More details on Samsung’s purported plan to kill unofficial accessories

by: Bogdan PetrovanOctober 23, 2013

samsung galaxy note 3 cover accessories aa 9

A report emerged yesterday in Korean media alleging that Samsung plans to fit chargers, smart covers, and other accessories with ID chips, in order to curtail the sales of unofficial accessories.

Now ETNews returns with an English language report that sheds a bit more light on what’s going on. Note that, to our knowledge, Samsung hasn’t yet confirmed or denied the information in the reports, so we treat it like a rumor for now. We’ve reached out for comment, but haven’t heard back so far.

Accessories lacking the authorization chip won't work

Samsung has reportedly already kicked off the plan to put ID chips in accessories, with the Note 3 being the pilot device for the program. ETNews cites industry sources saying Samsung has already distributed authorization chips to its own accessory making unit and suppliers and made their installation mandatory. Smart covers or wireless chargers that lack the chip won’t work as intended, but it’s not clear what other types of accessories will be fitted with chips.

But why would Samsung take this radical step? The phone maker is reportedly planning to develop its own accessory business, at a time when market saturation has dampened revenue growth in the handset business. Unlike smartphones, Samsung can reap relatively high profit margins from accessories, which is why the Korean giant is doubling down on the business. To boost accessories sales, Samsung is even considering stopping bundling a second battery or earphones with its devices.

Understandably, Samsung’s move worries small accessory makers, who have to compete for a place on Samsung’s supplier roster or otherwise give up the business. It’s not clear whether Samsung will have a licensing program in place for partners.

For consumers, the effects may be a mixed blessing – removing third-party manufacturers from the market will increase prices, but on the bright side, the quality of accessories may increase. In theory, the number of accidents caused by faulty or improper accessories should also drop.

If the report turns out to be accurate, Samsung may face some serious backlash, similar to the negative reaction to the regional locking of the Note 3. Nevertheless, the Korean conglomerate seems determined to get an iron grip on all aspects of its business, at a time when continued growth is no longer guaranteed.

  • Leonivek

    Then I plan to never buy a Samsung device again.

    • goppothegreat

      such a shame Samsung has done so well up to now but to go down apple’s route of making standard accessories not work unless they make money from them is out of order , i have a s4 and if they do this Samsung can go f*** themselves as i wont touch them again.

    • Siralf

      They are full of themselves, they are ruinning the distinctive feature of android: Freeeeeedom!!!

    • Perry Kahai, Ph.D.

      Me, too. They are trying to be like the “other” arrogant and “control freak” phone maker!

    • On a Clear Day

      Well, maybe they will and maybe they won’t – given this article gives nothing particularly concrete to latch on to perhaps before we proclaim “the sky is falling” we should wait and see for sure?

      If Samsung does this though – I agree – they will be going/starting down the same ugly, constricting, manipulative, diabolic and anti-freedom road that others who have earned their despicability creds – Apple and Sony as perfect examples spring to mind unbidden – as ones who have done and do anything and everything they can to “lock” you up in their respective evil empires from whence escape is supposed to be impossible and against which “resistance is futile”. SMS

      Let us hope that wiser heads will prevail at Samsung and they will realize that the best way to keep the best and brightest working for them and to attract the best and brightest consumers is not to constrict and restrict and coerce allegiance by eliminating options, but rather to continue to create, innovate and fascinate us with new and better things that make it impossible for us not to love their offerings.

  • APai

    time to swiftly kick samsung in the butt.

  • TechGuy

    I am currently typing this on what may be my last Samsung device.

    Products should stand or fall on their own merits. Competition is healthy and keeps companies like Samsung on their toes.

    • toboev

      …and ultimately competition is what keeps them in business. If they rely on protectionism to keep the profits flowing they will inevitably fall behind the curve, and when the protection gives out they will hit the wall, hard.

    • AndresM

      So they will come region locked and also accessory locked. Are we going to have to pay a tax for the privilege of using a Samsung? Crazy companies.

