FORTUNE — Here’s an interesting sequence of events, buried between the lines of a Samsung e-mail trail that Apple (AAPL) entered into evidence as part of its big patent infringement suit, now in its third week.
— Oct. 4, 2011: From Samsung’s VP of U.S. sales Mike Pennington to Samsung America CEO Dale Sohn and chief marketing officer Todd Pendleton.
“As you have shared previously, we are unable to battle [Apple] directly in our marketing. If it continues to be Samsung’s position to avoid attacking Apple … can we go to Google and ask them to launch a campaign against Apple…”
— Oct. 5, 2011: Steve Jobs dies.
— Oct. 7, 2011: Pendleton to Pennington.
“Hey Michael, We are going to execute what you are recommending in our holiday [Galaxy S2] campaign and go head to head with iPhone 4S.”
We now know, thanks to documents Samsung released as part of its defense, that its mockery of Apple’s devoted fan base (best lines: “I could never get a Samsung. I’m creative.” “Dude, you’re a barista.”) drove Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller to distraction.
“I can’t help but think,” he later wrote Apple’s ad agency, that “‘these guys are feeling it’ (like an athlete who can’t miss because they are in the zone) while we struggle to nail a compelling brief on iPhone… Something drastic has to change. Fast.”
- New Android TV spot mocks the iPhone’s customer base
- Samsung’s snarky TV ads have harshed the iPhone’s vibe
UPDATE: AppleInsider’s Daniel Eran Dilger digs a little deeper in Samsung email targeted Steve Jobs’ death as “our best opportunity to attack iPhone”