Samsung has been fined $340,000 after being caught paying for negative comments about competitor products and paying for praise of its own. To a company like Samsung, $340,000 is nothing at all but this could damage its reputation. Samsung was first accused of this back in April, shortly after, the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission announced it would investigate the claims.
Samsung used a large number of its own employees and writers to post in Taiwanese forums, which FTC found was done through a third party marketing company. Two local marketing firms were also fined $100,000 each for taking part in Samsung's scheme.
Since the Galaxy S2 and S3 were so popular it seems odd that the company felt threatened enough to resort to these tactics. HTC seemed to be the main victim here, with most of the competition denouncing comments being aimed at the popular HTC One device.
In the official report HTC wasn't specifically mentioned but it did say that Samsung paid people to “highlight the shortcomings of competing products.” Positive comments about Samsung's own products included: “disinfection of negative news about Samsung products, palindromic Samsung product marketing and the positive evaluation of Samsung products.”
This only happened in Taiwan so either Samsung was worried about losing that market or it just hasn't been caught doing this in other territories.
This isn't a good streak the company's on, first it was caught cheating on benchmarks and now it has been caught being anti-competitive. It all makes the phone maker seem a bit shady and to top it off it was all unnecessary, as the phones it makes are good and tend to sell very well, year on year.
KitGuru Says: It's a shame to see these kinds of dodgy business practices when more money could have been spent on making products better or maybe even getting the latest Android version out anywhere near on time.
Source: The Verge