  • cvgordo

    i guess i’ll miss my non oem batteries but i understand samsung has to protect itself from cheap batteries blowing up and such. i don’t have the official smart cover or anything like that so they get a pass from me on this one.

    • APai

      the thing is really, companies getting greedy. $30 for a standard $2 phone case ? that’s like apple! samsung is just getting greedy, and following apple’s greed

      • Isaac Gacura

        not speaking in their defense but a $2 case will never compare to a more expensive one.

        • APai

          I think you got me wrong , I was mentioning the cost of production for those expensive cases. unlike the phones, cases inherently do not have any fancy expensive parts on it. its just that the companies found a nice way to mint money. It’s okay to have it as a “trusted” accessory, but when they make it mandatory that ONLY their signed products play well with the phones – then we have trouble.

          random explosions due to fake batteries are a nice ruse to foist “TPM” model onto their unsuspecting consumers.

    • toboev

      Why does Samsung have to protect themselves from non-Samsung batteries blowing up? Nobody is going to blame Honda if a Toyota blows up.
      They also said the region-locking was implemented for “the customers’ benefit”. You need to stay awake when they are telling you lies.

      • Isaac Gacura

        because they have been put in the spotlight several times due to an exploding non oem battery..

        • toboev

          And it is equally widely known that it was likely a non-oem battery, reputation restored. But this latest move is already damaging their reputation, compounding their mistake over region-locking. And since this action is deliberate and premeditated it will be much harder for Samsung to shake-off the damage to their image. A rogue battery, especially if it is found to be non-OEM, is soon forgotten and forgiven. Malice aforethought is not. They are spending more capital than they are gaining by this action.

          • APai

            article like these help in taming samsung. if there’s a healthy debate, I guess samsung would be at the receiving end of their greed.

      • cvgordo

        wasn’t there just a story about a battery in an s4 blowing up? and then it only came out later that it was a non oem battery. obviously samsung can’t be held liable for that but the damage in public perception may have already been done.

        • toboev

          But have you noticed how everybody actually does know it was a non-oem battery?
          Again, watch for the lies and follow the money.

  • mobilemann

    lol, samsung turned into apple so much quicker than apple turned into MS.

    it’s a cycle!

    you know what’s really cute? People who think other OEMs wouldn’t do the same thing if they had the chance.

    Feel bad for those kids, lol

    • APai

      as long as customers turn their backs and speak up, companies will behave, or else, anyone can be a sheep and the companies would gladly screw their customers

      • mobilemann

        Lol, I wish it was like that, (and for example, i’m on the signature list for AT&T to unlock the notes 3’s bootloader) but you know how many other people have signed that? about 300, and at&t will sell how many of those phones?

        Do you see how small the number of people is who actually rise up against this?

        so long as your general person doesn’t care, this will continue.

        Here’s hoping i’m wrong, and samsung is kicked in the nuts for this behavior. However, in a years time, imo, they will still be the dominant OEM.

        • AndroidShiz

          We need something like that for carrier apps.

          • mobilemann

            if it makes you feel better, even the note 3 on verizon and at&t (both locked bootloaders) are rooted ~ titanium backup had no problems freezing (or removing) all those apps.

    • MasterMuffin

      Yup companies are always companies, profit first if possible

  • PHP Moz

    Samsung will lose a lot of customers based on this decision.

    • Harry

      I bet you a trillion dollars that it will have zero impact on their phone sales

      • APai

        “zero impact ” it will not be. but yeah – the average joe wouldnt know what hit him until his battery goes kaput, and he has to buy a “standard” accessory.
        that’s why geeks raising a stink about unfair practices is SO important

  • Nitesh

    Looks like Samsung is becoming greedy now and putting off their loyal fans.

  • FL Guy

    Yeah, my first thought was “never again’ for Samsung when reading this. And I still might join the boycott that I imagine many are considering …

    Some additional info fwiw – a while ago Sony and Panasonic (at least) started doing this with camera batteries, and I figured that meant only outrageously priced batteries would be available, and I almost passed on the cameras based on this.

