Samsung has passed final judgement on the arson prone Note 7. And the sentence is death.
Although roughly 90 percent of the phones have been returned to the company plenty of people are still carrying around the Galaxy Note 7. Soon the phone will be absolutely useless. In a statement issued Friday Samsung announced that it will release the software equivalent of a lethal injection to U.S. distributed Note 7 phones. The software update will prevent the phone from charging or working as mobile devices. Basically once the battery dies the phone is is dead forever. Remember Samsung recalled the phone because of explosions and fires. Because of this the FAA decided the phone was a hazard to aviation safety. A little over a month ago Samsung used software that capped charging on the Note 7 at 60 percent.
Samsung offered owners of the phone financial incentives to exchange their phones. Samsung has also issued updates in various countries that crippled, but didn’t kill, the phone. But Samsung customers are a loyal and hardy bunch and there are still people that have decided to keep their explosive devices…err phones.
But the day of reckoning is here. Samsung has spoken; Death to the Note 7.
Here is the full statement from Samsung.
“Consumer safety remains our highest priority and we’ve had overwhelming participation in the U.S. Note7 Refund and Exchange Program so far, with more than 93 percent of all recalled Galaxy Note7 devices returned.
To further increase participation, a software update will be released starting on December 19th and will be distributed within 30 days. This software update will prevent U.S. Galaxy Note7 devices from charging and will eliminate their ability to work as mobile devices. Together with our carrier partners, we will be notifying consumers through multiple touchpoints to encourage any remaining Galaxy Note7 owners to participate in the program and to take advantage of the financial incentives available.
Anyone who has not yet returned their device should immediately power it down and contact their carrier to obtain a refund or exchange, or visit our website at Samsung.com/us/note7recall for more information.”
But is the sentence final? Apparently not. The Verge is reporting that Verizon is refusing to pass along the update to the Note 7 on it’s network. According to a Verizon statement killing the phone poses a risk to Galaxy Note 7 owners who do not have another phone.
The statement went on to say, “We will not push a software upgrade that will eliminate the ability for the Note 7 to work as a mobile device in the heart of the holiday travel season. We do not want to make it impossible to contact family, first responders or medical professionals in an emergency situation.”
Breaking It Down
Ok, so this looks like the makings of a pretty good legal fight. It looks a though Samsung is doing the right thing by recalling the Note 7. They understand that the defect in the phone is dangerous and could potentially kill someone. They have taken urgent measures to get the dangerous device off the market. Its the right thing to do.
So the question is all about liability. And lawyers love that. Verizon, a retail distributor of the product, is refusing efforts by the manufacturer to get a defective product off the market. Is Verizon liable if the recalled Samsung phone catches fire onboard a plane causing it to crash? Or is Samsung liable if the phone suddenly dies and someone is unable to call the police or ambulance?
This is a dangerous game of chicken being played by two huge corporations. Both companies have a responsibility to the safety and satisfaction of their customers. Both companies believed they are doing the right thing. Verizon wants to protect its customer from sudden outages and Samsung wants to avoid more lawsuits from sudden fires.
But the bottom line is that Samsung has the upper hand here. Why? Because Samsung will recover and probably release a kick-ass phone in the future. If Verizon refuses to play ball then Samsung may refuse to provide Verizon with the new phone in the future. That is a powerful incentive for Verizon to get those phone back. Let’s face reality, people love a new cellphone. Thats why they are constantly being updated and new models hit the market so often. If you don’t have the gadget then your customers go where they can get it. Verizon can’t afford that in the competitive cellphone service market. Get those phones back Verizon.