Are Samsung drones trolling Apple?

By , Apr 24, 2013

Samsung anti-Apple Maps street sign (image 001)

We don’t usually go in for conspiracy theories, but one is drawing quiet a bit of attention – and factual basis. Has corporate giant Samsung, stung by its more than $1 billion patent lawsuit loss to Apple in 2012, waging war on the iPhone maker? A number of signs point to the affirmative, including an apparent tactic to swamp any critics with pro-Samsung comments.

Along with blatant examples of the business press spinning news against Apple and for Samsung, there has been reports of fake Samsung product reviews. Additionally, we’ve seen up-close attempts by pro-Samsung ‘trolls’ to dominate comments…

Our attention was piqued by the Philip Elmer-DeWitt’s rather innocuous Fortune column published over the weekend. In it, Elmer-DeWitt asks whether tactics Samsung admitted using against rival HTC are now targeting Apple.

The response was immediate, here’s what DeWitt wrote the following day:

In the space of a few hours, more than a thousand votes were cast on the DISQUS feedback system, voting down any comment remotely anti-Samsung and voting up anything – no matter how inane, in-artful or wrong – that disparaged Apple, the thesis, or me.

As an example, the Fortune columnist noted a comment asking how much Apple stock he owned was voted up 27 times, while the columnist’s answer – ‘none’ – was voted down 22 times. The votes effectively buried the ‘pro’ Apple response while highlighting the comment supporting Samsung.

Samsung Life-affirming chip in Yongin

One comment, in particular, became the target of pro-Samsung trolls.

The writer, who calls himself Jake_in_Seoul, pointed out that Samsung is actually a conglomerate comprised of 80 companies, including an ad agency, credit card, securities and other financial institutions, giving the Galaxy maker “a wide range of expertise and global connections at hand” to conduct corporate warfare, should it wish.

Perhaps most stinging was the comment that “Samsung is not generally well liked by the Korean people” however it is “career suicide” to write negatively of the company.

Because the comment was disliked so many times, Elmer-DeWitt reposted it within his next column – “to show that voices like his can’t be silenced.”

Samsung anti-Apple Maps street sign (image 002)

Earlier this month, Samsung described as an “unfortunate incident” which violated “fundamental principles” the report that college students were paid to post comments critical of rival HTC in Taiwan.

Writing on Facebook, Samsung’s Taiwan unit said it had “ceased all marketing activities that involve the posting of anonymous comments.”

Marketing activities?


In his comment, ‘Jake’ the ex-pat living in Seoul said:

Reuters, the WSJ, and FT, etc. only write puff pieces that raise doubt as to whether the material was drafted by Samsung PR.

As an example of the spin put on financial stories when Apple and Samsung are involved, two news outlets covered the same first-quarter results posted by Apple-supplier LG Display and came away with two widely-diverging headlines.

Samsung ad (iPhone 5 launch 001)

The Wall Street Journal viewed the news this way: ‘LG Display Gets Boost from Apple.’

The story notes that LG is likely to gain more business from Apple introducing product upgrades as well as increasing demand for mobile devices. By contrast, Reuters highlights the story as ‘Slowdown in Apple orders weighs on LG Display.’

Monday, MacDailyNews pointed out that the report is written by a reporter based in Seoul (Samsung’s home), quoting a lone analyst from the Korea Investment & Securities firm and another one working for Samsung Securities.

Yes, Samsung Securities.

Additionally, the analyst compares sequential financial quarters – one during the holidays when people are buying like mad and the next when people get their credit card bill.

Anti-Apple headlines 001

Although LG Display reported a “sharp improvement” in sales from the previous year, revenue “was down 74 percent from the previous quarter, hurt by a seasonal slowdown in demand and by weaker sales to Apple, which is scheduled to report quarterly results on Tuesday,” according to Reuters.

Only near the end does the report note that analysts expect LG Display earnings to improve “in the coming quarter” as Apple introduces upgraded products and demand for mobile screens increases.

