Samsung Electronics Vice President and CEO Han Jong Hee on March 16 apologized for the controversy related to the performance issues of the latest flagship model, the Galaxy S22. "We weren't able to properly assess the needs of our customers," Han said, bowing in apology in front of about 1,600 shareholders at the annual meeting held both in-person and online.

This is the first time a top Samsung executive has apologized to the public amid growing complaints about the controversial game optimization service (GOS) on the Galaxy S22.

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman and CEO Han Jong Hee in a meeting on March 16. (Photo: Yonhap)
Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman and CEO Han Jong Hee in a meeting on March 16. (Photo: Yonhap)

GOS is a software that adjusts the performance of smartphones to help the battery last longer, preventing the device from overheating when using heavy applications. Samsung has installed this software since the Galaxy S7 in 2017, but users have the right to disable it. However, for the Galaxy S22, the software activates automatically, even on popular apps. Therefore, according to Geekbench - a platform to measure smartphone performance, the software affects the overall performance of the device, only 53.9% of the committed capacity. In order to "punish" Samsung's behavior, Geekbench has removed its recent phones and tablets from the review list for reasons of credibility issues.

Last week, Samsung announced it would fix the problem with a software update but failed to appease the public's anger. As speculated, the Galaxy S22 controversy became the number one issue raised during Wednesday's meeting. Shareholders criticized Samsung's management for not handling the matter well, calling for measures to deal with the crisis.
Mr. Han said GOS aims to optimize the performance of the phone based on the different characteristics of gamers. Consistent performance is important in high-end gaming, so the company has limited CPU and GPU performance to reasonable levels to minimize overheating while maintaining stability. "We will listen to users' voices more carefully and give them the best quality and service, and do not repeat similar incidents," Han added.

When asked about the safety issue after updating the software, Mr. Han shared that they use an overheating control algorithm and will continue to add new functions for prevention.

In addition, shareholders also asked many other difficult questions. For example, about operations in Russia, Samsung Electronics CEO said that he has temporarily suspended deliveries to Russia and closely monitors the situation to minimize the impact on business. Samsung is the No. 1 smartphone manufacturer in Russia, accounting for nearly 35% of the market share.

He also shared that the company is open to mergers and acquisitions regardless of sector and size, as long as it is useful for sustainable growth, increasing shareholder value. He cited artificial intelligence and 5G-based car solutions as attractive new growth drivers. Samsung also bet big on the virtual universe.

Faced with internal and external challenges, Samsung stock has lost 30% of its value from its peak. A year ago, the company's stock value set a record of 91,000 won, but now it's only around 70,000 won. Samsung will pay 9.8 trillion won in dividends per year to shareholders.