Foxconn execs charged with taking bribes to award iPhone supply contracts

Photo: Thomson Reuters

Photo: Thomson Reuters

Several former execs at Foxconn have been charged with taking bribes from companies supplying the company with iPhone components, reports the WSJ.

Following a year of investigation, prosecutors said Thursday they have detained a former Foxconn general manager for allegedly taking kickbacks from supply chain partners. Prosecutors said three other former Foxconn employees were released on bail [after being charged] …  Read more

Apple Asia online stores offer deals on iPhones, iPads, & Macs for Lunar New Year sale

 

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Earlier this week we told you that Apple had announced an upcoming sale in many of its Asian online stores to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year taking place at the end of January. The sales see Apple offering discounts in China, Thailand, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Malaysia online stores similar to deals on offer for Black Friday in the US and other countries.

This year Apple is offering cash discounts on the usual products— up to $40 off iPads, $100 off Macs, and smaller discounts on iPods and Smart Covers— it’s also offering a rare discount on iPhones at around $50 off both the iPhone 5s and 5c. In addition, a much larger selection of accessories are on sale compared to the company’s Black Friday sale including popular products from Parrot, Apogee, Belkin, LaCie, and Apple.

Apple fined $670k by Taiwan Fair Trade Commission over iPhone plan pricing

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The Wall Street Journal reports that Taiwan’s Fair Trade Commission has fined Apple approximately US$670,000 for its attempts to influence phone pricing set by distributors and service providers in the region. According to a statement from the commission, Apple was forcing at least three carriers to submit pricing plans for iPhone ahead of offering the devices for sale:

“Through the email correspondence between Apple and these three telecom companies we discovered the companies submit their pricing plans to Apple to be approved or confirmed before the products hit the market,” it said in a statement.

The report adds that Apple could face an additional fine of NT$50 million (around $1.7 million US) if it doesn’t change its current methods of negotiating iPhone pricing plans with carriers: Read more

Report: Hon Hai source says 46 to 55-inch Apple TV set in testing, no panel supplier confirmed, 2013 launch unlikely

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Last week, a report from The Wall Street Journal claimed Apple’s much rumored HDTV set is now in the “early stages of testing” with partners Hon Hai Precision and Sharp. Today, we get more details surrounding the rumored product from the Taiwan national news agency’s English language Focus Taiwan. According to the report, citing sources close to Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the supplier is testing Apple television designs, but the possibility of the product shipping in 2013 is “unlikely”:

Nevertheless, the source said it is unlikely that shipments of the appliances will begin as soon as the end of next year.

While the report from WSJ claimed Sharp was involved in the initial testing of the product with Hon Hai, Focus Taiwan’s source claimed the possibility of Sharp displaying panels for the product is “not high”:

Asked whether the new Apple TV will use display panels produced by Japan’s Sharp Corp., the source said the possibility is not high.

The source also claimed that Apple is looking at displays ranging from 46 inches to 55 inches, meaning the company likely wouldn’t rely on Sharp’s plants best suited for production of 60+ inch panels: Read more

Taiwan asks Apple to blur imagery of early-warning radar facility in Maps app

Turkish website Sosyalmedya reported last month that Apple was putting the country’s national security at risk by releasing high-resolution imagery of sensitive locations in its new Maps app. In that case, the issue was a clear view of a maximum-security prison. A quick comparison to Google’s Maps showed the location was obscured, something Google has been known to do upon request. There were other controversial locations discovered in the Maps app (locations that Google currently blurs), and today a report from The Associated Press noted Apple is being asked by Taiwan to obscure imagery of an early-warning radar station in the country.

Taiwan is asking Apple Inc. to blur a map image of its new $1.4 billion early warning radar station… The 10-storey high radar installation built with U.S. technology is expected to go online later this year. It’s near the Hsinchu Airbase in northern Taiwan.

According to the report, Taiwan Defense Ministry spokesperson David Lo said, “Apple should follow its rival Google in using only low-resolution satellite pictures.” The Associated Press said the facility is located near Hsinchu Airbase in northern Taiwan and will be used for monitoring aircrafts, missiles, and determining speed for targets “coming from as far as western China.”

Read more

Foxconn CEO Terry Gou: iPhone 5 will put Samsung’s Galaxy S III to shame

According to several local reports, Foxconn’s Terry Gou made some pretty bold statements at Hon Hai Precision’s annual meeting of shareholders on Monday. While there are a few translations, all seem to claim Gou urged customers to wait for the iPhone 5, “saying that the new model will put Samsung’s Galaxy III to shame.” A report from Focus Taiwan quoted China Times:

Gou said he has made it a lifetime goal to defeat Samsung — “a company with a track record of snitching on its competitors.”… He was referring to Samsung’s action in 2010 of snitching on four Taiwanese companies in an investigation by the European Commission on price-fixing in the flat panel industry…Samsung was exempted from the investigation by serving as a “tainted witness.” … Gou also urged consumers to wait for the launch of Apple’s iPhone 5, saying that the new model will put Samsung’s Galaxy III to shame.

Gou also apparently claimed that Foxconn’s Sakai plant “has an exclusive agreement with Corning Inc., an American manufacturer of glass, on large panel supply,” and his “competitors will not be able to secure any such material if they wished to.” We are going to wait to see if Foxconn issues a statement regarding these quotes, because we know a couple of stories in recent months misquoted Gou… Read more