Public scorn greets LG and Samsung's storm in a washing drum

Wed Dec 31, 2014 12:18am EST
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By Se Young Lee

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea's two top technology firms, Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics, have a history of bitter rivalry, but their latest spat over a handful of washing machines has prompted a barrage of public mockery.

“This is all so petty and juvenile,” a reader on online portal Naver said of the dispute, which began in September when Samsung accused LG executives of damaging its washing machines at stores in Germany ahead of an industry event.

LG agreed to pay for what it called accidental damage to four machines following mediation by German authorities, but couldn't resist taking a pot shot at its rival's build quality.

Samsung railed against those "slanderous claims" and filed a formal complaint at home, triggering a raid of LG offices by Seoul prosecutors on Friday and a travel ban on LG's head of household appliances.

"This is a mudslinging match," said Park Ju-gun, head of corporate watchdog CEO Score.

"Both Samsung and LG will have a hard time getting the public to understand why things have gone on this way, and there is not a single thing for either party to gain from this."

That bemusement, punctuated by a collective snicker, found a voice online.

“If all that has been said is true, then this is nothing but a petty dispute you’d expect from street corner shops and not global companies,” said a reader on the Nate portal.   Continued...

Samsung washing machines are seen as an employee inspects refrigerators at a Samsung display store in Johannesburg, October 3, 2013. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko