It’s no secret Samsung is a well-oiled money-making machine, being the undisputed world leader in smartphone sales for a while now. So why in the name of Norse god Odin do the Koreans feel the need to play dirty, gaming benchmarks and gratuitously smearing the competition?

samsung galaxy s 4 vs htc one Busted: Samsung gets $340K fine in Taiwan for slandering HTC

And by rival smearing I’m not referring to anti-Apple or anti-HTC ads, which, however inelegant and distasteful, are fair practice in the industry, not to mention often clever and laugh-out-loud hilarious.

Instead, I’m talking about something much more serious and very hard to explain or forgive: astroturfing. In layman’s terms, paying people to pass off as independent, regular tech enthusiasts online and badmouth devices of competing companies while praising Samsung products.

The ironic thing is Sammy was caught red-handed by Taiwan’s FTC (Fair Trade Commission) hiring college students to slander and besmirch HTC phones on local forums. HTC?!?

samsung money Busted: Samsung gets $340K fine in Taiwan for slandering HTC

They’ve been bleeding money for years now, their market share is dipping all around the world and, best case scenario, they can hope to find themselves in the top five smartphone manufacturer ranks by the end of 2013. And yet Samsung continues to feel threatened by the Taiwanese.

Unless it’s just the tip of the iceberg for the Galaxy makers, who do this sort of a thing on a daily basis and attack everyone else in the business. Now that would explain a lot of uncalled for jabs against so many companies and gadgets on so many blogs, forums and websites.

Oh, well, at least Samsung didn’t get away with the cheap shots this time, being fined a little over $340,000 (NT$10 million) by the FTC. Granted, that’s a mere drop in the ocean compared with the kind of profits the Koreans are swinging year after year, but it’s bound to cause a stir in the media, which may end up costing sneaky old Sam maybe ten or twenty times the $300K.

How about it, guys, will you join me in boycotting Samsung products?

Sources: Focus Taiwan, The Verge