Given Samsung’s habit of shamelessly copying everything Apple does, I wasn’t at all surprised to see this morning’s report that the South Korean company had just spent $650 million on a fingerprint scanning firm called FingerPrint Cards. In fact, I simply rolled my eyes when I saw the news and thought, “there’s a surprise.”
But it appears that the whole thing was completely fabricated. The press release that went out announcing the move was false, and both Samsung and FingerPrint Cards have denied the acquisition.
So, where did the news come from? Samsung says “it’s just a groundless rumor,” but there’s a little more to it than that. This wasn’t a story dreamt up by an “insider” or an industry analyst; it was actually announced in a press release published this morning by Cision, a Swedish software company that develops marketing and PR solutions.
The press release said Samsung had acquired FingerPrint Cards for $650 million, and that “the acquisition will increase the accessibility of swipe sensor technology.” It even had a quotes — which were obviously made up — from Samsung CEO Kwon Oh-hyun, and FingerPrint Cards CEO Johan Carlström.
We were all led to believe, then, that Samsung was gearing up to counter the iPhone 5s and HTC’s upcoming One max with fingerprint-scanning smartphones of its own. And although that’s still likely to happen — Samsung will have to have fingerprint scanners if Apple has them — the company clearly doesn’t need FingerPrint Cards to make it happen.
“It’s not true, it’s a groundless rumor,” Samsung said in a statement this morning, after initially suggesting the news was a “market rumor.” Others have suggested that it was fabricated in an effort to manipulate share prices, too. FingerPrint Cards has even suspended trading of its shares this morning.
“The news in today’s media that Fingerprint Cards AB has been acquired by Samsung is incorrect,” the company said. “The previous press release was not sent by Fingerprint Cards AB. Trading in the share has been suspended. What has happened will be reported to the police and to the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority.”
While we still don’t know the real reason behind the press release, I’ll bet that someone will be job hunting by the end of the day. We’ll bring you more on this story as it develops.