Samsung Shamed in China, Fined in Taiwan
Samsung, the world's top-selling mobile phone brand, is being scolded on two fronts.
In China, Samsung was recently called out on state-run television CCTV for using faulty flash memory modules that made some Galaxy S III and Galaxy Note II devices susceptible to a "sudden death" bug.
The program suggested that the pricey handset became the equivalent of a brick.
Samsung quickly posted an apology on its site, along with a thanks to the program for bringing the matter to its attention. (Like Apple, Samsung understands that the only response to a public shaming in China is an aggressive apology.)
Samsung said that wireless firmware updates tend to be a convenient way to effectively deal with bugs, and are an important way of improving product performance. But sometimes this isn't enough.
It continued (according to Google Translate), "For the involved products, our company has to take effective preventive measures [and will offer free phone repair to those affected]." Additionally, "the company will refund processing [if the phone cannot be repaired], and our company will offer consumers a free replacement of the same model product."
It also extended the warranty, by an extra 12 months, on devices made before Nov. 30, 2012.
"Our company attaches great importance to, and sincerely listens to, the demands of customers," Samsung said in its Oct. 23 statement.
The same day, Samsung was fined by Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission for "undermining the reputation of Taiwanese mobile phone maker HTC Corp.," Bloomberg Businessweek reported Oct. 24.
According to the report, Samsung organized an Internet campaign that praises Samsung smartphones "while slamming those of HTC," and violates the FTC rules.
The FTC fined Samsung the equivalent of $340,000 and additionally levied fines at two Taiwanese trading companies that it said helped to mount the anti-HTC Internet campaign.
Samsung grew its worldwide smartphone market share to nearly one-third (32 percent) during the second quarter, with sales of 71.4 million smartphones, to second-ranking competitor Apple's sales of 31.9 million units.
HTC, meanwhile—despite its flagship HTC One receiving strong reviews—has continued to see its shares dive. On Oct. 4, it announced a fiscal 2013 third-quarter loss of $101 million.
Samsung Galaxy S 4 Mini
In happier Samsung news, the company will bring the tiny version of its giant new flagship device to the United States in November.
Samsung said in an Oct. 23 statement that the Galaxy S 4 Mini, which pairs a 4.3-inch quarter-high-definition (qHD) Super Active-Matrix Organic LED (Super AMOLED) display with many of the same features in the larger S 4, including WatchOn and S Beam, will be available "next month" from AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and U.S. Cellular. It first introduced the phone in May.
HTC, following a move from Samsung's effective playbook, introduced an HTC One Mini in July.