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Samsung 'punishing' KT for carrying iPhone

updated 12:35 pm EDT, Mon April 26, 2010

Samsung denying KT phones due to iPhone

Samsung has been retaliating against Korean cell carrier KT for its success with the iPhone, the provider's chairman Lee Suk-chae said today. Following the popularity of Apple's phone at KT, Samsung has allegedly been diverting most of its best phones to SK Telecom and deliberately offering slack support for the few phones that do reach the number two carrier. Lee went so far as to accuse Samsung and other phone makers of collaborating on an anti-iPhone strategy that uses SK Telecom as its front.

The executive cited KT's version of the Omnia II as an example of active discrimination: Samsung banned KT from referring to its model as part of the Omnia II family and has been software updates for the Windows Mobile phone where SK Telecom has been kept up to date. The KT version, the Show Omnia, is an "illegitimate son" in Samsung's eyes, Lee said.

Much of the supposed hostility stems from Samsung's embarrassment at its relatively poor performance. KT is now believed to have sold 500,000 iPhones in Korea since its late November launch, or 30,000 more than the Omnia II despite launching later and on only one carrier. The damage to Samsung is believed bad enough that the copmany may have actually lost money on phone sales in its home market, where it and LG have had a virtual stranglehold until last year.

Samsung's fight to get credibility in smartphones has been attributed in part to its near-exclusive dependence on Windows Mobile until last year. It began getting traction with the launch of its first Android phones in the second half of 2009 and, in 2010, is now avoiding Windows Mobile on its flagship phones. The Galaxy S and Wave run Android and Bada respectively, and Samsung's only major Microsoft-based phone known so far won't arrive until Windows Phone 7 is ready in the fall.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. iphonerulez

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 2008

    +1

    You can't blame Samsung for

    doing that. The S. Korean phone industry never wanted to compete against foreign phones so they could make all the money. Even though some Americans were always saying that S. Korea had the best phones in the world, I doubt if that was the case. I'm sure they were pretty good, but hardly better than every phone in the world. I guess Samsung is just going to have to up their game. Apple is out of their league, though. They'd better watch out for a cheap Android smartphone invasion into S. Korea. Their cellphone market would be turned on its head.

  1. snork

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2008

    +3

    Interesting...

    These are interesting allegations considering Samsung makes the processor chips for the iPhone 3GS.

  1. vasic

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2005

    +3

    Issue of patriotism

    Most here might not be aware, but S. Korea is fiercely patriotic. Hyunday, Kia, Samsung and LG dominate their car and cell markets (respectively) due to the omnipresent and very powerful national pride. That a foreign phone could waltz in and clean up so easily is thoroughly humiliating to the nations, especially when the device comes from America. Anti-Americanism is fairly strong over there, so it is unlikely that there would be any major objection to possible anti-competitive (and even unlawful) practices by Samsung (and LG) in order to squeeze Apple out as much as possible.

    All this will end up being to the detriment of their consumers...

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -5

    What????

    You mean that Samsung is sending it's best stuff to the number 1 carrier in the country? Man, talk about idiotic. You'd think they'd push all their new merchandise to the number 2 carrier. That's how it works, right?

  1. Paul Huang

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Sep 1999

    +4

    Samsung has the worst crappy UI

    They can just rot in H-E-L-L. Samsung produces some of the worst UI on the planet.

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