The Galaxy Note 7 fiasco is probably the worst thing to happen to Samsung in the company’s history. Despite the issue being limited to that particular unit, it’s unavoidable for consumers to develop trust issues with the company and its other products. Samsung seeks to avoid having more salt rubbed into its wound by killing the Galaxy Note 7 and seek to get back all the units out in the wild. With the wide diversity of the company’s product line, what they did was basically amputate the wounded toe before the infection spreads.
Practically one by one, news of flaming Note 7s continue to spread. Unfortunately for Samsung, the flaming battery problem was not limited to the first batches released but also included replacement units. The unit involved in the Southwest flight was a replacement. And to rub more salt to the wound, the unit was turned off. But with no power circulating within the unit (except maybe for the minimal required to keep its internal clock updated), how could it have burst into flame? A terrible chemical reaction within its non-removable battery? Whatever the cause, that makes the unit a huge flight risk. Flight bans and flight advisories against the unit is bad enough PR for Samsung. Then again, there are times when bad publicity actually makes companies and celebrities shine. One could think of several SNL sketches involving a phone, a terrorist and an airplane. But bad is bad, and Samsung doesn’t want any more of that.
So like in the days of Ancient Egypt, the Galaxy Note 7’s name must be stricken out of all scrolls and carvings to save honor. Kill production, stop distribution and recover all units and destroy all traces. The company will not refurbish returned units but will destroy them. Samsung sent out fireproof boxes complete with gloves to all known/registered Galaxy Note 7 customers so they can send back their beloved Note 7s. Yes, the Note 7 is truly an awesome phone if it wasn’t for the battery issue. Some people even expressed that they’ll keep their Note 7s instead of changing units hoping the problem won’t apply to them. Samsung might actually be in for a few surprises when they open those returned boxes.
Samsung tried to keep things under wraps by not reporting other cases and even trying to keep their complainants busy, but it backfired in spectacular fashion like that epic fail of a text message meant for a higher conspirator but was sent to the complainant in question.
“Just now got this. I can try and slow him down if we think it will matter, or we just let him do what he keeps threatening to do and see if he does it.”
— text by Samsung representative
“It made me think you know they’re not taking this serious enough and it’s time to move on…They’re in kids’ pockets, people’s cars, all kinds of things. We saw with the first ones. Samsung needs to do something to get these off the market.”
— Michael Klering, Note 7 complainant
“We appreciate the patience of our consumers, carrier and retail partners for carrying the burden during these challenging times…We are committed to doing everything we can to make this right.”
— Tim Baxter, Samsung’s US President and CEO
So now, aside from killing production and stopping sales of the Note 7, Samsung is doing all it can to recover all units sold to customers by sending special return boxes and by also offering 100 dollars credit for them to exchange their Note 7 for another Samsung phone, and 25 dollar credit if they change to other brands through their provider. Any more burning units out there will only add fuel to the fire of something the company would rather forget as soon as possible. Samsung stands to lose about 17 billion dollars in production and sales of the Note 7 not to mention the billions more in the decrease of value to their stock.
Battery problems aren’t unique to Samsung. Other companies have had to issue recalls for disastrous releases and survived. Samsung has only had the misfortune of having a product slapped with an FAA warning, publicized cover ups and negative investigations.
Samsung is big enough to eventually survive, may be back to normal if they can launch another game-changing product fast enough before competitive vultures swoop in. Maybe, just maybe, the Note 8 (rebranded to another name) will have removable batteries this time with an elegant back cover to stay classy, as common sense dictates.