By contrast, the Wall Street Journal out of the box reported that LG “swung to a net profit in the first quarter as tablet screen sales to Apple Inc. increased…” 

Marketing is not all about fancy ads, but about positively positioning your product against rivals.

This is why we encourage readers to be critical thinkers – particularly how language is used and the way numbers are deployed to support one firm while subtly slighting another.

Any your take?

Why has reporting on Apple gotten so crazy?

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  • http://twitter.com/erny_c Erny Carrillo

    I kinda lost the point to blog. I tried to read and understand the point of it, but it was just too long and didnt really narrow the big points out. Sorry Ed.

    • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 John

      Geeez, he even used pictures so slower people could understand!

    • http://twitter.com/jrgibson1 John

      Which part was confusing?

    • Kurt

      According to IDB http://www.idownloadblog(dot)com/2011/10/18/why-apple-bought-siri/
      Siri was developed (not by Apple) in August of 2008 . And according to the FCC Apple bought Siri in early 2010. But Ed Sutherland http://www.idownloadblog(dot)com/2013/03/27/apple-siri-china/ writes Apple developed Siri in 2007. #WorstBlogger

    • sleeperjoe

      Basically the article says:

      1) Samsung are lying liars who wear giant liar-pants.
      2) Never take the word of an analyst or any report based on an analyst word at face value.

      • http://twitter.com/erny_c Erny Carrillo

        Thank you. Much better.

  • http://twitter.com/Lagax_ Lagax

    Samsung is not a normal “company”. They would kill to gain one more dollar.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649839720 Raul Henriquez

      I honestly believe they would hire a hit man and have every Apple employee assassinated. They just strike me as really dirty sick people.

      • Altaykai Yamada

        look fatass…I dont care whatever you think about Samsung. But you Apple fanboys always bash and sue people who are better than you. Its sad, stop it.

  • Kurt

    Current phone=iPhone 4S. Next phone=Galaxy Note 3

    I declined a 10 month FREE upgrade to the iPhone 5. iPhone 5 has been free here for 5 months. Why hasn’t it been reported. To use the words of Ed, I smell a “conspiracy.”

    • http://www.facebook.com/cameronrc Cameron Chao

      Good to know.

    • maverick

      Kurt? Are YOU a drone?

      • Kurt

        Like Obama has flying over the US to kill Americans? nope. Not one of those.

      • Ernie Marin

        you are about to upgrade to cheap plastic, chances are you wouldn’t even know if you were a drone.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649839720 Raul Henriquez

        I laughed when I heard Leo laport say that the HTC one was amazing and could do things the iPhone couldn’t like adjust and set different brightness profiles. Then I though when was the last time I changed my brightness I have F.lux and what was funny to me was he said the battery only lasted 3 hours.
        Lmao… You have to feel bad for those that don’t know that they don’t know.

      • letsjustgetalong

        So you need to jailbreak just to be able to control your brightness as you want?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649839720 Raul Henriquez

        Flux has nothing to do with auto brightness. that works great on the iPhone, it’s done really well. So no I don’t need to jailbreak. What I use f.lux for is to adjust the color warmth which does come standard on most Android devices, due to the type of panels they use. Not everyone wants such highly saturated colors that lack brightness for day time use, but it does look great at night and easier on the eyes. And if I didn’t have it I wouldn’t know the difference as my ambient light sensor would adjust my brightness accurately based on the surrounding light in my environment. Something I experienced and have issues with on my nexus 4. The evidence is there android doesn’t do great at power management.
        Apple has made great progress in power management not only on iPhones, but if you look back, MacBooks have historically outperformed all competing notebooks in every single battery performance test.

