Opinion

For Samsung's boss, bad news is no news

I think you’re going to like this one. It really does take the biscuit. In fact, it takes the whole packet of biscuits, the cakes, scones, tea pot, cups, saucers, teaspoons and napkins.

I have to say it’s a pretty amazing story. According to reports in The Korea Times cited on other web sites, including CNN Money, the chairman of Samsung was not briefed on the company’s loss to Apple in a high-profile Californian court case until four days after the verdict. Now, I know California is supposed to be a pretty laid back place but I didn’t realise South Korea was too.

Samsung Galaxy S2Let’s just rewind at this point and remind ourselves that many of the patents at issue in the lawsuit involved smartphones and tablets. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention for the last six or seven years, smartphones are primarily communication devices that people can use to talk to other people or send them messages or emails wherever they might be in the world.

So, for argument’s sake, a high-ranking Samsung executive sitting in a law court in California could, for instance, either call or send a text message or email to somebody in, perhaps, South Korea, telling them all about the verdict they have just heard the jury deliver.

One would expect that the chairman of a company like Samsung would, in all likelihood, possess one of these smartphones, quite possibly one of those affected by the jury’s verdict. You might expect him to be able to operate such a device and, even if nobody bothered to call, send him a text or an email, he would be able to use the smartphone’s web browsing capabilities to check the verdict for himself. Unless he completely forgot the case was on and that the jury was deliberating its verdict of course.

Personally, if I was in Lee Kun-hee’s position, I think I’d check at least once during the day. Okay, so I’m being facetious but even so, you’d think there would be slightly more urgency on Samsung’s behalf in reacting to the unfavourable verdict and that someone within the company would have prepared a briefing to send to the chairman in just such an eventuality.

Anyway, according to an unnamed Samsung source quoted in The Korea Times, when Kun-hee was finally formally briefed on the verdict the following Tuesday (28th August), he “calmed down and slightly closed his eyes after he was briefed. But didn’t say anything further”. Your guess is as good as mine as to what his response signifies. Personally, I think maybe he decided to sit back and wait for four days before delivering his own formal response to the briefing.

This was first published in August 2012

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