And then there’s Samsung

If you haven’t read it yet, Kurt Eichenwald’s piece on the Great Samsung—Apple War in Vanity Fair is a MUST READ.

Samsung does not come off very well at all, but to be honest, my impression after reading the story is that the Korean electronics giant should count itself lucky—it could have come off much, much worse.

And that’s all I’m going to say about that because, well, not to put too fine a point on it, but Samsung scares the shit out of me.

Meanwhile, earlier this week, Samsung rather unexpectedly apologized to workers who contracted cancer at the company’s semiconductor factories and their surviving family members (read that Businessweek piece in full). Of course, there’s still negotiating to do before Samsung, like, compensates anyone, but I suppose a start’s a start.

(HT to KB, Colin)

  • bumfromkorea

    DLBarch, showtime! 😀

  • Sumo294

    According to the article any phone that is a smartphone is infringing on Apple. How come Apple is only suing Samsung? Also, Samsung pounced on the phone design after the sales were a hit–something every phone company should have been doing it they were smart. Nokia went from first to the bottom of the barrel in 10 years for failing to do exactly what Samsung did.

  • redwhitedude

    Samsux is the most successful of the bunch and the most high profile.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    이건희’s been taken seriously ill and is only just recovering slowly from the hospital.
    There’s speculation over how to handle the handing-over of the management.

    http://media.daum.net/economic/industry/newsview?newsid=20140517145105977

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    I think LG is quite an underrated 재벌, their products don’t have quite the same brand power as 삼성 especially abroad, but I think this is due to the less aggressive marketing cf. Samsung/Hyundai than actual difference of the quality of the products.

    They are also going through the process of generation change:

    http://www.newsis.com/ar_detail/view.html?ar_id=NISX20140512_0012911317&cID=10401&pID=10400

    Interesting to hear that Samsung actually wanted to target/model themselves after the Wallenbergs. They should start to distance themselves from the companies soon, then.

    http://www.dailian.co.kr/news/view/436993

  • vtwkang

    I thought Eichenwald’s portrayal of Samsung was rather one-dimensional. This isn’t to say that anything in the article is false; I think the portrayal of Samsung’s IP strategy is accurate, and Samsung is certainly a completely ruthless company that has done many other questionable things over the years.

    But I don’t think Samsung’s success in smartphone industry is owed at all to stealing Apple’s IP. If anything, Samsung have been successful in spite of a lack of hardware and software design competence — they are the anti-Apple of the technology industry. The point being is that Samsung has its own competencies, and these deserve at least recognition if not respect.

    Anyway I’ve also heard that Eichenwald’s VF piece is the prelude to a book on the subject — should be an interesting read.

  • cmxc

    That vanity fair piece remind me of some things I saw working at Samsung Electronics about 10 years ago.

    It was 2004, and I was working at the Samsung Electronics Headquarters (called the bongkwan) which at the time was near city hall. I noticed that on certain days, there would be teams of men, wearing shirts and ties, but not suits, numbering about 50, suddenly standing around on the first floor of the Samsung headquarters building. These men were not typical Korean men. They were noticeably in much better physical shape and better built than the average Korean salary men working at Samsung at the time.

    I asked my colleagues why these men were suddenly hanging out on the first floor of the Samsung bongkwan (HQ) on certain days. I was told that they were there because Samsung had been tipped off that the Korean prosecutors might raid the Samsung HQ that day. I was told that these men were not there to necessarily STOP the prosecutors should they come to raid that day, but they were to use as much physical force as necessary to SLOW the prosecutors down before they could take the elevators and come up to key floors. Of course while these men would be slowing down the prosecutors, Samsung would have enough time to destroy documents or computer files containing incriminating evidence. Additionally, key Samsung Electronics executives would have enough time to get to the top floors where helicopters would whisk them out of reach of the prosecutors.

    Additionally, on a regular basis, about biweekly, all bongwan staff were required to stop what they were doing as two beefy security guards would wheel in giant plastic bins floor by floor. All bongwan staff were required to go through their desks and place into those bins any papers, print-outs, or reports that contained any kind of organization chart, or financial data, etc. Any kind of incriminating documents were required to be placed into these bins where they would later be taken to be destroyed. Everyone had to participate and this happened regularly until I left the firm at the end of 2004.

    Of course Samsung Electronics was never raided in 2004. I believe they finally came and arrested Chairman Lee around 2006, well after my time at the company.

    Samsung’s success is built on the complicity of all the employees of the company. As Nassim Nicholas Taleb wrote in his extraordinary book, Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder, “If you see fraud and don’t shout fraud, you are a fraud!”

    How much of Korea is built on fraud? Even after 300 dead kids, Korea won’t give up its system built on fraud.

  • Aja Aja

    The next main battleground between Samsung and Apple will come from patents over the graphene material in which Samsung is way ahead. It will be the race to mass produce the material that will allow production of wearable computers which will dwarf the smartphone market.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-15/samsung-apple-smartphone-battleground-is-single-atom-thick-tech.html

  • brier

    After reading the article though, Samsung’s competencies seem to be a swagger jacker. Sure these deserve recognition but not respect. Imitation, flattery, it all comes together.

    It certainly isn’t a moral tale I would want to teach my son.

  • bigmamat

    As I receive notification of update on my Samsung device… Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

  • A Korean

    “And that’s all I’m going to say about that because, well, not to put too fine a point on it, but Samsung scares the shit out of me.”

    It should if you live in Korea. Smart phone IP lawsuits are just a red herring.

    The fucker got diagnosed with some kind of cancer, I read. And now they say they’ll compensate their injured/dead factory workers.

