Just two days after publishing its analysis of Samsung’s much-hyped foldable smartphone, revered teardown experts over at iFixit have inexplicably bowed to pressure from the South Korean company which requested that the teardown be pulled from the iFixit website.
The revealing teardown strongly implied that the Galaxy maker rushed out the foldable phone with little to zero quality control, as evidenced by inadequate protections against the ingress of debris between the OLED screen and the chassis bezel.
This thing is Fragile with a capital ‘F’. As expected, there are a ton of entry points for dust and other foreign matter to make their way inside and there are so many different ways for the screen to break.
And here’s how iFixit defended the decision to remove the post:
We were provided our Galaxy Fold unit by a trusted partner. Samsung has requested, through that partner, that iFixit remove its teardown. We are under no obligation to remove our analysis, legal or otherwise. But out of respect for this partner, whom we consider an ally in making devices more repairable, we are choosing to withdraw our story until we can purchase a Galaxy Fold at retail.
Curiously, the repair website did not remove the accompanying blog post listing all of the reasons it thinks the Folds are failing. Call me paranoid, but something doesn’t compute here.
Why would Samsung make such a request through “a trusted partner” instead of talking to iFixit directly? Perhaps they did just that and iFixit flatly denied the request, prompting Samsung to do some arm-twisting through “a trusted partner”? I understand that iFixit didn’t want to jeopardize its relationship with this partner, but taking down the post isn’t always the best decision—and in this particular case it’s just a bad move to make, pure and simple.
Remember when Gizmodo broke Apple’s secrets by publishing a video tour of a stolen iPhone 4 prototype? Although damage had already been done, Apple nevertheless went after Gizmodo by enlisting the help of law enforcement to intimidate the author. Instead of returning the phone promptly and taking down the post, as Apple requested, Gizmodo did the right thing and put up a fight. In retribution, the publication found itself on Apple’s shit list—it wouldn’t get invited to Apple’s press events for years—which only boosted its credibility.
And what good will come out of this removal, if any? By now, The Fold teardown has been widely reported and reblogged so removing it surely won’t stop people from reading about it elsewhere (besides, it’s readily available via Wayback Machine).
This genie is out of the bottle and there’s no putting it back in now. I’m hardly the only writer offering this interpretation, as evidenced by The Verge’s Dieter Bohn:
Whatever Samsung’s reasoning, it’s not a great look to issue a takedown request in any situation. Why a company that’s already straining to quell the bad press around this device would invite more of it by requesting a takedown is baffling.
To be clear, Samsung has not sent any requests to The Verge to remove our review of the Fold as it was originally designed, or any of our other content. If it responds to our request for comment on this takedown or has anything else to say, we’ll let you know.
In my view, Samsung should own this mistake instead of intimidating technical experts who have exposed the faulty Fold for what it is: an early prototype that the company should have never attempted to shove down people’s throat just so it could say it was first to market.
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