Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Samsung DID NOT try to pay Apple $1 billion in nickels

September 6, 2012: 10:50 AM ET

Heard the latest outrage from Samsung? Never mind. It's not true.

Hoax photo via Zurmat.com. And these aren't even nickels.

FORTUNE -- "A lie can be halfway round the world," goes the old adage, "before the truth has got its boots on."

Case in point: I was walking the dog in Brooklyn's Prospect Park Thursday morning when I heard the news that Samsung had tried to pay Apple (AAPL) $1.05 billion in damages with 30 truck-loads of nickels.

The story, variously attributed to Paperblog and 9gag, first surfaced in late August, shortly after a California jury ruled that a couple dozen of Samsung's Android devices had infringed Apple's smartphone patents.

Accompanied by the photo above and a snarky quote from Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, the meme made its way to Facebook and Twitter, where it took on a life of its own -- and continues to spread to this day.

It is, however, a hoax.

Nickels may be legal tender in the U.S., but no company is obliged to accept them as payment for a debt of any size, never mind one as large as Samsung's.

Besides, as Ken Tindell helpfully tweeted when the story first appeared on the Web, 20 billion nickels at 5 grams each would fill 2,755 18-wheel trucks (maximum legal weight: 80,000 lbs.).

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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