  • Aja Aja

    Sorry to say this, but Apple is doomed. Graphene material will transform this world with all kinds of products that were unthinkable few years ago. And Samsung is winning with 400+ patents with real results.

    Apple is a design/software company. They rely on other companies like Samsung for hardware. It speaks volumes that Apple still cannot move away from Samsung as Apple’s hardware supplier, when Apple has tried so hard. Apple just can’t do it, try as they may. They need Samsung for unforseeable future. In about five years, Apple will need graphene to continue to make their smart world viable, and they have to get the technology from Samsung. Well maybe Apple will launch another lawsuit against Samsung, for the graphene material (based on Apple drawings that is) in the US, to win in US court with biased US jury, with design and look patents that are deemed invalid in most other countries except for the US.

    This fight is just beginning. Pull up the chair, and watch.

  • Sumo294

    Well the Chinese companies are around the corner and they will soon close the gap in terms of hardware. Apps that dominate the world are hugely profitable these days and I think its always going to be that way–the content not the merchandise is where the real profits always will be. Jobs is dead and you just cannot replace Jobs.

  • redwhitedude

    Samsux better watch out, the chinese could be taking cues from their strategy and you know their IP laws are to put in midly weaker.

  • redwhitedude

    Their fraudulent approach is built from the fact that they had nothing, no patents to begin with but wanted to make some $$$$$. Pretty soon the chinese will be defrauding Samsux and then they’ll realize they have to change and nobody will sympathize. Also it is doubtful that they’ll be able to change.

  • dlbarch

    Yeah, it’s good to be vindicated. But the real irony is that while MH houses its share of Samsux apologists, some of the fiercest critics of Samsux I’ve ever talked to are “real” Koreans who actually know a thing or two about living and trying to do business in a country that is all but dominated by one or two monstrously huge — and thoroughly disreputable — companies.

    But the Samsux story is out there for anyone who bothers to actually do their homework. If one company is so important to Korea that some here feel the need to defend it at all costs, then that says more about the parochial, third world mindset of this ilk than any criticism I might add.

    Fiat lux, brah,
    DLB

  • cmxc

    LOL – Samsung will win???

    Samsung will continue making money, until the Chinese firms pull a Samsung on them and steal all their IP offering it to the world at substantially lower prices. I know for a fact that key HR of Samsung Electronics have already gone to work for Chinese firms like Huawei, Haier, Lenovo, etc.

    Be that as it may, you are missing a key success factor Apple has demonstrated time and time again that Samsung simply lacks as part of its DNA. The extraordinary success of Apple does not derive from pure hardware. Apple excels at creating an ecosystem of content providers and a seamless interface to allow users to easily access such content. The iPod was not the first MP3 player, but it was more successful because it delivered music to users in a simple way, and music companies were willing to make their catalogs available to Apple customers because they knew they would get paid. Apple won the trust of music companies even when everyone else was still desperately fighting music piracy from the free internet downloads. Apple has created an ecosystem for developers to sell apps through the App store. Even now, compared to the Google play store, Apple’s app store still dominates.

    The next version of the Apple iPhone will incorporate health monitoring functionality that will revolutionize the way we relate to data about our bodies. The ability to pull together data providers, university hospitals, health professionals, etc, is something Samsung could only dream of. I know they will try, but the core DNA of Samsung is KOREAN. Koreans have not yet mastered the art of truly finding the win-win with others. For Koreans, there is always a desperate need to somehow take advantage of their business partners, because they are so fearful that their business partners will take advantage of them.

    Google and Apple have much more to gain cooperating with each other and they know that ultimately the real frenemies are firms like Samsung and the Chinese firms.

    However, it will be a cold day in Hell when Samsung is capable of orchestrating an ecosystem anywhere near as capably as Apple has proven itself able to do again and again. Again, where would Samsung’s smartphone sales be without Google’s Android ecosystem?

    Ultimately, the hardware is an afterthought. It matters, but not nearly so much as the rich system of software and developers writing for Apple’s ecosystem and Google’s ecosystem. What developer, other than Korean developers, in their right mind would tie themselves to Samsung given its track record of ruthlessly appropriating anything they want and screwing over their suppliers whenever it suits them?

    Unless the transition to the 3rd generation of Lee family members running the Samsung group is able to implement a massive cultural change, Samsung will always be a follower and never a true innovative leader.

    Koreans and their economic nationalism will always support Samsung, but they just don’t realize how much Samsung has successfully stolen from Korea. Have you noticed that the book “Thinking Samsung” (also mentioned in the Vanity Fair piece) written by the former head of Samsung’s control tower, which gives evidence of all the corruption and bribery done by that man while working for Samsung, has never been translated into English?

  • redwhitedude

    What’s more likely to happen is chinese companies will pull a samsux as well. No love for them either.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    We will also be seeing a lot more of these kinds of complaints against iStuff.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-lawsuit-iphones-dont-deliver-texts-to-android-2014-5

    As a former Apple laptop owner (whose hard disk failed on me at the most crucial stage of my education) and a Samsung product user, as well as Sony and all the other products including Nokia, Eriksson, Toshiba everything I have to admit, I definitely get the worst rash when I see stuff related to Apple and things starting with iSomething.

  • Sumo294

    What does Google gain from Apple or vice versa? I think you are just making statements.

