Even Samsung’s CEO is embarrassed by the Galaxy Fold

By Jared Newman

Samsung is giving contrition a try as the launch of its Galaxy Fold smartphone remains in limbo. In an interview with The Independent and other outlets, Samsung Electronics CEO DJ Koh took the blame for rushing the company’s first foldable phone to market. “It was embarrassing,” Koh said. “I pushed it through before it was ready.”

The Galaxy Fold is a smartphone with a flexible screen that unfolds to become a small tablet. It was supposed to arrived in April, at least in limited quantities, but Samsung delayed the launch indefinitely after reviewers reported that their screens were breaking. Samsung has not canceled the Galaxy Fold, and Koh says “mass volume testing is ongoing,” but the company hasn’t announced a new release date. Whether the phone ends up shipping or not, Samsung is pushing ahead with the technology, as Koh believes foldable displays will be important for future Samsung products such as wearables.

This is hardly the first time Samsung—or any tech company, for that matter—has apologized for botching a product launch. In 2016, the company took out full-page apology ads in major papers for the Galaxy Note7, whose batteries were prone to catching fire or exploding, and Apple CEO Tim Cook apologized in 2012 for the disastrous launch of Apple Maps. Microsoft also apologized in 2007 for widespread Xbox 360 hardware failures, as indicated by the infamous “Red Ring of Death” light pattern on the console’s front panel.

It’s rare, however, for companies to acknowledge rushing the product as the source of their problems. At a time when we’re questioning the Silicon Valley wisdom of moving fast and breaking things, maybe that’s starting to change.


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