‘Packed It With So Much Innovation’

The concluding paragraphs of Brian X. Chen and Choe Sang-Hun’s report for The New York Times on how Samsung came to the decision to completely abort the Galaxy Note 7:

“It was too quick to blame the batteries; I think there was nothing wrong with them or that they were not the main problem,” said Park Chul-wan, former director of the Center for Advanced Batteries at the Korea Electronics Technology Institute, who said he reviewed the regulatory agency’s documents.

It did not help that the hundreds of Samsung testers trying to pinpoint the problem could not easily communicate with one another: Fearing lawsuits and subpoenas, Samsung told employees involved in the testing to keep communications about the tests offline — meaning no emails were allowed, according to the person briefed on the process.

Mr. Park said he had talked with some Samsung engineers but none seemed to know what happened, nor were they able to replicate the problem. Replication would have been quick and easy if the problem was with the chip board and designs, he said.

“The problem seems to be far more complex,” Mr. Park said in a phone interview. “The Note 7 had more features and was more complex than any other phone manufactured. In a race to surpass iPhone, Samsung seems to have packed it with so much innovation it became uncontrollable.”

“Packed it with so much innovation it became uncontrollable” is a very odd quote to include. This sounds more like a statement from Samsung PR than from an objective outsider. And you would think that a company-wide edict to keep all communication about the investigation offline would merit more than a passing reference.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016