  • Aja Aja

    Right. Apple is an excellent software/design company I agree. But there will come a time when they’ll have to stop making iPhone’s and iPad’s and stick to selling IOS and iTunes stores, once the hardware graphene revolution takes over. Apple has made tons of money, slapping together other company’s technologies, employing more offshore Chinese workers than US workers, and stashed the savings into off shore accounts to evade taxes. So they should have plenty of cash to saved up to purchase any company they want, and buy the patents they need to troll the industry with. They do very little research and development, and developing sleek designs and contents are not going to allow them to come up with graphene technology of their own, without having manufacturing centers. They will not be able to avert the Samsung’s new product lines armed with their graphene patents, that will revolutionize the consumer electronics market. How is Apple’s iPhone and Sapphire screens going to compete with Samsung’s thin 10 inch foldable/bendable/unbreakable smartphone that’s stronger than steel, that could be slipped into a wallet? You can laugh now, and everyone would have laughed too in 2004 if someone said Samsung would pass by Sony. Sony, like Apple will be in ten years, is now irrelevant.

  • Aja Aja

    As for Chinese, how many brand name Chinese phones do you know? Yes exactly. Most of the Chinese phones that are doing well are selling to Chinese in China and some emerging markets that can’t afford high priced phones. That’s still a hell of a lot of phones that Chinese are selling and they indeed are formidable competitors, so don’t get me wrong. But what I’m saying is they still don’t have brand names and it’s still going to be a long time before they can be taken seriously.

  • Aja Aja

    Apple doesn’t make their own hard drives, so don’t blame them for your misfortune. If you look inside their computers, they use basically the same hardware parts that other PC makers use. You should have bought the Mac Airbook. What a great sleek thin notebook, but very pricey. They have solid state hard drives made by Samsung, that don’t crash because there are no moving parts. Plus the SSD hard drive makes the notebook 10 times faster than a regular hard drive computer. The boot up time on the Mac Air is about 5 seconds.

  • Aja Aja

    Hey thanks for that tip. I had that exact problem when I swapped from iPhone to Samsung, and stopped getting text messages from iPhone users. I thought I was the only one with bad luck and blamed Samsung’s bad quality control that text messages sometimes didn’t work. So it was Apple all along, playing a sneaky unethical game to make your life miserable if you switch your device to something other than the iPhone. So you can never leave the Apple eco system, they won’t let you. Lol…

  • charliemarlow

    I am happy someone decided to make electronic devices that weren’t ugly. I suppose if Apple hadn’t been around, someone else would have done it, but they were. Having said that, I am glad Apple didn’t make one of the first books; they would be the only ones allowed to have rectangular covers and pages that turned with your index finger.

  • Sumo294

    The secrecy around the Iphone was not aimed at Samsung. They were worried about the big three at the time copying their phone. What stunned Apple was that their supplier of parts took interest in the Iphone reversed engineered it and put out a heck of a phone in just one year. It could have only been achieved by a CEO who could will such a project and marshal the entire resources of his firm for one project. The speed took Apple by surprise not the fact that people were going to copy it.

  • Aja Aja

    Samsung wasn’t the first Android phone. It was first HTC, followed by LG, and Samsung was late to the game. They didn’t start selling the Galaxy line of phones until 2010. And everyone at that time thought Samsung was way too late to the game. Reversed engineered the iPhone? Yeah right, unless Android is a reverse engineer of iPhone’s IOS. What Samsung copied from Apple were the look of the iPhone. Square, rounded edges, slide and lock, icons, and the power adapters that looked like the iPhone power adapters. As for the actual gritty nitty parts of the technology, Samsung never copied any of that because Apple never owned any patents on them to begin with.

  • redwhitedude

    It could be but also the Chinese could just barge into this out of nowhere.

  • redwhitedude

    Do you expect the chinese to stay like that? Maybe or maybe not. Who would have thought that Samsux would be the giant that it is now say 30 years ago? Not saying that the chinese will pull of the same thing but it is a possibility.

  • Sumo294

    I stand corrected.

  • http://www.eslwriting.org/ eslwriter

    great piece. and despite the cries of grief, the parade of charades and the line ups of scapegoats in handcuffs, very little will change after the ferry tragedy because – in the end – a lot of people earn a living by cutting corners.

    stay low for a while and brandish your little yellow flower of remembrance because in a few months it’s back to business as usual.

  • Sumo294

    Hmnnn . . . all the phone companies must want Samsung to stand fast against Apple or next Apple will be going down the line beating dollar bills out of everyone.

  • Koreandumbdumb

    Microsoft copied Xerox design when they were making Windows. Also, it embedded IE to kill Mozilla. You win at the court and you win. Hey, Vanity Fair is writing about technology? It is akin to a Cooking magazine writing about a legacy of a president. Being an American magazine, could it be fair(pun?) to a Korean company. Not a chance of snowball in Hell. Wake up babies, it has to sell to the Americans! Some Koreans, who loves western anything – bananas, will think it to be fair journalism. There is no such thing. Hey, it is all about money. Have you heard of the yellow(?) journalism? Newspapermen have to eat too. No time for fairness. You sell your writing and you eat. No sell and you die of hunger. Yet, the article has to have the resemblance of being fair and balanced (so that average Americans can say we are fair) but it is written to bash Korean company and hard-working Korean engineers. F***ing A*** journalists. They have no talent to invent anything. Stupid jerks.

