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
Two noisy store openings and reports of "robust" iPhone 5 sales from local carriers
FORTUNE -- Maybe China's "Apple fever" hasn't broken quite yet.
Reports of low turnout and videos of nearly empty Apple Stores for the launch of the iPhone 5 in China helped drive Apple's (AAPL) share price in New York to a 10-month low Friday.
But a report Saturday in Shanghai Daily suggested that the media was watching the wrong stores. MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Dec 16, 2012 1:43 PM ET
Apple's roll-out reaches deeper into Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East
FORTUNE -- The fastest roll-out yet of an iOS device picked up pace this week as Apple (AAPL) prepared to launch the new iPad in 23 countries Friday and seven more on Saturday.
The longest lines are likely to be in Brazil, where Apple and Foxconn have set up local assembly plants to avoid that country's steep import taxes. MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 11, 2012 7:30 AM ET
Fresh details of the subterfuge emerge in a U.S. lawsuit. Apple doesn't deny any of it.
Here's how Apple (AAPL) allegedly got Proview International Holdings to sell them the iPad trademark 35 days before Steve Jobs unveiled the device at a San Francisco press conference.
Apple hired a British firm called Farncombe International and its managing director, Graham Robinson, to be its secret agent.
Robinson created a British shell company called IP Application Development Limited ("IPAD MORE
A Taiwanese impersonator brings out the worst in Apple's critics and fans
It's hard to say which is worse, the tasteless appropriation of Steve Jobs' trademark jeans and black turtleneck -- with added halo and angel wings -- to hawk a technology he famously dismissed as "shit," or the kinds of things people are saying to one another on YouTube, where the Taiwanese TV ad at the center of the storm MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 3, 2012 6:34 AM ET
Apple seems to be controlling inventory, not reacting to a slow-down in sales
Apple's (AAPL) stock price fell sharply last week after some confused reports out of China and Taiwan regarding the company's communications with its supply chain. The first report was that Apple had cut back orders 10% to 15% on parts for the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4S because, according to Taipei-based DigiTimes, "sales of the iPhone 4S MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 17, 2011 10:30 AM ET
Bodes well for Friday's launch in 15 countries -- and maybe mainland China by December
Ticonderoga's Brian White, who has been keeping as close tabs on Apple's (AAPL) prospects in China as any Western analyst, reported Monday that pre-orders for the iPhone 4S ended almost as soon as they began in China last Friday.
According to his checks, pre-orders were sold out in Hong Kong 10 minutes after Apple started taking them. MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Nov 7, 2011 10:24 AM ET
An analyst expects Apple to launch both an iPhone 5 and a mid-range iPhone 4S
For much of the spring, the reporters who cover Apple (AAPL) have been arguing among themselves about what to call the new iPhone they expect the company to introduce in September.
Some call it the iPhone 5, to match the iOS 5 operating system Apple unveiled to developers three weeks ago.
Some, anticipating that the new device will MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 27, 2011 7:15 AM ET
Much smoke and confusion in Chengdu, China. Apple shares take a hit
At 7:20 p.m. local time Friday, according to preliminary reports out of China, an explosion struck a Foxconn plant in Chengdu that produces iPad 2s for Apple (AAPL).
The Chinese website M.I.C. Gadget passed along this first-hand report:
Ji Qing Ling's weibo said: "the explosion occurred in the A05, at 7 pm, the explosion caused many materials casted out from the MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - May 20, 2011 11:52 AM ET
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