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Samsung Went on the Offensive After Steve Jobs’ Death

iphone 4s vs galaxy s4 samsung ad

When Steve Jobs passed away in 2011 Apple fans around the world mourned the loss, but it turns out one of the company’s biggest rivals was also taking notice. Internal Samsung emails unearthed in its ongoing patent trial with Apple reveal how the South Korean titan reacted to the death of Steve Jobs as well as its marketing strategy for the Galaxy S II.

In an email chain from early October 2011 obtained by Apple Insider, Samsung executives note that Jobs’ death led to a “huge wave of press coverage” for the iPhone 4s. The new Apple smartphone had been announced a day before the CEO’s death and went on to grab over one million pre-orders. Meanwhile, Samsung was quickly running out of time to launch a counter-attack.

“Sorry to continue to push this issue, but I have seen this far too long and I know this is our best opportunity to attack iPhone,” wrote Michael Pennington, then serving as Samsung’s vice president of sales operations and head of America sales.

apple vs samsung internal email

The same Samsung email also reveals that the company struggled to get Google to “carry their own weight” in the war against Apple. Pennington notes that Siri, a new feature introduced with the iPhone 4S, could potentially cut back on the use of Google services on Apple devices. As such, Samsung appears to have considered approaching Google for help in attacking iOS together, though it’s unclear if the two teamed up to do so.

The Galaxy S II went on to become the fourth best selling smartphone in the U.S. behind the three most recent iPhones at the time. Samsung ultimately took a few shots at the iPhone 4s including a Facebook post comparing the handset to an early cellphone and a pair of cans connected by string. Marketing for the Galaxy S series was just gearing up though, and it would take a few more years before Apple really started to take notice of Samsung’s ads.


Jacob Kleinman

Jacob Kleinman has been working as a journalist online and in print since he arrived at Wesleyan University in 2007. After graduating, he took a...