      • http://twitter.com/purpledodi Jens Tinnerholm

        On the other hand. Dropped my old s2 on the ground on multiple occations. Never broke. Got some marks sure. Droppes my iphone 4s once. Had to replace the front and back. Still went with my 4s. But i make sure not to drop it no matter what

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649839720 Raul Henriquez

        I lost my shit…

        Lmao……

  • http://www.eraser.org B. Braun

    I don’t care about Samsung, they just sell some cheap plastic Android crap

    • Kurt

      What will you say after the budget iPhone comes out. I wonder how you will twist things then. iPhone is and will still be a mid range smart phone. That’s why I’m moving to Note 3 when it comes out. Apple still makes a great iPad, so Ill stick around for that.

      • http://www.eraser.org B. Braun

        I think a budget iPhone will look like an ipod touch.

      • Kurt

        but will you say, “cheap plastic Apple crap”

      • felixtaf

        Compare the prices for the cheap plastic iPhone (If it releases) and cheap plastic Galaxy devices…

      • Kurt

        umm, so shouldn’t he say “expensive plastic Android crap” because apple will be the “cheap plastic crap”

      • felixtaf

        Nope… Cheap plastic = Cheap Quality, not price… I think thats wat he meant…

      • Kurt

        But, then that wouldn’t be accurate. Samsung phones use high quality durable plastics. Same that iPhone will have (even though you won’t admit that) Thats just a fair assessment for you.

      • felixtaf

        If u dont know, am a reseller (small scale). I do buy and sell phones. I have used evry galaxy device out there during testing. I wont say they are cheap plastic (as in chinese knock-offs). But I will not accept that they are High Quality plastics. I have seen paint chips in plastic rim of galaxy devices over time… Hard to replace its dispay and expensive spares count too… So its time for them to move to hardware and design too (look at HTC One)… Mere software upgrades and bumped up specs wont hold long…

      • Kurt

        iPhone 3G and 3GS all cracked around the speaker, mics, volume buttons, mute switch, etc etc. if you dropped it as my friends had. They had large cracks in the back in other places aswell Galaxy phones don’t. Sorry but I’m fair and truthful when I say both companies use high quality plastics. You’re not.

      • felixtaf

        Ok.. Am not gonna argue.. But comparing a 2009 3Gs and 2013 GS4 is not fair. Let see what Apple will come up with and fight after that… lol… :-)

      • erod434

        You are right comparing the devices themselves is not fair, but comparing the reaction to both is fair and demonstrates irony of the situation. What I mean is that I didn’t see anyone saying that the 3g or the 3gs were made of “cheap plastic,” when in actuality they both were, while people say that the GS3 and GS4 are both made of cheap plastic when they are of much higher quality than the 3g, and are not prone to scratches or dents like aluminum and other metals are. So there is one of two possibilities: ios fans were wrong about the 3g and 3gs being high quality or about the GS3 and 4 being low quality. Take your pick ;-).

      • Ernie Marin

        forget about the outside, the iphone will always have better internal components than a Samsung, and the only reason they are making a budget iphone is so that the people that have to buy one of the other 200 cheap plastic Samsung phones around will have the chance to get an iPhone, even if it’s a budget one.

      • Arshalan gauhar

        best comment on the thread so far!
        nicely summarized and apt for the discussion.

      • http://www.eraser.org B. Braun

        As you know, or maybe not, the iPod touch is made of Aluminium!!!

      • Kurt

        I had the iPod Touch in 2007. So yes I know. But rumors are that the budget iPhone will be plastic. No rumors of it being aluminum that i know.

      • http://www.facebook.com/saeed.ghattas.5 Saeed Ghattas

        As you can see from what you said, rumors… So stfu….!

      • http://twitter.com/ZacHack Zac Ramirez

        The budget iphone is a rumor

      • batongxue

        There is no budget iPhone. If you insist, then the past generations of iPhone are the budget iPhones

      • Kurt

        They are just last years model. The rumor about a budget phone will be a cheaper phone made of plastic with older innards. It will be cheaper than last years models have been. So it is different. And if Apple does it, it should be a huge success. Great for teenagers, poorer folk, and people who don’t care for technology much.

