incorporated, and Sense 5 isn’t too shabby compared to predecessors – if ever there was a time to get an HTC device, now would be that time. It looks good and has great features. But Samsung is seeing this one good device from HTC as a threat compared to about three different good devices coming from Samsung. The One is a good device and all, but would it really hold up against Samsung’s ability to market and live off the legacy of prior successful devices? Probably not. Probably the biggest reason it's doing so well right now is because Samsung hasn't released any competition this year just yet.
While the court hearing has yet to occur, it seems that the South Korean company has already taken responsibility for the defamation by saying that the “unfortunate incident” went against certain policies within the company.
The article says that if found guilty in court, Samsung could face up to 25 million Taiwanese dollars. If you're like me you’re probably thinking “Woah!” but then you realize it only equals to about $791,000 US dollars and suddenly it’s just like oh, that’s it? Well… that’s nothing but a slap on the wrist for a company like Samsung – which it is, monetarily speaking, but otherwise this does make the company look pretty bad considering their position in the mobile market compared to HTC’s.
All I have to say is, let this poor company that’s having a hard time getting back on its feet enjoy it’s 15 minutes of fame, you bullies.
Samsung has said that they are planning a training session for employees to ensure that this type of incident doesn’t occur again, and hopes to go back to their original philosophy embracing transparency and honesty.
Readers, how do you feel about this foul play from Samsung? Does this type of behavior make you rethink getting a phone from a company or is it something that isn’t really a big deal? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!