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Explore other innovative strengths

Samsung Electronics continues to come under fire even after it quickly acted to recall its latest Galaxy Note7 smartphone on safety questions about its battery. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and aviation authorities of other countries have prohibited use of the phone and carrying it in any checked baggage.

The U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC) has advised against everyday use of the phone. Samsung Electronics also asked its customers not to use the Note7 until it can exchange them to entirely new and safer ones.

Some suspect over-reaction from the U.S. authorities ahead of the release of the iPhone 7. Others fear the crisis would build up to a corporate disaster as big as Sony’s computer battery woes in 2006 and Toyota’s recall crisis in 2009.

But the case with Samsung Electronics is different. Sony and Toyota were criticized for poor crisis management and were pressured to recall.

Samsung Electronics, on the other hand, offered to refund or recall all the products sold before any authorities took action. One U.S. IT media survey showed 76 percent of respondents answered that confidence in the Samsung brand has not changed or actually improved after the recall.

Samsung released new smartphone models twice a year to become an innovator in hardware. Its rival Apple has not awed as much in the hardware front. Its newest iPhone 7 has been falling short of expectations. Since Samsung has been trying to beat Apple in hardware because it cannot match Apple’s unique software ecosystem, the defect in its device could be a heavy blow.

Samsung Electronics must make a bold comeback to restore its reputation for quality and dependability. Its latest debacle suggests that uncertainties can always accompany new innovations. It may not be able to sustain the top position solely on hardware. It must explore other innovative strengths that it can build and excel in.

JoongAng Ilbo, Sept. 14, Page 26
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