Aside from the literal holes it’s been capable of burning in its owners’ pockets, the now-canceled Galaxy Note7 may also end up burning a figurative $17 billion hole in its maker’s accounts. Some analysts estimate that the whole exploding phone debacle will translate into lost sales of up to 19 million units over what could have been the life cycle of the Note7.
That apparently amounts to around $17 billion of money that Samsung won’t get. After the first recall of the Note7 started in early September, the estimate for lost sales (combined with the cost of the recall itself) only reached around $5 billion. But that was back when everyone still thought Samsung would continue selling the Note7 and that the replacement units handed out to people were safe and wouldn’t catch fire too.
With its $235 billion market value and $69 billion in cash and equivalents (both numbers from the end of June), Samsung can certainly afford to take this hit. Not a lot of companies in the mobile space can say that (the obvious exception being Apple of course). But in the long run, how much this entire fiasco has damaged the Korean company’s brand in the perception of consumers everywhere remains to be seen. To mitigate some of the bad publicity it’s accrued over the past few weeks, Samsung could even kill the Note line entirely, and just call the Note7’s successor something else next year. In the meantime, it’s upping Galaxy S7 production hoping that would-be Note7 owners will turn to its last non-exploding flagship instead.