  • Aja Aja

    Reminds me of those very fair jurors in those two Apple-Samsung trials. In the last trial, the jurors awarded Apple from Samsung, 10 times the amount for a patent that Apple demanded from Motorola. Patent expert, Fosspantents is becoming increasingly critical of Apple with some very good points.

    http://www.fosspatents.com/

  • Aja Aja

    Patent expert Florian Mueller of Fosspatents called it. This Vanity Fair piece is nothing more than “mudslinging”, when he writes:

    “I hope Apple’s PR department was not behind this Vanity Fair piece that amounts to mudslinging against Samsung. It’s just unlikely that Samsung told Vanity Fair how its first patent infringement talk with Apple went.”

    http://www.fosspatents.com/search?updated-max=2014-05-09T17:20:00%2B02:00&max-results=7

  • RElgin

    Sony did not do what Apple has done either. Has Samsung done what Sony did not do?

    Stick to playing baduk.

  • RElgin

    Apple should catch hell for this. There is no excuse.

  • piratariaazul

    Bottom line: Try to imagine what kind of phone you would be using today if iPhone (and it’s UI) had never hit the market. It would not be pretty. Yes, Samsung is a great H/W company. But it sucks at S/W and UI.

    And yes, bitching about intellectual property laws makes sense when you are a net taker / copier. But just wait until PRC companies begin to rip Korean companies off wholesale.

    Just remember – what’s sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander

  • piratariaazul

    LOL. Have you seen “The Graduate”? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSxihhBzCjk

    That’s what you sound like.

    P.S. “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” ― Yogi Berra

  • Aja Aja

    PRC companies already copy lot of Korean products, but there’s no equivalent to Apple’s holy war over design and look patents that much of them were invalidated by USPTO.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    Sounds like some shady business. I’m no tech whiz, but shouldn’t the carriers be somewhat responsible for this as well?

    Personally, I get excited when I power on my 6-year-old Macbook that still runs beautifully. It’s when I have to deal with anti-virus popups on my Samsung PC at work that I start to get a rash.

  • piratariaazul

    No worries — don’t forget that the Chinese big brother can do no wrong. Like permitting their fishermen to repeatedly intrude into ROK territorial waters & fisheries, kills / assault ROK coast guard members, etc. etc. — all with minimum repercussion on ROK end.

    So no worries. PRC companies will rape & pillage Korean IP — not the fluff, the really valuable stuff — soon, when Korea becomes a net creator on specific industries (as opposed to a net taker/copier), and I am sure there will no repercussions then either, for the fear of losing the “Chinese market”.

    Just make sure to get those 100 rolls of silk and the virgins lined up for the annual tribute.

  • piratariaazul

    Florian is a fine patent attorney and an astute blogger.

    And I do agree that the VF article is a bit “unfair” to the extent that the strategy of “infringing to secure mkt share, then settling & paying reasonable royalties” is not uncommon, and every major tech player has done it (mainly because patent positions tend to be fuzzy in new/rapidly developing technologies – so if you are afraid of being sued for infringement, you will never sell anything).

    Having said that, Florian’s comments are being made in a very narrow context – His focus is on the Apple-Samsung patent disputes. He knows very little about Korean political economy, contemporary history, and where Samsung (and others corporate behemoths) fit in that corporatist structure.

    It’s puzzling for me to read comments like cmxc’ posting, and yet to read many Koreans who appear to have a gut aversion to any criticism of Samsung.

  • piratariaazul

    Secretary of State Sumner Welles: “Somoza’s a bastard!”
    Roosevelt: “Yes, but he’s our bastard.”

    :-)

  • wangkon936

    “… a key success factor Apple has demonstrated time and time again…”

    Apple almost went the way of the dinosaur in the late 90’s. Things got so bad competitor Microsoft threw a $25M life line. Steve Jobs came back in and saved them. Took their last reserves of cash to develop the iMac G3, the last (but successful) throw of the dice. Until then Apple had a confusing suite of products held up by the cash generating Apple II line.

    Apple’s history is littered with hits and misses, just like any company.

    I take it you haven’t read Walter Isaacson’s biography on Steve Jobs? You should. That man drove every innovative impulse at Apple. They won’t know what to do without him.

    The man who orchestrated Apple’s rise in the early 000’s is dead. I dumped my Apple stock after he died because I thought that Apple relied on him too much to drive innovation. Look at what’s happened after his death. Not much. Just improvements on existing products since then. The stock hasn’t done that well either.

    The next version of the Apple iPhone will incorporate health monitoring functionality that will revolutionize the way we relate to data about our bodies.

    Hopefully, this will work out better than Apple Maps. Boy, wasn’t that roll out a disaster? Or even Siri. Not as “revolutionary” as claimed.

    I am not overtly pro-Samsung or anti-Apple or vice versa, I just don’t see a point to treating a company with god-like reverence, particularly since [Apple’s] god is dead.

  • http://www.bcarr.com/ Brendon Carr

    Apple ][ was not generating appreciable cash by the time the iMac G3 was developed. It was nearly a lifetime ago by that point. After 1992 or so, Apple ][ was a dead letter.

  • Tapp

    Why do posters keep presenting these rulings as being a direct insult to Korea and to Koreans? To read some of these comments, you’d think that the US has some sort of personal vendetta against Korean companies and it just doesn’t exist. Korea is a much smaller economy that seems to be looking at the top and thinking that the US is purposefully holding them back because Korea is catching up. There is no big collusion among Americans to screw over Korea. Yes, there are “Buy American” campaigns that pop up all the time, but I wouldn’t say that they are the blind focus of the entire population. Brand loyalty is a much more powerful pull. This is especially true in electronics, but the auto industry is a good example of just how much we don’t care.

