Samsung Under Fire For Its Handling Of Note 7 Crises

Samsung is suspending production of its Galaxy Note 7 “in order to take further steps to ensure quality and safety matters,” it said this morning in Seoul as it continues to fumble its way though a mounting crisis steps behind social media posts of devices catching fire.

“The move comes after a spate of fresh reports of overheating and fires with phones that have been distributed to replace the original devices, which also had a risk of catching fire,” write Jonathan Cheng, Eun-Young Jeong and Trisha Thadani for the Wall Street Journal

“The major U.S. carriers, Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile all announced their own suspension of sales or exchanges of troubled device, which is having one of the worst rollouts of a tech product in recent memory,” report Fred Barbash and Anna Fifield in the Washington Post



The original devices were recalled on Sept. 2. The company had 500,000 replacement devices — with a green battery icon on the status bar — on the shelves in the U.S. by Sept. 21.

“The production halt underscores the growing seriousness with which Samsung is dealing with its largest product recall to date. Last month, Samsung officials shrugged off reports of overheated batteries, calling the incidents ‘isolated cases’ related to issues of mass production,” the WSJ story continues. “In a separate statement a few days later, the company said in response to reports about abnormal battery charging levels in its replacement phones that ‘the issue does not pose a safety concern.’”

On Friday, it issued a release saying that it “understands the concern our carriers and consumers must be feeling after recent reports have raised questions about our newly released replacement Note 7 devices” following reports that one such device started smoking on a Southwest Airlines flight that had not yet left its gate in Louisville on Wednesday. “We continue to move quickly to investigate the reported case to determine the cause and will share findings as soon as possible.”

As “part of a new slate of phones that had helped the company regain some ground against Apple,” Choe Sang-Hun writes in the New York Times, “… the Note 7 sold at premium prices of around $900 and featured the curvy contours that had made Samsung’s other new Galaxy phones big sellers.”

It “was hailed by critics as one of the best Android phones when it made its debut in August,” the Associated Press reminds us. “Two months later, some consumers called the expensive device the ‘Death Note’ after reports that dozens of the smartphones overheated or caught fire. … Samsung seemed to have the trouble under control when it swiftly announced a global recall two weeks after the phone's launch.”

As rumors of Samsung’s suspension of production of the replacement device swirled online yesterday — but before it actually announced that it was doing so — Recode’s Ina Fried wrote “Samsung should shift its attention from saving the Note 7 to saving its reputation, and its mobile business. The company needs to figure out what happened with both the original phones and the supposedly safe new models and make whole its customers and partners ASAP. …The Note 7 is over. Samsung’s work now is to try to ensure there is a market for a Note 8.”

Mashable’s Stan Schroeder agrees. “Here's two things you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy Note 7. Number one, don't buy this phone. Ever. Whichever version,” he writes. “Number two, if you already own a Galaxy Note 7, turn it off right now. Then return it to the place of purchase as soon as possible and ask for a different phone as a replacement.” 

And, he charges deeper down in the story: “Most of all, you should avoid the Note 7 like the plague because there's mounting evidence that Samsung hasn't been honest about what's happening.”

Forbes contributor Ewen Spence writes: “That there has been a failure in the design of the Galaxy Note 7 is clear — Samsung’s decision to trigger a global recall is evidence of that. But that should not be the issue that causes the most concern. To paraphrase one of the greatest political axioms, ‘it’s not the exploding batteries that gets you, it’s the corporate reaction.’”

Which seemingly has been tone deaf as the story continues to erupt.

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