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Minority shareholders flex muscles against Samsung Electronics

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Roh Tae-moon, president and head of MX Business at Samsung Electronics, introduces the company's new Galaxy S22 smartphones in this February file photo. Courtesy of Samsung Electronics
Roh Tae-moon, president and head of MX Business at Samsung Electronics, introduces the company's new Galaxy S22 smartphones in this February file photo. Courtesy of Samsung Electronics

By Park Jae-hyuk

Some minority shareholders and employees of Samsung Electronics have started an online campaign to put the brakes on the company's plan to appoint President Roh Tae-moon in charge of its smartphone business as an inside director, according to industry officials, Monday.

They have been encouraging other minority shareholders to vote against his appointment in an electronic vote that started last Sunday and will run until March 15, the day before the next general meeting of shareholders.

"If a company's shareholders have a sense of ownership, its stock price will follow the true value, thus resolving any undervaluation," a person claiming to be a Samsung Electronics employee wrote on Blind, an anonymous chat app for verified employees. "Please vote against our incompetent management."

A growing number of the minority shareholders have also uploaded images online to show that they voted against Roh's appointment.

"Although I do not own a large amount of shares, I voted against his appointment," one of the shareholders said. "Even if retail investors may have a limited impact, I think we can at least deliver our opinions."

Their action came as Samsung Electronics has been embroiled in a controversy over its "game optimizing service" (GOS), an application that intentionally throttles the performance of devices to prevent overheating, when users play graphically demanding games.

Users of Samsung smartphones have complained recently about the company's latest operating system update in the wake of the Galaxy S22's release, as they have been unable to turn off the function. Users were enraged further, after it was revealed that the GOS does not limit performance if game apps are relabeled as "benchmark apps" that test a smartphone's performance.

Samsung Electronics has already made an apology and promised to offer an option to prioritize performance.

"We plan to update our software as soon as possible," the company notified its customers.

Geekbench, a global platform that tests and compares the performance of smartphones, however, viewed this move as a "manipulation" and delisted Samsung's flagship smartphones equipped with the GOS function from its benchmark chart, as it had already done to Chinese smartphones.

Some customers have even called for lawsuits against Samsung Electronics over this issue.

The criticism has become fiercer against the company, after an international ransomware gang, Lapsus$, which is known for stealing confidential data from Nvidia, claimed last Friday that they had compromised Samsung Electronics' server and copied 190 gigabytes of confidential data.
Park Jae-hyuk pjh@koreatimes.co.kr


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