Verizon phones are locked down by Qualcomm. Efuses are built in by carrier spec in order to control network integrity through the limiting of lower level access. Samsung doesn't have a dog in the fight except the quantity of users vs other manufacturers. I'm sure he got fired because the galaxy line hasn't seen a major break through since the s3.
A design chief has absolutely nothing to do with the internals of a device or "locking" status, they simply "design" it - and this design didn't get favorable reviews. That's the reason most major tech sites (not CNN money) are saying he resigned.
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