Samsung Employs “Dirty Tricks” against HTC

by Matt Klassen on April 19, 2013

As if Samsung would ever have anything to worry about from fellow Android partner HTC, but that apparently hasn’t stopped the Korean tech giant from employing some dirty underhanded schemes to besmirch HTC’s good name.

According to an AFP story out of Taipei earlier this week, Taiwanese authorities have launched an investigation into the allegations that Samsung has employed an army of students to essentially post slanderous attack ads against HTC in online articles and comments, sullying the Taiwanese company while lauding Samsung products.

While Samsung has yet to officially respond to the charges, the company did issue a statement on its Taiwan Facebook page, stating that the company regretted “any inconvenience and confusion from the Internet event,” going on to say, “Samsung Taiwan has halted all Internet marketing such as posting articles on websites,” tacit admission, at least, that there was some organized plan behind these malicious articles, enough evidence perhaps that Samsung is, in some way, guilty of libel and false advertising.

Perhaps a case of wanting to keep a fallen opponent on the mat or perhaps a case of insecure desperation wrought from market dominance, Samsung’s actions, if true, are certainly confusing. According to the accusations, Samsung worked through a local agent to contract students to write articles and comments and post them online, spreading rumours about the deficiency of HTC products while promoting Samsung smartphones as the alternative.

It never ceases to surprise me when I hear of companies or people, who seemingly have everything, yet continue to insist on belittling, besmirching, and attacking those around them. While clearly an issue of confidence (or lack thereof), it always seems that these companies or people should be the last ones to employ such underhanded tactics. But perhaps that’s what life at the top gets you, an endless stream of paranoia that someone, somewhere is going to topple you from your lofty perch.

If that is indeed how Samsung feels, the Korean company now credited with selling one out of every three smartphones purchased in the world, perhaps one might understand why the company would resort to an attack campaign against its closest competitors…but HTC is anything but a ‘close’ competitor. In fact, according to findings from the research firm IDC, while Samsung has over a 30 percent share of the global smartphone market, HTC has but a mere 4.6 percent.

While every partner save Samsung in Google’s Android ecosystem has yet to truly become a dominant force in the mobile market, HTC has had a particularly tough run of things, its initial surge of success in the global smartphone market quickly replaced by widespread consumer ambivalence. In fact, its phones now often serve as the de facto budget option in the mobile market, and save Facebook’s confusing confidence in the Taiwanese company, the company has little going for it, which in my mind begs the question, why attack this company? Why attack any company for that matter? If true, Samsung’s actions strike me more as those of an insecure start-up, not a “titan” of the mobile world.

In the end, if Samsung is found guilty of false advertising it could face a fine of Tw$25 million ($835,000 USD), and while that is only pocket change for the Korean company, the revelation of Samsung’s ‘dirty tricks’ would go considerably farther in my mind to sully the name of a company I have believed in for several years now, and should enough people feel that way, it will be far more damaging than any fine.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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