Why Samsung’s recall of Galaxy smartphones threatens its universe

For Samsung, the Galaxy smartphone was once an unlikely saviour.

First released in 2009, this premium line brought the company out of a mud of obscure competitors and slung it into a duel with Apple. The world of tech entered a new epoch: these little supercomputers were its battleground, as were the giants that made them.

Samsung had spent the previous years overtaking Sony in televisions and this was its first big shot at becoming a smartphone maker in the league of Apple. But it had strengths that doubled as problems. Samsung was (and is) known for its Spartan ethic, obsessive benchmarking and martial command structure. It can accomplish in a few months what other companies can do in a year. Now, with this month’s recall of the Galaxy Note 7 amid concerns faulty components are causing battery explosions, this model is being unmasked as a liability more than ever.