Samsung Announces Permanent Stop to Production of Galaxy Note 7

I can’t remember anything like this happening before with a major manufacturer stopping production of an electronic device due to safety reasons:

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Samsung has permanently halted production and sales of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone after failing to correct a problem that was causing the devices to burst into flames.

The loss of one of its flagship smartphones is a major embarrassment for Samsung , which was forced to recall 2.5 million Note 7s shortly after the device went on sale in August.

The South Korean firm attempted to fix the problem by switching battery suppliers and updating the smartphone’s software. Company executives issued a slew of apologies.

But when replacement phones were issued, a number of customers reported that those devices also caught fire, including one aboard a passenger jet.

Samsung on Monday advised all customers to stop using the phones, sending its shares tumbling by 8% in Seoul. The world’s biggest smartphone maker said Tuesday it was killing off the phone entirely.  [CNN]

You can read more at the link.

Apple Wins Appeal Decision; Samsung Ordered to Pay $120 Million for Copyright Infringement

Here is the latest on the Apple versus Samsung copyright battle:

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Overturning an earlier decision, a U.S. appeals court on Friday reinstated a lower-court verdict that Samsung Electronics pay Apple US$120 million for violating three iPhone patents.

In February, a three-member panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington ruled that Samsung did not infringe upon the patents on “quick links,” “slide-to-unlock” and “auto-correct” technologies, and therefore does not need to pay $120 million ordered by a lower court.

Apple appealed that decision, arguing that the panel relied on extra-record evidence “none of which, it said, was of record and that the panel appears to have located only through independent research,” according to court records.

On Friday, a full panel of judges at the same court accepted Apple’s appeal in a 8-3 decision.  [Yonhap]

You can read the rest at the link, but for Apple the $120 million is probably enough to pay their lawyer fees considering how long this fight has been going on.

Samsung Announces Largest Ever Smartphone Recall of Galaxy Note7

This is a big, black eye for Samsung, but at least they are doing the right thing and replacing the defective smartphones:

Image via Phone Arena.

Image via Phone Arena.

Samsung Electronics suspended sales of the Galaxy Note7 and promised to replace sold phablets with new ones at the request of customers, which could lead to the largest ever recall in the smartphone industry.

The decision came nine days after the first Galaxy Note7 melted spontaneously due to a defect in its lithium-ion battery. More instances were reported in the following days.

“We apologize for the concerns inflicted on customers due to the inconvenience caused by the burning incidents not long after the new product was released,” said Koh Dong-jin, Samsung Electronics’ mobile business president on Friday.

“As of Sept. 1, 35 cases have been reported to [Samsung] service centers in Korea and abroad. This is 24 defective units out of 1 million units. In our analysis of the cause, we have found that the problem was in the battery cell.”

The free exchanges of new Galaxy Note7s are expected to start on Sept. 19.   [Joong Ang Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

Samsung Agrees to Pay Apple $548 Million for Patent Violation

Here is the latest in the never ending Samsung versus Apple patent infringement case.  This likely won’t be the last you hear of the as Samsung plans to further appeal the payout amount:

Samsung Electronics Co. agreed to pay Apple Inc. the $548 million a court ordered but that doesn’t mean they’ve come to a final resolution of their long-running patent battle over smartphones.

Samsung said in a court filing Thursday that it’s only paying the money because an appeals court refused to block a judgment ordering it to pay.

The South Korean device maker said it will pursue reimbursement for at least some of the money if the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office invalidates the patents and if the U.S. Supreme Court takes up its request for review.
It’s been almost five years since Apple first accused Samsung of “slavishly” copying the iPhone, setting off a global patent battle that has shrunk in size but not in vitriol. The two tech behemoths have dropped all non-U.S. cases, leaving two main disputes that still have a way to go in court.  [Korea Herald]

You can read the rest at the link.

Former President Bush to Make Last Flight In Samsung’s Corporate Jet

It must be nice being an ex-President and traveling in style:

Former U.S. President George W. Bush will be the last passenger of a private jet the Samsung Group plans to sell off to Korean Air later this month.

