Worker commits suicide after iPhone prototype goes missing - reports

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A 25-year-old man reportedly committed suicide after an iPhone prototype he was responsible for went missing, leading to alleged "unbearable interrogation techniques" in the ensuing investigation, according to a Chinese publication.



As first reported by ND Daily, the man, Sun Danyong, reportedly had his property seized and was held in solitary confinement after one of 16 prototype iPhones he was responsible for went missing. The man jumped from a 12-story building last week.



As translated by Shanghaiist, the man told his friends before his death that the security guards with Foxconn, the iPhone manufacturing company, had laid hands on him. Chinese media reported that the missing device was a new "4G" iPhone.



In the wake of the incident, officials from Foxconn issued a statement that included an apology. According to Shanghaiist, the section chief of the Central Security division "may have used 'inappropriate interrogation methods' such as searching Sun's house, holding Sun in solitary confinement and possibly beatings." In addition, a Foxconn spokesperson reportedly said the incident is an example of the company's "internal management deficiencies."



Though the section chief has been suspended without pay, security officers who worked with him said it was unlikely that Sun was beaten.



Some, such as DigitalBeat, have taken to citing the incident as an example of the impact of Apple's secretive nature. They conclude that there is great pressure on Foxconn to keep Apple's secrets in order to retain their manufacturing contract.



"(Apple) uses the element of surprise to help build up excitement for its flashy product launches, helping to drive sales and its stock price higher," Eric Eldon writes. "In order to make that happen, Apple exerts immense pressure on its business partners help it maintain secrecy. The missing phone, some sort of new iPhone, has so far been nothing more than speculation among gadget sites."



It's another story of trouble from China for Apple. Just last week, the company's foreign factories came under fire, as a new investigation found that 45 of the 83 factories that built iPhones and iPods in 2008 weren't paying valid overtime rates, and 23 weren't even paying some of their workers China's minimum wage.



Tuesday afternoon, Apple issued a response on the matter to CNet.



"We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death," Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said. "We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 176
    What did you expect from the Chinese?
  • Reply 2 of 176
    Stay classy, Apple...
  • Reply 3 of 176
    Imagine being the guy with the missing iPhone and reading this.



    Huge guilt trip right there...
  • Reply 4 of 176
    crees!crees! Posts: 501member
    Waiting for the "blame Apple crowd" to show.
  • Reply 5 of 176
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,082member
    Damn, now thats security!
  • Reply 6 of 176
    mknoppmknopp Posts: 257member
    Sure... he "jumped" out the window. Yeah, that is the story.



    I hope the double checked the count before they pushed him... I mean he jumped out of the window.
  • Reply 7 of 176
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by crees! View Post


    Waiting for the "blame Apple crowd" to show.



    Grab your popcorn.
  • Reply 8 of 176
    Now, THAT'S commitment!



    Here in the US, the guy would hire a lawyer and sue, because OBVIOUSLY it was everyone else's fault he lost the prototype. And, goddammit, someone should pay him for all the distress!



    THEN try to sell the book and movie rights.
  • Reply 9 of 176
    dimmokdimmok Posts: 359member
    Damn!!! Thats wicked.
  • Reply 10 of 176
    Apparently Apple have launched "Find my iPhone," but not "Find my iPhone Prototype"
  • Reply 11 of 176
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    The real story here isn't Apple secrecy, or the guy jumping off a building -- it's capitalism, Chinese style. None dare call it fascism.
  • Reply 12 of 176
    c4rlobc4rlob Posts: 277member
    I feel really bad for this employee
  • Reply 13 of 176
    dagamer34dagamer34 Posts: 494member
    Wow, in order for there to be prototypes already, the device itself must have been conceived maybe 6-8 months ago. That means that it's finalized for quite a long time before the public ever sees it!
  • Reply 14 of 176
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    The real story here isn't Apple secrecy, or the guy jumping off a building -- it's capitalism, Chinese style. None dare call it fascism.



    Well, yeah, since it's China, I think it's called Communism.
  • Reply 15 of 176
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,310member
    It was actually an interesting article right up to the point of slipping the "blame Apple" section in there. This is just arrogant tabloid reporting now.



    Would just as much attention had been given if this were the prototype for the next Nintendo WII or maybe even the next Harry Potter book?



    This isn't even remotely a blame on Apple. Every company demands secrecy from their vendors for unreleased products simply to stay ahead of whatever competition. It's sound business practice.



    There is an obvious bias by the reporter to take yet another swipe at Apple.



    Now, FoxConn on the other hand should face some kind of retribution for this. It appears that they have used some heavy-handed tactics and went seriously overboard.



    The article didn't mention whether the prototype iPhone was ever recovered. Obviously the individual was let go without jailtime since he was able to go up to a roof and jump.



    What gives?
  • Reply 16 of 176
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Some, such as DigitalBeat, have taken to citing the incident as an example of the impact of Apple's secretive nature. They conclude that there is great pressure on Foxconn to keep Apple's secrets in order to retain their manufacturing contract.[/c]



    This a supremely tragic incident, if true.



    But DigitalBeat's swipe at Apple's 'secretive nature' is uncalled-for. Any company that seeks to protect its IP, its R&D, its new product plans, etc is compelled to put pressure on suppliers to keep a secret. Otherwise, they will destroy value in the long haul, and would get sued.



    The larger issue could be whether the relentless pursuit of electronics assembly in places like China for cost reasons increasingly militates against other considerations such as protecting corporate secrets, and has run its course.
  • Reply 17 of 176
    dr millmossdr millmoss Posts: 5,403member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jeffharris View Post


    Well, yeah, since it's China, I think it's called Communism.



    Which it hasn't been for a long time, at least since they gave up on Marxist economics. It's now a capitalist-totalitarian system. I don't know what you call that, but if not fascism, then what?
  • Reply 18 of 176
    hezekiahbhezekiahb Posts: 448member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dr Millmoss View Post


    The real story here isn't Apple secrecy, or the guy jumping off a building -- it's capitalism, Chinese style. None dare call it fascism.



    Seriously, people don't seem to understand that capitalism on communism is like lipstick on a pig.



    Maybe if we can free up the death grip of some of the unions in the US we can move some of these jobs back home.



    Don't get me wrong, I'm all for workers having some sort of representation to make sure they don't get screwed by corporations, but some of the demands of these union managers are just to line their own pockets & don't get anything for the worker.
  • Reply 19 of 176
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mknopp View Post


    Sure... he "jumped" out the window. Yeah, that is the story.



    I hope the double checked the count before they pushed him... I mean he jumped out of the window.



    Like any good leader, Steve Jobs flew to China to throw him out the window to set an example.
  • Reply 20 of 176
    elrothelroth Posts: 1,201member
    I guess Al Gore got his old colleague Dick Cheney to question the guy...



    We can joke about this in the abstract, but it doesn't reflect well on Apple when it's Chinese companies abuse their workers. Apple can't really control these companies, but they can take business away from them. A big problem is that in Chinese society, individuals basically have no rights, workers have no rights and no respect. You can't change that just by passing laws.
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