Samsung email pointed to Steve Jobs’ death as 'best opportunity to attack iPhone’

A 2011 Samsung email lamented the wave of press coverage over Jobs' passing, calling it an "unintended benefit for Apple."

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

The late Steve Jobs. Credit: Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Samsung's VP of sales operations for its US mobile division saw the reaction to the death of Steve Jobs as an opportune time to strike back at Apple.

In a document revealed this week as part of the current court battle between Apple and Samsung, Michael Pennington, head of national sales for Samsung Telecommunications America (STA), had offered his views as part of an ongoing email chain in 2011.

The news of the document was first reported by AppleInsider early Wednesday morning.

As seen in a copy of the document received by CNET, Pennington made the following comments in a message dated October 7, two days after Jobs passed away:

"Unfortunately, Steve Job's [sic] passing has led to a huge wave of press coverage of Apple's and iPhone's 'superiority,' all created by the 'passionate, tireless, perfectionist...' The point here is that there is an unintended benefit for Apple, since the external messages by 3rd parties are all highlighting and/or supporting the consumer perception that Apple products are superior, since Jobs' was such a visionary and perfectionist. What consumer wouldn't feel great about purchasing a device developed by such a person.

"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. If there is no consensus on the approach I initially proposed, I will stop pushing, but I would like to better understand our strategy so I can align with that."

Apple and Samsung have been waging their latest patent war in a trial that started March 31. The two companies have accused each other of copying certain patented features for their own mobile devices.

Pennington is one of at least five high-ranking executives from Samsung's US mobile business that have left the company or given notice over the past two months, CNET reported earlier this month, citing sources familiar with the departures.