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Samsung disputed Kim’s remarks, saying they “do not represent the views of former and current employees.”

Lee Younghee, a senior vice president and chief of global marketing for mobile communications, the division that includes smartphones and tablets, concedes that if the definition of creativity is limited to Apple or Sony, then Samsung has lagged. But that is just part of the story, she says.

Samsung has been leading,” she said in an interview, referring to innovations in areas such as wireless communications technology, where it owns numerous patents. “Isn’t that innovation?”

Ultimately, she said, the question of creativity will be judged by consumers.

“I think the market is fair and consumers are very fair,” she said. “Consumers know what they want, they know what’s the best. I think the consumer will answer to this.”