Samsung blames Galaxy Note 7 fires on faulty batteries

SEOUL: The world’s biggest smartphone maker Samsung blamed faulty batteries on Monday for the fires that hit its flagship Galaxy Note 7 device last year, as it sought to draw a line under the humiliating recall.
Samsung Electronics was forced to discontinue the smartphone, originally intended to compete with Apple’s iPhone, after a chaotic recall that saw replacement devices also catching fire.
The debacle cost the South Korean company billions in lost profit and reputational damage, during a torrid period when it has also been embroiled in a corruption scandal that has seen President Park Geun-Hye impeached.
Internal and independent investigations “concluded that batteries were found to be the cause of the Note 7 incidents”, Samsung said in a statement.
“We sincerely apologise for the discomfort and concern we have caused to our customers,” Koh Dong-Jin, the head of its mobile business, said bowing before hundreds of reporters and cameramen at a press conference in Seoul.
Samsung Electronics is the most prominent unit of the giant Samsung group, South Korea’s largest conglomerate with a revenue equivalent to about a fifth of the country’s GDP.
It announced a recall of 2.5 million units of the oversized Galaxy Note 7 in September 2016 after several devices exploded or caught fire, with the company blaming batteries from a supplier, widely believed to be its sister firm Samsung SDI.
When replacement phones — with batteries from another firm, largely thought to be Chinese manufacturer ATL — also started to combust, the company decided to kill off the Note 7 for good.— AFP