Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
Perhaps bored with sharing our national secrets, the shadowy group known as WikiLeaks has turned their attention to Apple with the release of new documents that show Cupertino organized a task force in 2008 to “curtail the explosion of knockoff iPods and iPhones” in China.
CNN is reporting that Apple Inc. assembled its own superhero team of Avengers back in early 2008 in an effort to thwart makers of Chinese knockoffs from its popular iPod and iPhone. The revelation comes courtesy of a new WikiLeaks release, part of tens of thousands of previously unreleased diplomatic cables from the United States embassy in Beijing.
Although the Apple-specific documents were not classified, many were described by CNN as “sensitive” and “not for internet distribution” -- which doesn’t mean much to a group like WikiLeaks, who has made headlines in recent months over their controversial disclosures.
Perhaps the most interesting tidbit related to Apple is that the company actually formed a “global security team” in March, 2008 to combat Chinese knockoffs. According to CNN, the group was made up of Pfizer employees who had been successful at cracking down on counterfeit Viagra production in Asia.
“Yet, three years after Apple moved to crack down on widespread counterfeiting and put pressure on China, progress has been slow,” the CNN report reveals. “Gadget piracy isn't a high priority for the Chinese government, the U.S. reports and experts say.”
Indeed, things in China have gotten only worse since 2008, with recent reports out of Kunming that entire counterfeit Apple Stores have sprung up lately, ironically selling actual goods manufactured by Cupertino. Although Apple was successful in closing some of the stores which had not secured the proper permits to do business, it would appear that the only way to stop the counterfeiting is to simply open more official stores in the country. There are currently only four -- three in Beijing and one in Shanghai, and all of them are among the company’s most active.
But for now, phony iPods, iPhones and iPads are prevalent across Asia, sold at a steep discount from street merchants.
"They'll say, 'Yeah, we have iPad. We'll give you a really good deal,'" recalls Wini Chen, a student from San Francisco who recently returned from studying abroad in Beijing. "If I really want to buy a knockoff Apple product, I could probably do that in 15 minutes."
Follow this article’s author, J.R. Bookwalter on Twitter
(Image courtesy of CNN)