      • batongxue

        Thanks, but I know all the rumours about it.
        Speaking of success, it depends on how you judge it.
        Of course the budget model would help increase iPhone’s market share.
        But would it help improve Apple’s profit? I doubt that.

      • Kurt

        +1

  • http://twitter.com/Anon_MrVIP CJ Mcmillion

    iphone is and always be an iphone until they revamp the features samsung will try to make more new appealing features that iphone just doesnt have it took them over 4 generations to finally bring 4g and lte speeds to it

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649839720 Raul Henriquez

      “Eye Scrolling” Here’s the thing! nobody will use it, the only real people who will benefit from this, and have it be a big selling point for are handicapped people. This would be a great Accessibility feature, I don’t think people are going to be using this on a day to day basis because it would probably get annoying. If you look at every feature released on Samsung devices are mostly Gimmicks. It’s nice that they are there but 99% of people won’t use them. And if browser usage is any indication of the market, it seems that the people who are buying them, are the simple people who don’t necessarily use there androids as Smart phones but use them primarily as just Phones. All those cheap Android phones they sale at wal-mart are taking away market share from apple but only in the phone category and not the smartphone category. Yes they are smartphones but the people buying these phones won’t take advantage of those features. Apple is missing out on tons of marketshare
      but who cares they don’t believe in that. It would not benefit them to risk there profits by releasing a cheaper phone to compete with that market. Or even a bigger screen for that matter, what you and most people fail to realize is what Apple brings to the table after the fact that you bought the device. For instance they provide awesome support with 1 year warranty and Genius support at all of there several hundred stores, they also guarantee your phone software updates on newer hardware for up to 4 years. They also provide the best tools to manage everything in the cloud and its all free. Yes Google offers similar services but they are all over the place and completely frustrating to manage.

  • la79

    So many people hate on Apple. If you don’t like it don’t buy it. Move to something else. I love the “I’m moving to the next Android blah blah blah because of this and that” comments that are on these boards. As if Apple and loses sleep over it.

  • TesticularFortitude

    Samsung has been hiring people to do fake product reviews about HTC?

    I couldn’t support, with good conscience, any company that would actually stoop to doing something like this.

    While I can’t prove otherwise, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that they have done the same thing to, Apple, their largest competitor.

    • batongxue

      No, they did it, they are doing it and they will still going to do it.
      Come to China, and you would be amazed and thrilled.

      Any thread including negetive reviews or reportings about the S4(as well as the S3, S2, etc) would be deleted, and the user accounts may even be frozen(forever if they think it is “severe”). What is more, people spreading fake reviews about HTC ONE(and other HTC products) are all over the major forums.

      Yeah, you got the idea, the so-called forum moderators are not just some tech savvy guys, they are actually hired by Shamesung and to “protect” their product. Since they know their products got weaknesses.

      Chinese market is one of the biggest markets for Samsung.

      And most people in China are not that tech-savvy and would be easily misled when they are trying to search for some reviews online to decide what to buy. So actually this method worked great for Shamesung’s profit.

      The fact is Bitch Always Exist, no matter in real society or tech fields.

  • Matt

    You should look up “confessionsof an internet shill” its not uncommon for there to be Paid “trolls” on the net hired out for this very reason.

  • maverick

    If you’re such a huge Samsung fan; what are you doing on a iPhone blog?

    • Kurt

      Maybe cause this “iPhone blog” is actually also for iPad, iPad mini, iPod Touch. Btw, this blog is no longer called iPhone Download Blog for that very reason

      • Altaykai Yamada

        ignore the haters that bash Samsung. They have the tendency to sue people who are better than them, its their culture. Lets respect that.

      • Kurt

        I think it’s an inferiority complex towards Asians in general. Asains are far smarter than westerners and thus innovate more, which hurts their egos. Since Apples rein on top was short lived. I don’t mean popularity but usability, features wise

      • Altaykai Yamada

        Exactly. Jealousy can devour oneself.

