Secretive Samsung denies plans for Facebook-like service

June 14, 2012

Samsung issued a statement Tuesday dispelling rumors that it’s working to build a Facebook-like social networking site of its own.

After the Korea Times reported that Samsung had its sights set on making a social media service that worked across different devices and platforms, the world’s largest handset manufacturer had to rush to let people know that it wasn’t going to be anything like Facebook.

“There have been inquiries and a few articles claiming that Samsung Electronics is going to offer a Facebook-like service, being developed under a code-name called ‘Samsung Facebook,” the company wrote in a blog post. “However this is not true and the rumor is groundless.”

The company did say that it is working on building up its Family Story network, which allows Samsung users to share content between smart TVs, smartphones, tablets and the Web.

“This service, like its name, is a family-oriented convergence service that focuses on sharing and storing families’ special moments. It is true that we currently are working on upgrading ‘Family Story’ as we always thrive to provide consumers with enhanced experiences, but this is far from a “Samsung Faceboook” as some are claiming it to be,” the company said.

Samsung has stepped up the secrecy of its development process, particularly on smartphones, USA Today reported, and was proud that it was able to keep so much information about its new Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone a secret ahead of its launch in May.

“Just about everything about the Galaxy S III, including patents and technology used on the device, was top secret,” the company said in a separate blog post.

Engineers couldn’t even tell their family and friends about their work, which caused some strife for Samsung employees. Sometimes, they couldn’t even tell their fellow employees what was truly going on with the phone.

Principal Engineer ByungJoon Lee said, “The Procurement Department had to set a price for the Galaxy S III and purchase the materials based on our verbal explanations. It was hard for everyone I guess.”

Samsung even made dummy prototypes of the phone, including fake versions of the antenna to throw any would-be leakers off the trail.

Apple has also reportedly tested versions of its iPhone with dummy cases to prevent leaks while testing its phones with carriers.

Related stories:

Samsung Galaxy S III, sans quad-core, hits five U.S. carriers

Apple’s MacBook Pro: Review roundup

Nokia to cut 10,000 jobs by the end of 2013

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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