    Turns out I was wrong, and inexpensive third party batteries that work perfectly were and are still available.

    I don’t know whether the OEMs shared the spec, or the third party mfgs reverse engineered it, or what, but the bottom line is that safe, reliable, compatible batteries are still available – and work as well or better than the OEM batteries as far as I can tell.

    I hope that this will be the case here also. So before we lynch (or boycott) Samsung, it might be worth understanding whether the third parties will be licensed at a reasonable price & terms (unlike say, Apple) – or not.

    Still not excited about the idea, but wanting to know more as I was _about_ to buy a Note 3, and this could be a deal breaker if implemented badly… (I have no affiliation with anyone btw)

  • Balraj

    It will back fire n Samsung will move back to the basics
    Sometimes ppl like learning it the hard way

    • alleyway

      Almost all phone maker nowadays like to learn the hard way.
      Nokia, Blackberry, HTC, Sony, to name a few..
      Good thing with Sony they realize their mistake and making a come back.


    And memory cards? Lanyards? They’re accessories, too. =D

  • Harry

    In some countries, this would not be acceptable. EU regulates these things very strictly, if I am not wrong. They had all manufacturers come up with a standard mechanism to charge the phone (USB) and manufacturers that did not comply (Apple) had to distribute a accessory to comply (

    While there is a case to be made for “authorized” accessories, it cannot be at the cost of increased cost to the consumer.

    I wonder how the EU/FTC will react to this.

  • RanRu

    Excuse me while I am just disgusted and appalled.

  • Groud Frank

    Doesn’t bother me one bit and that is because I swore off Samsung devices a while ago. They are becoming more and more greedy.

  • Count Von Count

    Good job I’ve got a Nexus 4 then!

  • Nathan Powell

    Unless this is only on things that can really mess the phone up like chargers (unlikley) this is the beginning of the end for Samsung, seems good timing for Newkia (or whatever it will be) to mop up the pieces

  • dave homeless

    meet the new boss, same as the old boss

  • jlninja

    You wrongly assume in your article that noone makes accesories high quality except samsung. I for 1 will never buy a apple-ized phone. If they go this route my next phone will be anything BUT Samsung.

  • AndroidShiz

    If they can do this without charging $30 for a USB cord then I’m OK with it. Other than a spare battery, cases, tempured glass screen protectors, headphones, and various Bluetooth items, I don’t buy many accessories. If they wanna go hard, I’d like to see them tell the carriers no more uninstallable carrier apps.

  • AndroidShiz

    Smart covers on phones are dumb. When I see them they look cool until the person actually has to answer a call. Then they look awkward and just dumb.

  • D’Ander McSullivan

    Wow, if this cames out to be true (which most likely will), my Note 2 will be my last Samsung phone ever.

  • Harry

    #android #freedom #korea #designedbysamsunginseoul #YOU-ESS-AYE!! #freedom #holdingusback #rage-against-the-machine #iSheep #sSheep #rulebyfear #downwithcommunism #downwithcapitalism #freedom #cagedanimals #techbubble #theman…

    Why are android users such fear mongers and think that pro-profit companies (i.e. every company that ever existed in the history of the planet) are sinister and evil? Every other company would do the same thing if they had the option to do so and anyone who thinks otherwise or who think that Android OEM’s truly want to push open enterprise and in reality don’t wish they could be in Apple’s position is ignorant. Other OEM’s use Android to power their smartphones out of necessity not because they’re Robin Hood aficionados and want to share the wealth with each other while they hold hands around camp fires singing kumbaya.

    I own a small grocery store and after expenses, wages, etc. make a very average and modest income to support my family. I work 60 hours a week and manage to keep my head above water for the most part. If I could find a way to draw more money from my business I would do so in a heartbeat. Does that make me evil?

    • toboev

      So you are saying if you could somehow ‘fix’ the market, keep the prices customers have to pay artificially high, prevent free market competition, etc – not that you can, but if you could – well that would make your life easier and so that makes it OK, and therefore it is OK for Samsung to do likewise – which they can, so it appears. Nice logic.

