Following an investigation that took months, Samsung Electronics has revealed the root causes behind those exploding Note 7 phones: design and manufacturing flaws associated with the lithium-ion batteries used in the phones, which were produced by Samsung’s battery suppliers.
The company released the findings at a press conference in Seoul late Sunday.
Samsung conducted its own internal investigation to determine why some of the devices caught fire, and hired the UL safety consulting firm and the Exponent engineering and scientific consulting firm to conduct their own independent tests. Another independent firm, Germany’s TUV Rheinland, was brought on to assess Samsung’s factories and logistics.
The Note 7 debacle has been a black eye for Samsung. The phones had to be recalled not once, but twice, before ultimately being put out to pasture. The episode damaged the Samsung brand and cost the company at least $5.3 billion.
Samsung certainly doesn’t want any hangover effect as it readies its next big flagship phone, likely the Galaxy S8 that is expected to be released in the spring.
“It was a very tough several months for us. Clearly its impact to the consumers, its impact on channel partners and impact on our employees is not insignificant and we embrace that and we own that,” Tim Baxter, President and Chief Operating Officer of Samsung Electronics America told USA TODAY in an interview. “We’ve learned quite a bit about crisis management in the past few months.”
Added Samsung’s Korea-based mobile chief DJ Koh, who also spoke to USA TODAY, “We are working around the clock to get back our business, to deliver the best product and get our customers’ trust back.”
Samsung has been successful in getting the faulty phones back — the company says 97% of the Note 7 phones have been returned, with more than half of the remaining 3% off the network. That’s far above typical product recall return rates.
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SOURCE: USA Today, Edward C. Baig