    There is a fairly large and vocal group that only buys American autos. They put “Made in the USA” decals on their windows and wouldn’t be caught dead in a foreign “rice burner”. Their rhetoric borders on racism at times. They are a huge factor in keeping the doors at Ford and Chevy open for business. Yet, despite their unquestioned loyalty and vocal opposition to all foreign cars, the Toyota Camry is consistently the highest selling car in the country. In fact, Toyota, Nissan, and Honda take almost every car in the top 10. Do you think there is also a huge anti-Japanese constituency that does nothing but bash the country and rule against them in court (other than Korean-Americans and anyone living in Detroit, of course)? No, it just doesn’t exist. There was a pretty big public backlash after the Toyota brake/acceleration problem was found to be blown out of proportion to hurt the company. People lost careers. There are always situations that slip through, but as a whole, I think the US does an excellent job at protecting the interests of both foreign and domestic companies.

    Once you get past Coca-Cola, Harley Davidson, and Budweiser, most Americans do not carry the huge national pride and association with US companies. Even those big three have brand loyalty to thank much more than a xenophobic trait in American citizens. At the end of the day, most Americans don’t know or care to know that Samsung is a Korean company. Most Americans couldn’t find Korea on a map. For most people, it doesn’t come up at all in their daily lives. Prior to moving here, the extent of my understanding of Korea began and ended with Oldboy and the knowledge that both of my grandfathers had fought here in a war a long time ago.

    For the most part, our publications cater to their readers and those readers are consumers, first and foremost. Toyota doesn’t get a poor review because it is Japanese, it would get a poor review because of a performance or design issue. Apple, more than any other company next to HD or Budweiser, does have a cult-like following from some consumers. That loyalty is not based on national pride, though, and I think that fact is difficult for Koreans to understand and separate. Just because Samsung and Korea are inseparable to a Korean, it does not mean that the rest of the world thinks in the same fashion.

  • RElgin

    They are wearing blinders, however many Koreans have perfect vision but merely wish to say nothing.

  • Aja Aja

    Who said the US has a personal vandetta against Korean companies? Now you are branching way out of the scope we’re talking about. I find your attempt to steer this topic towards that is disengenious. I did mention that the US jury in the Apple/Samsung case was biased, as studied and published by Federal Circuit Judge Kimberly A. Moore:

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=566301

    Fosspatents quoted here:

    So there is empirical evidence that U.S. juries have national bias against foreign companies. And that’s not the only problem with having juries decide patent infringement cases. They also often don’t understand that workarounds (provided that they are workarounds in a legal sense) are a good thing (because they actually advance innovation), which is one of the points Judge Posner, who generally believes juries struggle to understand the technical issues in these cases, makes when he talks about the problem of having juries decide the factual parts of patent cases.

    It’s not Apple’s (or its counsel’s) fault that juries decide patent cases often on a non-technical basis. If a jury can’t figure out technical detail, it may just be led by emotions, regardless of how often the court instructs it not to be influenced by prejudice. Was Apple’s counsel trying to take advantage of patriotism? Having read the related passage of the closing argument a few times, I think so. Judge Koh apparently thinks so, too. But it’s preposterous to say that Apple appealed to “racial” or “ethnic” prejudice. It was just about regional (Silicon Valley) and national economic interests. It wasn’t particularly bad. And that’s why a retrial would have been disproportionate.

  • Aja Aja

    What valuable stuff has Samsung stolen from Apple, other than fluffy stuff like how the icons bounce up and down, the color of the phone, the shape of the touchscreen, that it has emails? Did they steal the program codes for the IOS from Apple? Did they steal the touchscreen that Apple designed? Did they steal the Apple’s patents on the CPU chip? What, other than the fact that they’re smartphones, did the US jury find Samsung stole from Apple, other than fluff? The rest of the world could care less, they all said it was just fluff and threw these cases out of courts.

  • Tapp

    If I was replying to something you said, I would have put it in a thread beneath your comment. To answer your question, Koreandumbdumb accused Vanity Fair of writing a biased article because Samsung is a Korean company. The Vanity Fair article was what this post was about… Not the court case directly. I used another industry as example to describe how asinine it is to believe an American publication would torpedo a product over perceived national pride. Again, the Vanity Fair article does not succumb to that rhetoric in my opinion… I have no idea on bias in the court case. The court case wasnt even mentioned in this post. Who is derailing now?

  • wangkon936

    Okay. Perhaps the Mac had overcome the Apple II by revenue in the early to mid 90’s. That isn’t germane to my point, which were:

    1. Around 1997 Apple Computer was on the ropes, ready to fall into the dust bin of technology corporate history, looking desperately for someone ready to save it.

    2. “Interim” CEO Jobs saved it by a wave of innovative new products, starting with the iMac G3.

    Apple wasn’t always a successful company. At one point it its history it could have very well failed. It can still fail, particularly given the fact that the man who saved it is no longer with us.

    Apple is kind of like a megachurch built-up by a charismatic pastor. Like such a megachurch, it can fail once that charismatic pastor leaves.

  • wangkon936
  • wangkon936

    Budweiser is no longer American owned. A company controlled by a bunch of Brazilian former investment bankers owns Budweiser now.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/InBev

  • Tapp

    Ya, I grew up outside of St. Louis and the InBev purchase was a huge issue that caused a bit of an identity crisis in the area. When it was all said and done, though, brand loyalty beat out national pride and Budweiser continues to have the largest market share in the country.

  • Pingback: And then there's Samsung - Marmot's Hole | Technical innovationsTechnical innovations()

  • Tapp

    I agree, but they’ll probably get away with it because iMessage is a free text service. It would almost be like saying that Kakao Talk is responsible for converting to text messages for free if you switch to a non-smartphone. The consumer didn’t pay for those messages so they won’t have any recourse.

