Our favorite Cupertino, CA gadget maker is squared off in a battle to the death with Korea’s largest, most influential company, Samsung. We’re not anywhere near finishing the game, of course, but Apple seems to have a slight lead.
As a company, Apple is more profitable, has more satisfied customers, and a balance sheet that is the envy of modern business. As a company, Samsung is run by convicted criminals, has been sued by Apple and lost in courts of law, and yet is smiled upon by Wall Street while Apple seems to have a case of investor plague.
On the other side of the world Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates shook hands with South Korea President Park Geun-hye. Big deal, right? Celebrities and rich people always hobnob with politicians, and handshakes are part of the game.
It’s different in Korea.
Gates shook Park Geun-hye’s hand with one hand in his pocket. That’s considered rude in Korea, where only politicians are allowed to have a hand in a pocket when shaking hands with business leaders. It’s the politicians other hand that goes into the pockets of the business leaders.
Even worse, Gates suit jacket was open, not buttoned. That’s another faux pas which implies superiority on Gates’ part. Even worse, when Gates shook hands with former president Kim Dae-jung he used a proper two-handed handshake leading South Korean media to speculate that Gates was showing preference to an opposition party leader, but disrespect to the ruling party leader who received only a single-hand handshake from Gates.
Gates’ handshake created a media uproar in South Korea. Where’s the media uproar when Samsung steals technology from Apple? Where’s the media uproar when Samsung pays people to write bad reviews about competing products? Where’s the media uproar when Samsung executives are convicted of criminal activity?
Why can’t we all just get along?
The latest technology buzz has Apple moving component business away from Samsung to vendors that do not compete directly against the iPhone maker. Isn’t it obvious that Samsung’s executives thought they could sell bullets to Apple while lobbing missiles at Apple?
Where’s the media uproar about that?
I can understand the frustration that Koreans must feel. The small country is dwarfed by the world’s second largest economy on one side (China), and the third largest economy on the other (Japan), and then there’s all that tension caused by the hereditary string of crazy leaders to the north, who threaten to bomb their brothers into submission.
The world can be a dirty, messy, uncomfortable place and Apple’s products make it just a little more enjoyable. Getting visibly and publicly upset over how one shakes a hand isn’t cause for uproar. Thievery and threats are.