11 things you need to know in tech for Thursday, Feb. 7

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Samsung’s not-so Supreme partnership finally ends

Samsung x Supreme (Italia)

Remember back in December, when Samsung proudly announced it was launching the Galaxy A8s, and that it was partnering with “Supreme,” the cult skatewear line known entirely for its logoa nd exclusive gear? But it was the wrong Supreme, with two random “CEOs” coming on stage? Yes, that did happen.

  • If you recall, that’s because Samsung partnered not with the genuine NYC-based Supreme, but Supreme Italia, an entirely legal but entirely counterfeit business.
  • Samsung didn’t realize until after the launch, as all and sundry ridiculed the electronics giant.
  • Finally, Samsung announced it “terminated” this collaboration, which was no doubt excruciating.
  • An announcement was posted to Weibo in China: “Samsung Electronics had previously mentioned a collaboration with Supreme Italia at the Galaxy A8s China launch event on December 10th, Samsung Electronics has now decided to terminate this collaboration.”

It’s a rich, fun story – and it’s all above-board, a legal fake.

Here’s how the loophole worked in this story:

  • Supreme Italia, otherwise known as Supreme Barletta, is a real company operating out of Italy.
  • What appears to have happened is that the original NYC Supreme didn’t properly register its trademark brand and logo worldwide.
  • That allowed upstarts in Italy to beat it to the punch, legally registering the same logo, just a bit bigger.
  • That trademark is the Futura Heavy Oblique white font on a Red Box with the word Supreme, within Italy (NSS Mag).
  • The Italian founders are experts in seeking popular brands that aren’t registered in Italy – also selling “Pyrex,” which as you may have guessed, isn’t the original. (Vice Italy)
  • Supreme-NYC ignored the Italian brand for years, before taking it to court.
  • Somehow, despite losing court judgements in Italy, and supremeitalia.com being taken down, Supreme Italia had complete authorization to sell and market Supreme in China, unlike Supreme NYC.
  • And that led to Samsung partnering with what it thought was the right Supreme.
  • What’s most surprising is that it took 45 days to get out of the mistaken deal.

Supreme is a rip-off anyway:

  • As always, the details get murkier the harder you look.
  • Supreme is hardly an innocent party here.
  • Part of the phenomenon behind it has been to “heavily borrow,” from artists, including the explicit stealing from Barbara Kruger’s work back the 80s and 90s (MoMA), in making the iconic box logo (Complex).
  • The very much alive and angry Barbara Kruger was not impressed, sending a blank email with a Microsoft Word file with name “fools.doc” to Complex, roasting Supreme with some of the best insults ever slung (The Cut).

The upshot: In any case, Samsung has moved on, finally putting an end to that embarrassment. The story of legal fakes and Barbara Kruger’s awe-inspiring rant will live with us, though.

Here’s everything else happening:

1. Bizarre Google Play Music issue means it can’t cast 2019 music (Android Authority).


2. One of the LG G8 selfie cameras pulls off some neat tricks for facial recognition (AA).


3. Xiaomi bringing Mi Mix 3’s Night Mode to Mi 8 Lite camera (AA).


4. Hackers now use Google Translate for phishing scams (AA).


5. Touch ID that spans the entire iPhone display in the works (AppleInsider). The Vivo Apex 19 did this “first” although first hands-on won’t be until later this month (AA).


6. Facebook’s data gathering hit by German anti-trust clampdown by the Bundeskartellamt, or Federal Cartel Office, after a three-year investigation (Reuters). Facebook issued a statement in response, noting: “The Bundeskartellamt underestimates the fierce competition we face in Germany,” also pointing out 40% of Germans on social media don’t use Facebook. It’s a joke. There’s really no competition for Facebook in Germany – Lokalisten, a similar app, closed in 2016. It’s a blatant reach, and older Germans just don’t like Facebook’s snooping. Bless.


7. Many popular iPhone apps secretly record your screen without asking, and there’s no way a user would know (TechCrunch). A lapse by Apple here.


8. NY cops insist Waze users stop snitching on DWI checkpoints (Gizmodo). “Driving under the influence is entirely indefensible, but it’s hard to imagine how the NYPD could legally enforce this demand.” Indeed.


9. Spotify gets serious about podcasts with two acquisitions (The Verge). (Notably this did not include the DGiT Daily podcast. I think our podcast host Adam was holding out for $billions with a b?)


10. Skype’s new background blur helps you avoid cleaning your house or office (The Verge).


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via Android Authority

February 7, 2019 at 06:52AM