One day in March 2011, cars carrying investigators from Korea’s
anti-trust regulator pulled up outside a Samsung facility in
Suwon, about 25 miles south of Seoul. They were there ready to
raid the building, looking for evidence of possible collusion
between the company and wireless operators to fix the prices of
Before the investigators could get inside, security guards
approached and refused to let them through the door. A standoff
ensued, and the investigators called the police, who finally got
them inside after a 30-minute delay. Curious about what had been
happening in the plant as they cooled their heels outside, the
officials seized video from internal security cameras. What they
saw was almost beyond belief.
Upon getting word that investigators were outside, employees at
the plant began destroying documents and switching computers,
replacing the ones that were being used — and might have damaging
material on them — with others.
A year later, Korean newspapers reported that the government had
fined Samsung for obstructing the investigation at the facility.
At the time, a legal team representing Apple was in Seoul to take
depositions in the Samsung case, and they read about the standoff.
From what they heard, one of the Samsung employees there had even
swallowed documents before the investigators were allowed in. That
certainly didn’t bode well for Apple’s case; how, the Apple
lawyers said half-jokingly among themselves, could they possibly
compete in a legal forum with employees who were so loyal to the
company that they were willing to eat incriminating evidence?
Eichenwald’s is the best overview of the Apple-Samsung rivalry I’ve seen; nothing else even comes close.