      • Harry

        They have a right to supplement THEIR own proprietary products with THEIR own proprietary accessories. Yes that is correct. Just as anyone else has a right to purchase a license from Samsung or find a way to legally circumvent any measures Samsung take to proprietarize their products and release third party accessories.

        What logic is there in spending tens or indeed hundreds of millions of dollars in R&D in order to push the envelope and make ever-improving products that take things to a new level for consumers if one cannot proprietarize the end product of their efforts and protect their investment in order to recoup their initial outlay and stay in business?

        I’m not saying that I like it or that its going to benefit consumers who want cheap accessories to protect their gadgets. But my liking the idea of it has nothing to do with the fact that is perfectly reasonable for a company to protect its intellectual property and to maximise the earnings potential of its own inventions.

        • toboev

          Nobody is stealing their IP.

          • Harry

            no, just profiting from it.

    • APai

      what samsung is doing is a classic monopolistic move – it’s not illegal, but it certainly is bordering on it. they are capitalizing on their market share and making maximum moolah. people assume that samsung is playing well, and they change tactics mid way. especially in the case of note 3 – it was sold under the premise that batteries and accessories were standard parts – that could be replaced by oem stuff (lots of people do that, and not every oem is a fraud, its just lithium ion battery, not space tech). however, it turns out that its not as straight forward and customers might feel shafted.

  • Dusan

    That’s ok.
    But remember one thing. You, the consumer, is the one in charge. You stop buying Samsung phones, they will start behaving.
    As long as you suck it up and become a sheep, they will fix prices and do as they please.
    I for once won’t be buying another Samsung if they continue down this route.

  • Bomj

    Oh please… We’ll just root the hell out of it.

  • Apple Stoloc

    Shame on Samsung… Coincidentally, I am currently in the market for a new phone.

  • terminator

    I remember saying it before the S4 was released, not only is Samsung becoming another Apple, they will be worse. And folks in AA dissed me cos of it. Now who’s laughing? My Note 2 is the last Samsung device I’ll ever own.
    Pride goes before a fall. Samsung is going to die pretty soon if they don’t stop this stupidity

  • AndresM

    Hey Blackberry don’t close the door yet! Looks another stupid is about to commit commercial suicide!

    • APai

      too late, blackberry has left the building!

  • The Werewolf

    Ok – this is copying Apple WAY too much – and the bad parts of Apple.

  • Wesley Haley

    Yeah, looks like the Note 2 will be my last Samsung device. They are getting full of themselves. It’s like they said, “what got us here? Let’s do the opposite of that”.

  • Shermon MK-1

    Imagine if an otterbox wouldnt work.

  • Benawhite

    I’m looking forward to HTC’s come back

    • Harry

      What come back?.. they never went away. HTC has been making incredible yet commercially disastrous phones for years now. But for anyone wise enough to have bought their more recent devices it’s clear HTC is in no need of a comeback, their phones are always top shelf.

  • Yeah get rid of those unofficial accessories. Gotta pad those profit margins somehow. No more samsung products for me.

  • Roddisq

    If samsung keeps this behavior I might end up buying an iphone.

    • John Locke

      Why not Nexus or Sony?

  • Jim Bradbury

    ID chips in accessories means I bought my last Samsung product.

  • Jas

    The death of Samsung

  • John Locke

    I’m surprised I missed this article. I am really dissapointed by Samsungs behavior this past year. All these scandals are all self inflicted for no apparent reason – Samsung would have been equally successful without these fiascos. I am genuinely considering the new Nexus phone over the Note 3 when I upgrade next year.

  • Haroon Ikhlaq

    Samsung. The New Apple.

  • Max Power

    I’ll stick with my Moto X and Razr M.

  • slipperykerstin

    Recently I was really, really low on cash and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money.. on the internet. I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills! I’m so glad, I did this! – qrj0