Samsung Electronics says battery defects caused Note 7 fires

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A flag bearing the logo of Samsung Electronics is pictured at its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, November 29, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji (Copyright Reuters 2017)

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Monday said battery defects caused its premium Galaxy Note 7 phones to catch fire, not the device's software or hardware.

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The announcement comes more than three months after the world's top smartphone maker scrapped the short-lived competitor of Apple Inc's iPhones, costing $5.3 billion in operating profit and damaging its reputation.

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by STephen Coates)