June 14, 2012, 12:22 PM — Is Samsung building its own Facebook killer social network? That’s the rumor circulating on the InterWebs – or at least it was, until Samsung shot it down early this morning.
It started with a Korea Times article published two days ago about a Samsung product called “Family Story” that was allegedly referred to within Samsung as “Samsung Facebook.” Family Story is a way for users of Samsung products to share photos and other content between their Samsung phones, cameras, Blu Ray players, Smart TVs, and Smart refrigerators (yes, really).
That Korea Times story – or rather, its English language translation – found its way onto the Boy Genius Report, a rumor blog not known for its assiduous fact checking. Fox News picked up the BGR story from there, and the Internet rumor mill was off to the races.
My guess is that something got lost in the translation between the Korean language version of that KT story and the English one.
I had the pleasure of touring Samsung’s headquarters and manufacturing facilities as a guest of the company a few years ago. It was fascinating insight into both the culture of South Korea and of the company itself, which are closely intertwined. And I learned a few things that would make me instantly suspicious of a story like this one:
1. Samsung makes everything.
We only see some of the products they build over here, but in South Korea they are a vital part of virtually every industry, as well as accounting for nearly one quarter of all Korean exports.
I’ve never seen a single company play such a huge role in a country’s economy. It would be as if GM or Exxon accounted for a quarter of our gross domestic product. I felt like I wasn’t visiting the Republic of South Korea, I was visiting the Republic of Samsung.
True, Samsung also likes to design their own software and services – like Family Story. But what they don’t do is compete head on with other makers of software or services. (That sounds like something Sony would do, and do badly.)
Samsung’s in the manufacturing biz. They build software and services to complement their devices and make them more useful. Period.
2. Samsung works with everyone.