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Samsung Fined For Fake HTC Reviews

The good news: Galaxy S4 sales hit 40 million.

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Samsung's Taiwan-based business unit has been fined $340,000 for hiring reviewers to write negative opinions about HTC products while penning rave reviews of Samsung's gear.

The Taiwan Fair Trade Commission came to the defense of Taipei-based HTC, saying that Samsung violated Taiwan's fair trade rules with the online marketing campaign. This is the second time this year the Taiwan FTC has fined Samsung. Earlier this year it dinged Samsung for $10,000 for misleading advertising about the camera features of its Galaxy Y Duos handset.

HTC isn't entirely blameless, however. When Samsung launched the Galaxy S4 in New York City earlier this year, HTC was on-site handing out hot cocoa to people waiting in line and talking up the HTC One smartphone. Further, HTC's chief marketing officer, Ben Ho, had plenty of negative things to say about the GS4 once it was revealed. He called it "more of the same" from Samsung.

[ Is it good strategy for Samsung to keep the same OS its competitors are using? Analysts debate: Should Samsung Ditch Android? ]

Same or not, the GS4 is a certified success. JK Shin, Samsung's mobile chief, told inews24 Thursday that the company has sold 40 million Galaxy S4s since the device went on sale in April. The company sold 10 million units in the first four weeks alone. Since May, it has moved another 30 million GS4s. Samsung's flagship smartphone, which goes head-to-head with Apple's iPhone, HTC's One, and LG's G2, among others, the GS4 is just one of several dozen smartphones being sold by Samsung.

In comparison, LG Electronics reported its third-quarter earnings Thursday, and the news isn't nearly so good. It shipped only 12 million devices in total over the three-month period between July and September. LG's mobile phone business saw a 24% increase in revenue compared to the year-ago period, but its profitability took a hit thanks to lower average selling price and increased marketing costs. The company hopes that its flagship smartphone, the G2, sees high sales during the holiday shopping period. The G2 is an interesting animal because LG took a chance with the design and moved the buttons from the side of the phone to the back.

Apple, meanwhile, sold 9 million iPhone 5s and 5c units combined during their first weekend of availability.

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