  • oimalon

    An apple a day keeps the malware/adware/virus away.

    -Apple Iphone 4

    -Apple mac book

    -Apple ipod

    -Apple Ipad 3

    -Apple Macpro

    -apple ipod nano

    -Apple ipod shuffle

    • Guest

      Dig how u made a difference between macbook and the macbook pro xD

    • https://twitter.com/MrElectrifyer MrElectrifyer

      More like an Apple iOS.

      The rest, simply keeps you delusional of the malware.

  • http://twitter.com/Chindavon Chindavon

    I smell a (_!_) load of them here!

  • Tardroid

    Shamesung & their S’heeps

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Noah-King/100002986562966 Noah King

    i read this, and then look at the first comment at the bottom of the page. Ironic right?

    • Kurt

      haha good point!

    • http://www.facebook.com/mykelxmonroe Mykel Monroe

      Circa Survive!

  • http://www.facebook.com/dillon.kirton.9 Dillon Kirton

    Atleast with Samsung you only have to buy one of their (High End) phones once. Where as with Apple the screencan crack easily (especially with iPod Touch 4s) and then because of the updates it lags in the future.

    Its kinda disgusting that samsung are doing this kinda stuff though, they onviously cant realise that most of Apples profits are from Apple Computers iPads and iPod Touches, not just one or two smart phones.

  • erod434

    What I think is ironic is that the vast majority of the people who hate on samsung or android have never used either of them, while the people who hate on the iphone usually have had experiences with the iphone and prefer something else. Becuase of this ios fanboys make statements based on nothing but bias and no facts to justify that their product is better than everyone else’s. For example, ios fanboy’s generally just simply say something like “go use your plastic phone,” which is especially ironic considering apple used plastic (which is no greater in quality than the galaxy series) in two of its 6 iphones. They also say something like, “android is laggy and has malware,” which if they had used an android phone of equal price of the iphone they would find to be perfectly smooth and malware to be nonexistent unless they went to the settings and turn off the security and purposely tried to find it. My point is that if you haven’t used a certain device, arguing against it using premade arguments is just making you sound like an idiot. Rather if one wants to argue against a certain device, at least use it first and make judgments based on that rather than pure bias.

    • TeddyBearStand

      Nicely put. I think the OS you start with is the OS you tend to defend. (I prefer iOS over android because of this)

      • letsjustgetalong

        Nah man I switched from iOS to android and actually have become a bit of an android fanboy :) still have an iPad though

      • TeddyBearStand

        Everybody’s different :) I like STOCK android (nexus 4 style), not the ugly Samsung version!

      • letsjustgetalong

        Yeah same stock is best

    • Arshalan gauhar

      Buddy, you wrote that apt…however I am a user who started with iOs as a starter to smartphones, migrated to android swayed by its fancies but had o come ‘home’ again to apple. I guess I made the point!

  • batongxue

    Truth is none-Samsung fanboys never go to Samsung forums.
    But Samsung fanboys are all over your asses.
    Why? You may ask. Normal fanboys don’t do this kind of shite.
    Yeah, because they are not normal.
    I do not mean physical or intellectual abnormality. I mean they are hired by Shamesung(they really do deserve this name, LOL), the abnormal company!
    That is the real reason why Shamesung spent so much money on marketing.

  • wheebang

    Seems to me that most iPhone users are simply insecure, and need validation that everybody else is evil, or out to get them. Grow up already! Having competition is great for innovation, and a win-win for consumers.

    * This is coming from an iOS, and Android user.

    • wheebang

      I Love the “oops” sign.. not only because it is creative, but is also SO true and reflects one of the several stupid decisions Apple has made recently.

  • Altaykai Yamada

    iOS 6 is a nightmare on 3GS you fat ass. So stop mocking yourself with untrue BS.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1649839720 Raul Henriquez

      ok shadow