King Canute was an old English regent who thought his power was so absolute, he could command the tides. According to legend, he placed his throne by the sea shore and ordered the water to stand still. Of course, the water paid no attention. When the tide came in, Canute ended up wearing damp robes and looking awfully silly.
Bear with me, but I think Samsung is a bit like King Canute the Great.
According to an article from the Korea Herald, Samsung is desperately trying to stop leaks about its upcoming Galaxy S8 handset, which is expected to be unveiled next February.
In an email sent to Samsung executives and employees, the company said that “leaks of operational secrets can cause irreversible ramifications, posing a great financial risk on the company and leading to broken partnerships and loss of trust.” The email concluded by urging employees to be extra vigilant.
Samsung is also trying to stop leaks coming from suppliers. One parts supplier, speaking anonymously to the Korea Herald, said “Samsung has notified its suppliers not to mention a single word on the Galaxy S8.”
You should bear in mind that this was a company wide email. It’s probable that Samsung is taking an even harder line with those who have a more involved role in the development of the device.
I must admit, I smiled when read the Korea Herald article.
Consumer tech is an incredibly porous business. Attempting to control the flow of leaks is a bit like trying to control the flow of the ocean. In a word, futile.
There are just too many variables to control. Too many moving parts. Samsung is a company with almost half a million employees and hundreds of suppliers. It takes just one to slip up for a leak to happen.
Even Apple, which is renowned for its trademark opacity, isn’t invulnerable. Just look at the iPhone 7. In the run-up to its launch, we learned almost everything about it, to the point where there were few surprises on September 7.
It could be argued that leaks are ultimately a good thing for manufacturers. They generate column inches, speculation, and commentary. In turn, this builds excitement and awareness, which ultimately translates into sales.
Even a humble technology reporter can see this. So, why can’t Samsung?