Tag: samsung

Samsung wants to sell 10 million S8 phones

SamsungSamsung has set an initial production target of 10 million Galaxy S8 smartphones.

Samsung is counting on the S8 to rejuvenate sales after it scrapped the Galaxy Note 7 smartphones last year in one of the biggest product safety failures in tech history. The phone will go head-to-head with Apple’s iPhone 8 which is being touted as everything the iPhone 7 should have been.

The newspaper said the world’s top smartphone maker would start production in March and planned to start selling them in April. Galaxy S7 phones went on sale in March last year.

Leaks about the S8 indicate the phone will be rather special, if expensive. For a start it will come with the latest AI features and Qualcomm’s new 10nm Snapdragon chip.

To push it, Samsung must prove that it does not feature the mistakes of the Note 7. So far no one knows for certain what those faults were, but it would appear to have been too thin for the larger battery.

Samsung has denied anything which has been written about the S8 but fortunately the Far Eastern companies leak like a Welsh tin bath.

 

Samsung will not buy its own batteries again

Samsung-Z1Samsung is in talks with LG Chem Ltd to make it one of its smartphone battery suppliers.

According to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper Samsung is keen to diversify its supplier base after the failure of its Galaxy Note 7 which had batteries made by its own fair hand.

Samsung currently gets its Note batteries from  Samsung SDI and China’s Amperex Technology.

Chosun Ilbo quoted an industry official as saying that there was more than a 90 percent chance of a deal being struck and said that Samsung Electronics would likely begin procuring LG Chem batteries from the second half of next year.

The deal has yet to be officially announced.

Samsung Electronics announced the recall of 2.5 million fire-prone Note 7s in early September, a fault that it attributed to a defect in Samsung SDI battery. In October, it pulled the plug on the $882 device after replacement phones using batteries from China’s Amperex Technology also caught fire.  The fact that both batteries caught fire was widely seen as a poor design on the Note, however Samsung Electronics has refused to talk about that and just focused on the batteries..

LG Chem currently makes phone batteries for Apple, so if the Note 8 goes up in flames then Samsung will take down the iPhone 8 with it.

EU fines three lithium-ion battery makers

lemon batteryThe European Commission has fined three Japanese makers of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries $176.2 million for their involvement in a price-fixing cartel from 2004 to 2007.

The Commission said that Sony, Panasonic, Samsung and Sanyo agreed on temporary price increases and exchanged commercially sensitive information, such as forecasts or plans concerning bids for manufacturers of phones, laptops or power tools.

Sony received a fine of 29.8 million euros, Panasonic of 38.9 million euros and Sanyo 97.1 million euros. Samsung grassed the cartel up to the Commission.

The Commission said that all the companies had acknowledged their involvement in the cartel and had agreed to settle the case.

European competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the fines sent an important signal to companies.

“If European consumers are affected by a cartel, the Commission will investigate it even if the anti-competitive contacts took place outside Europe,” she said.

 

Supremes back Samsung against Apple

supremesThe US Supreme Court backed Samsung in the great battle over the rounded rectangle smartphone.

It threw out an appeals court ruling that the South Korean company had to pay a $399 million penalty to its American rival for copying key iPhone designs.

The 8-0 ruling, written by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, held that a patent violator does not always have to fork over its entire profits from the sales of products using stolen designs, if the designs covered only certain components and not the whole thing.

The justices sent the case back to the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington to determine how much Samsung must pay. But they did not provide a road map to juries and lower courts on how to navigate similar disputes in the future.

Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock said in a statement that the U.S. company remained “optimistic that the lower courts will again send a powerful signal that stealing isn’t right”.

Samsung said that the ruling was a “victory for Samsung and for all those who promote creativity, innovation and fair competition in the marketplace”.

For those who came in in late a 2012 jury verdict favoured the tax-dodging cargo cult and hit Samsung initially with nearly $930 million in penalties, later cut by $382 million, for infringing Apple’s iPhone patents and mimicking its distinctive “rounded rectangle” appearance.

Samsung in December 2015 paid its Cupertino, California-based rival $548 million but Samsung took the matter to the Supreme Court, saying it should not have had to make $399 million of that payout for copying the patented designs of the iPhone’s rounded-corner front face, bezel and colourful grid of icons that represent programs and applications.

Apple wanted more cash because Samsung presented no evidence that the article of manufacture in this case was anything less than its entire smartphone as sold. Samsung, meanwhile, said that it did not have to present such evidence as it was bloody obvious.

Samsung argued that it should not have had to turn over all its profits, saying that design elements contributed only marginally to a complex product with thousands of patented features.

The Supremes agreed completely and said that the term “article of manufacture was broad enough to encompass both a product sold to a consumer as well as a component of that product”.