Samsung bought the jet for its chairman Lee Kun-hee, but he has been in a coma since last May.

Industry sources on Wednesday said Bush will use the jet when he visits Korea next Tuesday for the opening of the 2015 Presidents Cup golf tournament.

The tournament, which pits U.S. and other international male pro golfers against each other, opens in Incheon on Oct. 8.  [Chosun Ilbo]

You can read more at the link.

South Korean Media Fans Flames of Anti-Semitism

Considering that South Korea is home to Hitler Bars it should be no surprise that anti-Semitism is so open in the media:

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U.S. hedge fund Elliott Management’s bid to block the merger of two affiliates of business giant Samsung was always going to generate plenty of contentious media coverage in South Korea. Samsung Group, after all, accounts for roughly 20 percent of the country’s economy; any shakeup in its organization, or foreign move to prevent it, would be a big deal.

Less easy to predict may have been the deluge of coverage about the hedge fund’s Jewish connections. Leaning heavily on anti-Semitic tropes that would meet nods of approval on Stormfront, several media outlets honed in on the Jewish background of CEO Paul Singer, who on Friday ultimately lost his bid to convince shareholders to reject the merger.

Speaking to prominent weekly magazine Sisa Journal this week, Park Jae-seon, a former ambassador to Morocco and a current member of the preparation committee for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics, warned of the outsized influence of Jews in global finance.

“The scary thing about Jews is they are grabbing the currency markets and financial investment companies,” he said.

Park, described as the “country’s top expert on Jews,” continued: “Their network is tight knit beyond one’s imagination.”

Mainstream outlets Money Today and YTN joined the fray with similar stereotype-laden reports. But the most egregious offender was Mediapen, which rallied against the supposed Jewish conspiracy to hurt South Korea over the course of several articles.  [The Diplomat via One Free Korea]

You can read the rest at the link, but reading what is written about Jewish business people these anti-semitic types in South Korea make them out to be the equivalent of ISIS by secretly coordinating for world domination with Samsung being one of their targets.

Corporate Merge Paves The Way For Samsung Heir

I did not realize how little of Samsung Electronics that the Lee family actually owned:

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Two key Samsung companies are merging in a step toward ensuring the son of the group’s ailing chairman inherits control of the theme parks to smartphones conglomerate.

Samsung said Tuesday that its defacto holding company Cheil Industries Inc. will acquire Samsung C&T Corp. by offering 0.35 new Cheil shares for every Samsung C&T share.

The move, to be completed by Sept. 1, requires shareholder approval, which is expected. The combined entity will be named Samsung C&T.

Analysts say the transaction will give Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong a big say in the conglomerate including its crown jewel Samsung Electronics Co.

“Samsung Electronics is at the core of this event,” said Park Ju-gun, president at CEOScore, a private corporate watchdog. “If Lee Jae-yong controls C&T, he can secure control over Samsung Electronics.”

The corporate maneuvering reflects that the Lee family’s influence over Samsung Electronics through a life insurance company was at risk as the South Korean parliament is set to pass a law that restricts finance companies from controlling non-finance companies.

Lee, his father Lee Kun-hee and other family members have a small direct stake in Samsung Electronics but have been able to exert influence through cross shareholdings in affiliated companies, the most significant of which was Samsung Life Insurance. Altogether, they control about 29 percent of Samsung Electronics shares, which is the largest voting bloc.

Lee Kun-hee, 73, who remains chairman at Samsung Electronics, has been hospitalized for more than a year after suffering a heart attack in May, 2014. Lee Jae-yong earlier this month took over his father’s roles in two Samsung charitable foundations.

The Lee family will likely take additional steps to enlarge C&T’s stake Samsung Electronics as a lynchpin of the cross shareholdings, said Park. It currently owns 4.1 percent of the electronics giant.  [Associated Press]

You can read more at the link.