  • piratariaazul

    Good point, Tapp. The truth is that outside a small circle of policy makers, very few people in the US care about Korea (or care to know about it).

  • piratariaazul

    It’s called the jury system. Well trained lawyers argue the shit out of each party’s case and make their best argument to a panel comprised of fellow citizens — not the smartest, most virtuous, or best connect people in the community; just your peers, the common folk. Many believe that this system tends to lead to a fair or just outcome more often than other systems.

    It has all the advantages and disadvantages of another process that relies on common folk to make the most important societal decisions: Democracy.

  • RElgin

    The Chinese will steal everything they can. They are far worse for Samsung than Apple. Apple actually helps Samsung do better.

  • redwhitedude

    The biggest issue the Chinese have is their governance, this will impact every aspect of China especially economic/business. As to them not having brand name, they are just starting by being low cost. China has been likened to Korea around 1977. Did Korea have brand names back then? Where was Hyundai and Samsung back then? They certainly were not the big names that they are now. The Chinese also seem to be rushing things, just look at their high speed rail.

  • redwhitedude

    Sony is like a rudderless ship.

    They also sat on their laurels too long like the whole Japan consumer industry as a whole. Now they are struggled to get their act together. They were laughing at Samsux back in 1987 when Lee Kun hee took over. The biggest thing that apple has done is turn existing product categories such as MP3 players(iPod), tablets(iPad) and smart phones(iPhone) into must haves. As long as Apple continues to do this there is no way Samsux is going to surpass Apple.

  • redwhitedude

    Apple pretty much reinvented itself from a computer company to a digital lifestyle company with its iPod, iPad, and iPhone. There was no way that Apple was going to grow by being just a PC company when 90%+ were Windows PC.

  • wangkon936

    True.

  • redwhitedude

    But your point about Apple is right. Unless there is the second coming of Jobs there is not much to be expected from Apple. Talking about companies that are stuck as PC companies just look at Dell, it is like breathing its last breath.

  • dlbarch

    You guys can decide for yourself what you want to about Apple, that’s cool, but since last summer, I have made a bundle on AAPL by NOT listening to anyone with an MBA.

    If you think Apple is doomed, that’s totally up to you, but MBAs know nothing about cut-throat Silicon Valley, which is probably why the finance guys prefer the heavily socialized system that is America’s government-supported finance industry.

    DLB

  • redwhitedude

    I don’t expect much from Apple. I certainly don’t expect them to reinvent themselves like they need under Jobs. They may still do well but I don’t see them reaching new heights like they did with the introduction of the iPod, iMac, iPad, iTunes, and iPhone. Oh I forgot. Apple is the first company to figure out how to distribute music online with the iTunes before that nobody figured that out and music labels tended to associate that with illegal downloads via peer to peer networks.

  • dlbarch

    Yeah, I think even Apple’s critics have to admit that most of how we all interact with the Internet has been shaped by decisions executed at 1 Infinite Loop.

    The funny thing is that I’ve worked on Wall St. (briefly, in mid-90s, when the money was easy) and I’ve worked here in SV (in the post bubble 2000s, when it most definitely was not), and the culture gap is about as wide as one can imagine.

    But believe me, the real heroes are here on the West Coast. East Coast MBAs shuffle around other people’s money and expect bonuses and bailouts even when they fail. Here, failure is real and brutal, but also a badge of honor on the way to later success.

    Which is why I’ve always considered failure as an asterisk to a resume, and not a defining moment. And it’s also why I listen to my SV engineering friends for investment advice over any MBA any day of the week.

    Cheers, bro’,
    DLB

  • wangkon936

    Mr. DLB,

    Not every MBA works in finance. MBAs work in operations, marketing HR, supply chain, the full spectrum of business functions for a firm.

    Oh, and law school blows:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c3FTaljUVcU

  • dlbarch

    Don’t worry, WK, I wasn’t thinking of you. I have my own circle of MBA finance friends, and they all tolerate me (barely) — mostly because know more about wine than they do!

    As for law school, I actually loved every minute of it. But then again, I also love actually BEING a lawyer, which is even more rare!

    Cheers,
    DLB

  • wangkon936

    “… I also love actually BEING a lawyer…”

    Yes, you are in the minority.

    http://abovethelaw.com/2013/03/unhappiest-job-in-america-take-a-guess/

  • Seoulgoodman

    People of a certain age, say over 35, remember that LG used to be Goldstar, the company that made home stereo systems out of model car plastic which sold for 79.99$ at K-mart.

  • dlbarch

    Well, to the extent that any privileged, upper-middle class white guy from the mean streets of Los Gatos can be called a “minority,” I guess.

    But, yeah, I can’t complain.

    DLB

  • redwhitedude

    Going to law school is definitely a plus in a litigation happy society that we live in and in business.

  • bumfromkorea

    Why did New Jersey get all the toxic waste and California all the lawyers?

    New Jersey got to pick first.

  • dlbarch

    Don’t forget my favorite: “99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name.”

    Go to any networking event and you will find that NO ONE tells more lawyer jokes than a lawyer. We revel in them.

    DLB

  • bumfromkorea

    Oh, I know. Every single lawyer jokes I know, I heard from lawyers. 😀

  • Seoulgoodman

    And yet Budweiser still sucks.

  • bumfromkorea

    No one here takes Koreandumbdumb (aka Baduk) seriously except when the perpetually guano-crazy rambling broken clock gets the time right twice a day. Enjoy the “LOLWTF?” moment when he writes comments, and move on with your day.

  • bumfromkorea

    Actually, I believe in this particular case the juries were composed of people who are familiar with the industry.