The justices nevertheless refused to devise a test for juries and lower courts to use to discern what a relevant article of manufacture is in a case, a task that could be fraught with difficulty when considering high-tech products.

Samsung Electronics considers split

Ned's_executionSouth Korea’s Samsung Electronics is considering doing an HP and splitting itself into two.

The plan was originally mooted by US activist hedge fund Elliott Management.

According to the Seoul Economic Daily the split give the heirs of the founding Lee family a much stronger hold on the global smartphone outfit. Elliott suggested the split in October to boost shareholder value.

Samsung’s board of directors will meet on Tuesday and respond to Elliott’s proposals. Samsung Electronics is not saying anything.

If it follows the House of Elliott plan, Samsung Electronics is to divide into a holding vehicle for ownership purposes and an operating company. It will pay a $26 billion special dividend, pledge to return at least 75 percent of free cash flow to investors and agree to appoint some independent directors.

The conglomerate’s reorganisation efforts have accelerated since Jay Lee took over the reins after his father and Samsung patriarch Lee Kun-hee was incapacitated following a May 2014 heart attack.

It has flogged off non-core assets and merged two affiliates in 2015 to consolidate stakes in key affiliates under a company controlled by Jay Lee and his two sisters.

“Even if Samsung Electronics does not comment on specifics such as the timing of a split … the firm will at least say it will implement ownership structure changes in a reasonable manner,” HI Investment said in a report.

Samsung and Panasonic involved in Napalling scandal

MalaysiaSamsung and Panasonic have launched investigations into allegations of abuse made by their Nepalese workers in Malaysia after a Guardian investigation raised multiple concerns about their treatment.

The pair said that they had been deceived about pay, had their passports confiscated and had been told that they must pay large fines if they wanted to return to Nepal before the end of their contract.

They were forced to work for up to 14 hours on their feet without adequate rest, and with restricted toilet breaks. They also had to pay recruitment fees of up to £1,000 to secure their jobs.

The Guardian spoke to 30 Nepalese migrants making products for Samsung and Panasonic. Some of those working for Samsung are employed directly by the company, but the majority are hired through a labour supply company. The workers assembling or making parts for Panasonic are employed by subcontracting companies.

Both Panasonic and Samsung forbid their suppliers from confiscating passports or charging migrant workers recruitment fees. Yet all the men interviewed by the Guardian claimed they paid up to more than $1,100 to recruitment agents in Nepal to secure their jobs in Malaysia. They all also claimed that their passports were confiscated on arrival in the country.  All this is illegal under Malaysian employment law.

Without their passports, the workers said they couldn’t freely leave their jobs and return home without paying fines equivalent to three or four months’ basic salary.

Both Samsung and Panasonic have said they are opening investigations into the conduct of their suppliers following the claims.

A spokesperson from Samsung said: “As a committed member of the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC), we comply fully with the EICC’s Code of Conduct and have found no evidence of violations in the hiring process of migrant workers hired directly by our manufacturing facility in Malaysia. Once there is any complaint, we take swift actions to investigate.

“We are currently conducting on-site investigations of labour supply companies we work with in Malaysia and the migrant employees hired by these companies. If any violations are uncovered, we will make immediate corrective actions and moving forward we will suspend our business with companies that are found to be in violation.”

In an emailed statement, Panasonic said, “Panasonic will conduct a full investigation into the claims made by the Guardian. We are taking these allegations very seriously and if, in fact, we discover that one of our suppliers has violated such laws or regulations, we will ensure and require them to take necessary corrective action immediately.

“We expect all of our suppliers to strictly comply with our Corporate Social Responsibility policy and declaration. These expectations are outlined in Panasonic’s contracted terms and conditions with each supplier. We do not tolerate breaches of these terms.”

The workers interviewed by the Guardian also complained about conditions inside the factories.

“The work is extremely difficult,” said one worker at a Samsung electronics plant making microwave ovens. “You get only 45 minutes in a 12-hour shift to eat, and seven minutes every two hours to drink water.”

Samung’s brand undamaged by Note 7 fiasco

samsung-galaxy-note-5The global recall of Galaxy Note 7 smartphones has not hurt US consumers’ willingness to buy Samsung products, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll.

Of course, opinion polls are not considered accurate these days but it is nice to know a survey has suggested that Samsung is still OK.  It revealed that Samsung smartphone users were as loyal to their brand as Apple customers, only without the psychological need to evangelise.

Those who knew about the recall were as interested in Samsung phones as those who did not.

Among those aware of the recall, 27 percent would first consider a Samsung smartphone if they were to shop for a phone, the poll showed. Among those who did not know about the recall, 25 percent would look first at a Samsung device.

The poll found that Samsung’s customers were fiercely loyal to their brand. Some 91 percent of current Samsung users would likely buy another Samsung smartphone, and 92 percent of current users would probably buy another Samsung product in general.

