On 47th anniversary, Samsung promises new start in 2017

Complacence set in at global market leader, acknowledges co-CEO

A Galaxy Note 7 caught fire on a Southwest Airlines flight. Pic: Brian Green/ The Verge

With the Galaxy Note 7 having pretty much exploded consumer trust (sorry!), the company recognises it has an uphill climb ahead in terms of regaining market share and rebuilding confidence in its products, with two brand leaders addressing recent issues on Tuesday.

Its North American chief, speaking at GSMA Mobility Live in Atlanta on Tuesday admitted that 2017 would be a vital year of rebuilding for the company.

“We’re going to work very hard to gain consumer trust and regain our brand,” Gregory Lee, President and CEO of Samsung Electronics North America, told attendees at the forum in his keynote speech. “2017 is going to be a tremendous brand and confidence rebuilding year for us.”

Lee dove in headfirst, choosing to address the Galaxy Note 7’s battery problems straight on. While the company has yet to reveal the cause of the problem, it has recalled the majority of units, he said. “We’re at 80 per cent of recalling the product,” Mobile World Live quoted him as saying. “Now that we have recalled the product twice we are looking at every aspect of the product and process to make sure we can say with every confidence we know exactly what the problems are and how to prevent them going forward,” added Lee.


Meanwhile, in Korea, co-Chief Executive Officer Kwon Oh-hyun said the company needs to focus on innovation, and that it would use the latest episode as a catalyst for a new start. “The latest crisis made us look back at ourselves and think maybe we have grown complacent, and it served as momentum for a new start,” Kwon told 400 employees on the 47th anniversary of the electronics company’s founding, Bloomberg reported. “We should continue to push for innovation in order to strengthen our competitiveness and technology leadership.”

Bloomberg estimated that losses from the global recall of the Galaxy note 7 cost the company more than $6 billion (Dh22.04 billion).

Although Samsung is the biggest smartphone brand in the world, it was losing market share before the impact of the recalls were factored in. It emerged last week that Samsung shopped only 72.5 million smartphones in the third quarter of this year, down 13.5 per cent from 83.8 million units year on year. according to data from IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker.

The researcher said the figures, which knocked the Korean company’s market share back to 2014 figures, largely because of the growing number of Android alternatives. At the time, in the fourth quarter of 2014, Apple trailed the Korean tech giant by only 0.16 per cent.

“Samsung’s market dominance in the third quarter was unchallenged in the short term even with this high-profile Galaxy Note 7 recall, but the longer term impact on the Samsung brand remains to be seen. If the first recall was a stumble for Samsung, the second recall of replacement devices face-planted the Note series,” said Melissa Chau, associate research director, Mobile Devices at IDC.

As they say, accepting the problem is the first step.