  • bumfromkorea

    I’m torn. My phone’s days are clearly numbered, and I dunno whether to stay with Samsung or go with Apple. Samsung = Omnicorp, and S5 hasn’t been getting stellar reviews exactly… but Apple users annoy the living shit out of me. Plus, I tried iTune again after so many years since I abandoned my last iPod… and it annoyed the living shit out of me too.

    What to do, what to do…

  • http://www.bcarr.com/ Brendon Carr

    Have you ever worked on software?

  • dlbarch

    Go with the phone with the longest battery life!

    DLB

  • Aja Aja

    S5 was just announced as having number one customer satisfactory phone in the United States, beating the iPhone handily for the first time ever, and beating all phones. I don’t know even know why you’re even asking this question. S5 gets the bad knock against it because of its plastic case. But who cares about the back case, when everyone puts on those ugly phone protector cases, nobody would know the difference.

  • Aja Aja

    And by the way, S5, as tested, beats all the phones – by a mile, including the iPhone 5S for screen visibility in outside direct sunlight. The HD super AMOLED is the best screen out there for any phone, and Samsung is the leader in screen technology. I just got this phone and quite happy with it.

  • http://www.bcarr.com/ Brendon Carr

    Just announced by the Korea Times!

  • dlbarch
  • Aja Aja

    No, that’s just in Korea. In the US, ACSI announces that it’s Samsung has better customer satisfaction over the iPhone.

    http://macdailynews.com/2014/05/20/acsi-samsung-edges-apple-in-new-smartphone-customer-satisfaction-study/

    Plus the iPhone can’t even do multi tasking. You have to quit out of each screen to go to another screen. With Samsung, you can do 2 screens showing at the same time.

  • Aja Aja

    Love the MacDaily’s take on this beat down of their darling phone, by Samsung.

    “It’s easy to claim satisfaction with a knockoff when you don’t know what you’re missing. People with low expectations and a lack of experience are generally more easily satisfied. Just read the reviews (see below).”

    ha ha ha.

  • RElgin

    Try using an iPad along with the dumbest phone you can get. That works for me since I have Kakao, etc. on the iPad.
    If there was an alternative to having an Apple ID, I would take that since they restrict content based upon which country your card is from.

  • RElgin

    I have been informed by microbrew lovers here that the Korean Budweiser is worse than the one in the states.
    Does it really matter since it is all terrible beer?

    One area of weakness that could be turned to profit here is the dwindling supplies of American varieties of hops for brewing. An astute Korean farmer could grow this crop, down south, where the land is cheaper, and sell to the domestic market, reaping a good, as well as, steady profit that would be better than growing rice. Frankly, this is a missed opportunity for now since, if enough was grown, it could be an export crop.

  • Seoulgoodman

    Problem is that many of the farmers here are old men set in their ways. Heck, I bet many don’t even know that hops are a key ingredient in beer (can’t blame them considering the bland piss-coloured beer sold here).

  • Tapp

    The S5 admittedly looks much better than the previous model, but I won’t touch it until Android a more effective malware filter. Out of the box testing means nothing when 2 months after purchase the thing is full of trojans and gets bogged down to a crawl. The Android system and the developer freedom that goes with it is a huge problem and a guaranteed deal breaker for me.

  • Tapp

    iTunes is far and away the most annoying aspect of the entire company. i despise it on so many different levels. I first dropped iTunes out of frustration in 2004 or 2005. I remember spending hours and hours uploading my personal collection only to find that the system had separated every compilation with a different artist into a different album. It had taken every collaboration and formed a different album. Notoriety did not matter. Regardless of how famous the name, it would split “Beatles” and “The Beatles” into two separate artist listings. I couldn’t listen to Jay-Z’s “Life and Times of Shawn Carter, Vol.2″ front to back because every guest rapper would require a new album. I spent days of my life trying to fix it before finally throwing in the towel. Jump forward to 2012 and I’m forced to use it again when I pick up my first iPhone. As ridiculous as it sounds, they still haven’t fixed those relatively minor coding problems.

  • bumfromkorea

    I know there are substitute programs out there that lets you bypass iTune for your iPhone… but obviously not the market itself.

  • Pingback: Is Samsung An Evil Business Empire? | ROK Drop()

  • piratariaazul

    Well, the jury system includes some very counter-intuitive procedures.

    (1) The jury pool is based out of whichever district the matter is being tried. And there are rules that govern where a matter can be brought (“venue” rules). The idea is that you end up w/ a jury of your “peers.”

    The Jurors can & are expected to rely on their common sense and everyday experience in looking at a case.

    BUT they are specifically instructed not to bring in their own (specific) experience or (specific) expertise to adjudge a case. For example, jurors are expected to listen to conflicting “expert” opinions submitted by the parties, and pick which one is more “accurate”; but they can’t act like experts of their own, even if they are particularly knowledgeable about some of the issues before the court.

    (2) On a related issue, I personally laugh at anybody who still complains about the Apple/Samsung jury pool.

    Apple is obviously based in N. Cal. Samsung Elec. has significant presence there as well. Jury pool there tends to include large % of folks w/ tech industry background or contacts (Not surprising — If you try a movie copyright case in Los Angeles, you will get lots of potential jurors w/ entertainment industry background or contacts).

    IMO this was probably the best jury pool that Samsung could have possibly gotten — high likelihood of drawing tech savvy folks, w/ above-average education (compared to the rest of the country), more “left-brainers” than “right-brainers” (so to speak), relatively cosmopolitan & less likely to show local bias, etc. etc. . . .

