Apple is a different company under Tim Cook than it was under Steve Jobs, but Cupertino’s media relations strategy in large part still amounts to “our way or no way.”
Take, for example, the “bendgate” controversy.
We still can’t figure out why customers should be surprised to learn that every smartphone on the market will bend and even break under intense pressure — but Apple launched a media blitz to counter the headlines. They invited CBS to tour their super-secret testing facility before using a sympathetic article in Bloomberg to pin the blame on one quality assurance guy named Josh (whose name the article mentioned ten times).
As if shaming Josh weren’t enough, the company then revoked the accreditation of Computer Bild, the top European computer magazine that replicated the tests. No more product reviews for those guys.
Now compare that approach to Samsung’s response to the very same story.
Here’s the video that started it, as reported by VentureBeat and others:
So “phones will break under intense pressure” is enough of a revelation to earn more than a million views in four days.
Samsung, however, responded in a slightly more measured way than Apple. The company created its own version of the video yesterday:
…and responded to media outlets this morning with an extensive statement:
Recently, there have been several reports about the durability of smartphones stemming from a You Tube video posted by SquareTrade. It shows several smartphones, including the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge, being bent or broken under high pressure. In this video, the Galaxy S6 edge was broken under the pressure of 110lbf (50kgf), but there are two things that need to be addressed with regard to the video.
First, the video assumes a very specific condition – 110lbf (50kgf), which rarely occurs under normal circumstances. The normal force that generated when a person presses the back pocket is approximately 66lbf (30kgf). Our internal test results indicate that the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge are not bendable even under 79lbf (32kgf), which is equivalent to putting pressure to snap a bundle of five pencils at once.
Secondly, even though both front and back sides are exposed under the same level of pressure in normal circumstances, this test does not show the strength of the back side. Some smartphones have different durability in each the front and back sides respectively. SquareTrade has only tested the front side, which may mislead consumers about the entire durability of smartphones.
For this reason being, Samsung will officially deliver our statement to SquareTrade and ask them to conduct the stress test again which targets both front and back sides, and open the test result to the public.
All our devices are put rigorous high-quality validation tests before they are delivered to consumers. These tests include various conditions, such as dropping, bending, and breakage. And we are confident that all our smartphones are not bendable under daily usage.
We love the “do it the right way this time” message here, but which company handled the “controversy” better?