The high-stakes business world can be a cutthroat place, but these comments made by a Samsung executive shortly after Steve Jobs’ death might make even the most hardened business vet shudder.
In an email dated Oct. 7, 2011 -- just two days after the Apple co-founder's death -- Samsung Telecommunications America’s head of national sales, Michael Pennington, contributed his arguably harsh thoughts to an ongoing thread about advertising against Apple’s image. (As AdAge points out, however, the conversation seems to have started earlier that month.)
Here's a portion from the email, which was made available by the Wall Street Journal:
Unfortunately, Steve Job's passing has led to a huge wave of press coverage of Apple's and iPhone's "superiority," all created by the "passionate, tireless, perfectionist..." The point here is that there is an unintended benefit for Apple, since the external messages by 3rd parties are all highlighting and/or supporting the consumer perception that Apple products are superior, since Jobs' was such a visionary and perfectionist. What consumer wouldn't feel great about purchasing a device developed by such a person.
Sorry to continue to push this issue, but I have seen this far too long and I know this is our best opportunity to attack iPhone. If there is no consensus on the approach I initially proposed, I will stop pushing, but I would like to better understand our strategy so I can align with that. [all sic]
A Samsung representative could not be reached for comment.
As CNET notes, the emails were made public as part of an ongoing court case between Apple and Samsung. The documents were entered into evidence by Apple as result of the latest court battle, which began on March 31, according to Fortune.
In April 2011, the two tech giants became locked in an ongoing patent lawsuit when Apple sued Samsung for trademark infringement on several of its intellectual properties. Since then, the two have been locked in legal struggles in various courts.