FORTUNE -- It has often been suggested that some of the comments critical of Apple (AAPL) on U.S. social media -- including this blog -- are posted by paid Samsung shills.
But there is no proof, and Samsung has certainly never owned up to it.
Samsung's subsidiary in Taiwan, however, admitted in April that it had done just that to HTC, hiring students to post fake benchmark reviews of HTC's latest smartphone and reporting -- falsely -- that they were "constantly crashing."
On Thursday, according to the AP, Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission fined Samsung's subsidiary 10 million Taiwanese dollars ($340,000) for defaming a rival.
Samsung got off cheap. The fines for such activity in Taiwan can run as high as 25 million Taiwanese dollars ($836,000).
To put those figures in perspective, Samsung's 2012 budget for sales promotion and marketing was $5.3 billion.
DEFINITION: Astroturfing is the practice of masking the sponsors of a message (e.g. political, advertising, or public relations) to give the appearance of it coming from a disinterested, grassroots participant.
HTC makes some of the best Android phones in the market, but that's not enough anymore.
By Kevin Kelleher, contributor
FORTUNE – First Palm. Then Nokia (NOK). Then BlackBerry (BBRY). Is HTC the next smartphone maker to go from a strong contender in the smartphone market to a troubled company in need of rescue?
It's starting to look like it. Earlier this month, the company warned investors to brace themselves for the company's MOREOct 17, 2013 3:34 PM ET
Facebook's CEO reportedly approached Samsung about making the social network's next phone. Smart move.
FORTUNE -- Remember the first Facebook phone, the HTC First? Not many do -- despite its recent April launch.
The First was Facebook's (FB) first phone with Facebook Home, customized software that modifies areas of Google's (GOOG) popular Android operating system so users can readily check status updates and text friends. The phone is also one of Facebook's biggest MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Jun 20, 2013 6:23 AM ET
Accused of hiring students to post negative comments about rival HTC's phones.
FORTUNE -- Readers who post comments critical of Apple (AAPL) in this space are often accused of being shills for Samsung, provocateurs paid to spread fear, uncertainty and doubt about Samsung's chief U.S. competitor.
With rare exceptions -- a guy who called himself The_Truth_Hurts comes to mind -- I prefer to assume those charges are false. There are plenty of MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 16, 2013 12:04 PM ET
Will the One save HTC, the Android manufacturer that once seemed most likely to succeed?
by Kevin Kelleher, contributor
FORTUNE -- This is how quickly fortunes change in the smartphone industry. In 2006, Nokia (NOK) still controlled more than half of the share of the smartphone market. The iPhone wouldn't appear until the summer of 2007. And no one was making Android phones. Android Inc., bought by Google (GOOG) in 2005, wouldn't emerge MOREApr 16, 2013 5:00 AM ET
As Apple prepares iOS 7, it could stand to learn a few things from Facebook Home.
FORTUNE -- Now we know: The Facebook Phone is neither a phone, nor an operating system. Instead, Zuckerberg unveiled a downloadable collection of apps, available April 12, that will be supported on select Android phones to start, including the $99 HTC First, the first device to come pre-loaded with it. Home, as the whole kit MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Apr 5, 2013 6:42 AM ET
Also: Yahoo's $30 million acquisition; BlackBerry's mysterious million-smartphone partner.
HTC's marketing chief takes bolder approach [THE WALL STREET JOURNAL]
"We have a lot of innovations but we haven't been loud enough," said Mr. Ho, a Singaporean who is HTC's third marketing chief in less than two years. The new approach, he says, will be bolder.
Customers were treated to a sneak peek of the new strategy when HTC fielded teams to demo the One outside the MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Mar 26, 2013 3:00 AM ET
Is there no delaying tactic that doesn't work in this U.S. district court?
FORTUNE -- On March 2, 2010, Apple (AAPL) filed lawsuits against HTC at the International Trade Commission and the U.S. district court of Delaware -- the first of what would be dozens of patent infringement suits against the manufacturers of smartphones and tablets based on Google's (GOOG) Android operating system.
In the press release that announced the 2010 suit, MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Oct 2, 2012 2:37 PM ET
First in Washington, then in London
FORTUNE -- Apple (AAPL) may be on a winning streak with Samsung, but this week it lost two courtroom skirmishes with HTC -- the first smartphone manufacturer to be sued in Steve Jobs' "thermonuclear" war against Google's (GOOG) Android operating system.
On Monday, the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington refused to grant the emergency ban on 29 HTC smartphones that Apple had requested in June.
Two models held for inspection after a December patent ruling in Apple's favor
FORTUNE -- In what is believed to be the first tangible effect of the two-year-old proxy war Apple (AAPL) has waged against Google (GOOG) though the makers of Android phones, U.S. Customs officials have delayed shipment of two of HTC newest models pending inspection.
The delay is indefinite, but may turn out to be brief.
In December Apple won a MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 16, 2012 7:12 AM ET
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