There is a similar brand loyalty among current iPhone owners –  92 percent would likely buy another iPhone and 89 percent would likely buy another Apple product.

So basically it looks like the Samsung recall was a problem which existed in the mind of the Tame Apple Press and not in reality.

Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research said the recall was mostly limited to early adopters rather than the majority of Samsung’s customer base, which limited negative user experiences.

“Your own personal experience trumps what you read and what people tell you,” Dawson said.

Samsung has said that customers chose another Samsung model as a replacement for the Note 7 in many instances, without giving more detail. It has said nearly 85 percent of the recalled Note 7 devices had been replaced or returned through its refund and exchange program as of Nov. 4.

Samsung to release its own artifical intelligence helper

mybrainhurtsSamsung is to launch an artificial intelligence digital assistant service for its upcoming Galaxy S8 smartphone.

It had been expected. Samsung recently bought Viv Labs, a firm run by a co-creator of Apple Siri voice assistant. Samsung plans to integrate the outfit’s AI platform, called Viv, into the Galaxy smartphones and expand voice-assistant services to home appliances and wearable technology devices.

Samsung wants its Galaxy S8 to help revive smartphone momentum after scrapping the fire-prone Galaxy Note 7. Investors and analysts say the Galaxy S8 must be a strong device for Samsung to win back customers and revive earnings momentum.

Samsung did not comment on what types of services would be offered through the AI assistant that will be launched on the Galaxy S8, which is expected to go on sale early next year. It said the AI assistant would allow customers to easily use third-party services.

Samsung Executive Vice President Rhee Injong said that developers can attach and upload services to Samsung’s AI.

“Even if Samsung doesn’t do anything on its own, the more services that get attached the smarter this agent will get, learn more new services and provide them to end-users with ease,” he said.

Google is widely considered to be the leader in AI, but Amazon, Microsoft and Apple have offerings which are include voice-powered digital assistants.

Samsung needs to pull its socks up

SamsungSamsung Chief Executive Kwon Oh-hyun has admitted that the outfit needs to pull its socks up in the wake of the costly withdrawal of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone.

Although he didn’t mention the not-so-magnificent 7s, Kwon said in a statement Samsung employees should look back and ask whether they had been complacent in their work.

“We have a long history of overcoming crises. Let us use this crisis as a chance to make another leap by re-examining and thoroughly improving how we work, how we think about innovation and our perspective of our customers.”

At the moment, the company is drawing up a cunning plan to recover quickly from the withdrawal of the fire-prone Note 7 in October. But the fiasco raised concerns about Samsung’s quality control systems. So far no one at the firm has been publicly held responsible or been made to clean out their desk and be escorted from the building.

It is widely believed that the incident shows up problems within the huge multi-national caused mostly by its size, which had been seen in the fact that its bottom line has not been particularly great and the fact its phones are not doing as well as they should.

At the end of last year, Gartner’s research director, Roberta Cozza, said that Samsung will be able to fend off Apple and rising Chinese vendors with “a solid ecosystem of apps, content and services unique to Samsung devices that Samsung can secure more loyalty and longer-term differentiation at the high end of the market.”
So far it has not managed this feat.

Samsung unveils recovery plan

cunning-planSamsung has been talking about its cunning plan to recover quickly from the disastrous withdrawal of the Galaxy Note 7 that dragged down its third quarter mobile earnings to their lowest level in nearly eight years.

The outfit said it was expanding its probe into the Note 7 fires beyond batteries, as it tried to reassure investors that it would get to the bottom of the problem.

It suggested that it might be carrying out a share buyback to boost the share price. It also talked up its semiconductor business and promised to consider proposals for a corporate makeover.

Co-Chief Executive J.K. Shin told shareholders at the annual meeting that the company had to work hard to win back trust. He also apologised for the Note 7 debacle.

Investors are now expecting to see sweeping management changes in response to the Note 7 failure, especially after voting to make the parent conglomerate Samsung Group’s Jay Y. Lee, a Samsung Electronics director.

Lee, 48, the son of patriarch Lee Kun-hee who has been hospitalised following a heart attack, will now have a clearer mandate to play a public role in setting strategy.

Heads will roll but shareholders may have to wait for the Note 7 investigation to conclude first. Chief Executive Kwon Oh-hyun said at the shareholder meeting the company would assign responsibility only after the crisis was resolved.

The world’s top smartphone maker posted a 96 percent plunge in third-quarter mobile earnings to $87.63 million from a year earlier, their lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2008.

Operating profit was $4.57 billion, matching Samsung’s revised guidance.The scrapping of Samsung’s flagship phone erased 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points from South Korea’s third-quarter GDP growth in quarterly terms, a finance ministry official told Reuters on Tuesday.

Samsung SDI which supplied batteries blamed for the first Note 7 recall, separately reported a 110 billion won operating loss for the third quarter.