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Samsung increasingly under siege, Lee says

Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee on Thursday said Samsung was coming under intense scrutiny from more and more firms, saying it was not only Apple, but even those outside the IT industry trying to keep his company at bay.

“It’s a matter of (wanting) to hammer in a protruding nail,” Lee told reporters during a rare visit to Samsung Electronics headquarters in Seocho-dong, southern Seoul. He also said he was briefed on company matters from his executives.

“Some of (what I heard) was new to me,” Lee said.
Lee Kun-hee
Lee Kun-hee

Samsung Electronics and Apple Inc., the world’s leading IT heavyweights, have recently engaged in a publicized tussle over copyright.

Apple filed a lawsuit against the South Korean IT giant last week seeking injunctions, actual damages and punitive damages for alleged copyright infringement.

In a tit-for-tat move, Samsung immediately said it was counter-suing, claiming that Apple infringed its communications technology.

Experts interpreted the spat to be a reflection of the insecurity each feels toward the other’s new flagship smart devices.

Samsung is to launch its Galaxy S 2 smartphone next week, while Apple is expected to release its iPhone 5 later in the year, possibly in September, according to industry sources.

Samsung, left to bite the dust in the wake of Apple’s strong lead in smart devices for the past few years, has been pinning big hopes on Galaxy S 2.

Apple has been noting the competition, and not with pleasure. Steve Jobs last month said “this was a year of copycats,” indicating that Samsung had ripped off Apple’s iPad with its Galaxy Tab.

But industry watchers forecast a quick resolution of the legal squabble, citing the inter-dependence of the two sides; after Sony, Apple is Samsung’s largest client.

Samsung, on the other hand, supplies half of Apple’s NAND memory chips.

Thursday marked Lee’s first visit since December. The chairman was accompanied by his only son Jae-yong who was promoted to president at Samsung Electronics last year.

By Kim Ji-hyun (jemmie@heraldcorp.com)
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