Kickbacks are outs if you catch them
According to the San Jose Mercury News, Paul Shin Devine, “A midlevel Apple manager was arrested Friday and accused of accepting more than $1 million in kickbacks from half a dozen Asian suppliers of iPhone and iPod accessories in a federal indictment unsealed and a separate civil suit.”
When I first read that, I thought it said a “medieval ” Apple manager was arrested, which would probably have made a better movie, but this rare taste of Apple espionage is still pretty juicy. Apparently Devine’s MO was to use his position as an Apple Global supply manager to leak info on upcoming Apple products to various Asian suppliers in order to help them secure more favorable contracts with Apple.
I’m actually dying to know how that would go down, exactly. Does Devine find out Apple’s making an iPad with a 9.7-inch display, and say, “Hey LG, next time you’re in Cupertino, try to casually mention that you are dying to make touchscreens in the 9.6 to 9.8-inch range, and are wondering if Apple has heard of anyone who might be interested?
Ultimately the really interesting thing will be to see if Apple actually drops any suppliers over this, instead of just singling out Devine. Apple’s official response so far has been Spokesman Steve Dowling’s statement that “Apple is committed to the highest ethical standards in the way we do business. We have zero tolerance for dishonest behavior inside or outside the company.”
So will any big names fall? According to the indictment, Devine received about $1 million over the course of “several years”, and while a million bucks is nothing to sneeze at, somehow I feel like we’ll see Apple shopping for a new company to make the cleaning acid the iPods are dipped in more than we’ll see them dropping a big name like LG.
Oh, and I of course would be remiss if I didn’t at least acknowledge that Paul Devine is one of the best names ever, and he probably could have commanded $1 million a month in Las Vegas doing SOMETHING. What a waste.