    . . . and the trial was presided by a Korean-American female judge, who would not have put up with any race-baiting or “good ol’ boy” antics.

    Still complaining? — Maybe Samsung would have had a better day in the Eastern District of Texas. Think about that.

    (3) I think the biggest “bias” that Samsung had to contend with was this: Americans LOVE INVENTORS and LONE COWBOYS.

    Americans have very few nationals “myths” — one of them is the lone engineer who rejects the security of a cushy corporate job, and works out of his garage to invent a better mousetrap. And unfortunately for Samsung, that’s the “Apple story.”

    In Korea, there’s a word to describe a “lone engineer who rejects the security of a cushy corporate job, and works out of his garage to invent a better mousetrap” => LOSER ( . . . unless of course he succeeds and strikes rich; but the praises are for the fact he struck rich, not for his balls to “think different”).

  • piratariaazul

    Well, both of them are just shiny tools that let you make calls . . . . no point in making the brands objects of idolatry.

    I am all for letting each person pick what he/she fancies, since the differences between the various smartphones are really marginal at this point (“white people problems” if you will).

    Regarding all these surveys, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. And sales figures for US Q1 2014 are apparently in:

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2458470,00.asp

  • bumfromkorea

    … I think you’re confused about what I was saying about the jury composition of the Apple v. Samsung trial.

  • Aja Aja

    You only get malware when you install programs that are not from Google Playbook. Even if you get one, there’s always the option of reset to factory mode. The S5 is flawless, even the screen is superior. I think there might be some anti-smudge resistance to the screen coating or something, because the screen stays so clean. I find that the Android is superior in every way to the Apple IOS. Don’t get me wrong, the iPhone is a very good phone. It’s just that it’s a “one size fits all, this is what you see, so this is what you get” phone. The iPhone is a perfect phone for old people who don’t need or hates customizations, because it’s so simple (but inflexible).

  • piratariaazul

    Probably. Sorry if that was the case.

  • redwhitedude

    But both states have significant Korean population. I guess it doesn’t matter to Koreans. :-/

  • redwhitedude

    Haven’t drank one in ages. I prefer brands like Warsteiner.

  • redwhitedude

    How about red tape in Korea?

  • wangkon936

    But… it taxes the soul.

  • redwhitedude

    That is if you are not interested. Most of the people including me aren’t interested.

  • Seoulgoodman

    Nah, not so much about red tape as doing the same damned thing as everyone else, which includes relying on government handouts (rice farming is subsidized).

  • Seoulgoodman

    Well, it should be obvious to anyone who’s ever set foot in Korea that two companies in particular have an unhealthy grasp on the local economy and, by extension of which, on its politics. This was already clear to me within the first few hours of my first steps on Korean soil when I noticed their two names plastered everywhere.

  • dlbarch

    Absolutely, which is why I think Korea presents such a compelling intellectual challenge. For the Left, the way Korea, Inc. is organized, both politically and economically, is probably nothing short of an illiberal experiment in corporate capture of the political process.

    But for (thinking) conservatives, too, Korea’s gross concentration of political and economic power is troubling, and profoundly problematic. There’s an unhealthy lack of checks and balances in Korea, with a still underdeveloped civil society struggling to offer at least some counterpoint to the military, intelligence community, and corporate influence over the political process.

    In many ways, it’s amazing that a Korean left — underfunded and under-represented — exists at all. But no genuine, Burkean conservative can look to Korea and see a model worth emulating. Economic success is impressive, but at what cost to personal liberty?

    DLB

  • Seoulgoodman

    Yes, and it affects every facet of personal rights, unfortunately. Health for example. Sure, Korea has a form of socialized medicine…but what about the industrial pollution?

    PS. I distinctly remember reading a few years ago about how researchers who wanted to investigate the levels of heavy metal contamination around old mines were restricted to collecting data within a radius of 8km from the mines by the government. The Korean government also doesn’t measure the level of smaller dust particles in the air. I think you can figure out why they would do such things.

  • pawikirogii

    want some irony? you wanna hurt samsung? then don’t buy an iphone. now that’s ironic ain’t it?

  • redwhitedude

    Should do away with subsidies. People generally are not interested in working as farmers unless you get those immigrants from SE asia or China to do the farming.

  • redwhitedude

    Buy another android phone. I got nexus 5. I think nexus the hardware is made by LG.

  • Seoulgoodman

    Don’t get me started on the government’s solution to the aging population problem, which is immigration with some very heavy strings attached: marry a middle-aged Korean man who lives in a rural area (i.e. male migrant workers need not apply), assimilate, and accept that your children will be discriminated against.

  • redwhitedude

    The alternative is do nothing. Unfortunately there will be discrimination if you allow such immigration, no other immigrant is interested in farming. You are not going to get somebody who immigrated to Korea to work for a multinational to ditch it and go farming.

  • Seoulgoodman

    Why do immigrants have to be farmers? Oh, right. I forgot. Can’t have those damn foreigners are stealing jobs.

  • Seoulgoodman

    He hasn’t managed Samsung in years.

  • redwhitedude

    Try getting a young Korean make a career out of farming.

  • Seoulgoodman

    South Korea imports most of its food. It’s no surprise given it’s population and territory.

  • redwhitedude

    I do not buy into that. It is purely politics for food security.

  • Seoulgoodman

    …or a means to appeal to the nationalistic sentiment and a certain age demographic. Why do you think they subsidized rice when a considerable percentage of the crop ends up rotting away in warehouses?

  • redwhitedude

    To appease farmers and get their votes?

  • redwhitedude

    Hand out for the poor. That’s an idea.