More on iFixit Pulling Its Galaxy Fold Teardown

Dieter Bohn, writing at The Verge:

Why is Samsung doing this? We’ve asked for comment, obviously, but we suspect an answer may not be forthcoming. That leaves us with a whole pile of possible reasons we can only speculate on.

On the charitable end of the interpretation scale is that Samsung is definitely reworking the Fold, the design will change, and Samsung doesn’t want to have a teardown out there for a device it isn’t ever going to ship. Possibilities get successively less charitable from there.

I don’t think that’s it. Who pulls a review? No one. It doesn’t matter — from iFixit’s perspective — if Samsung wants it pulled.

Perhaps the partner who provided the Fold to iFixit wasn’t supposed to, and Samsung is just enforcing a contract.

I think that last bit is close, but not quite right. The exact wording of iFixit’s explanation for pulling the teardown is worth parsing:

We were provided our Galaxy Fold unit by a trusted partner. Samsung has requested, through that partner, that iFixit remove its teardown. We are under no obligation to remove our analysis, legal or otherwise. But out of respect for this partner, whom we consider an ally in making devices more repairable, we are choosing to withdraw our story until we can purchase a Galaxy Fold at retail.

My bet is that their “partner” is in hot water with Samsung over their having handed the Fold unit over to iFixit. iFixit knows pulling the teardown makes them look bad, like they’re caving in to a demand from Samsung, but they’re doing it anyway to protect or perhaps even as a favor to this “ally in making devices more repairable”, a description I suspect might mean “someone who has in the past and might again in the future get us early access to hardware through unofficial channels”.

I.e., iFixit is doing a favor for their source, not a favor for Samsung, even though they know some will see it as a favor for Samsung.

Alternatively, the really bad look for iFixit is that their “partner” is a marketing firm that is also a partner for Samsung, and getting pre-retail-availability to iFixit was originally part of the marketing rollout for the Fold and iFixit is really just going along with this so that they keep getting pre-retail-availability access to Samsung devices.

It’s a bit inside baseball but the whole thing is just weird, because, as I said at the top, reviews just don’t get pulled unless the review itself — not the product — is flawed.

Friday, 26 April 2019