Huawei Accused of Bribes to Get Secrets from Apple Watch
The Chinese manufacturer Huawei allegedly tried to extract several trade secrets from Apple to access the Apple Watch heart rate monitor to copy it.
According to a report from The Information, Huawei would have approached several Apple vendors to try to steal US company secrets. The publication speaks specifically of a case in which the Chinese would have sought information on the electrocardiogram feature of the new Apple Watch.
Anonymous sources said that engineers working on a Huawei smartwatch project held a meeting with an Apple supplier last year. In the conversation, engineers would have tried to get the supplier to leak specifications of the new Apple Watch’s electrocardiogram sensors in exchange for large parts orders.
The site even claims that Huawei representatives told the vendor that the design of their new product was similar to Apple’s, but they did not want to share the renderings. They would have asked the supplier to estimate a general price by trying to get the supplier to reveal the price of Apple’s components.
“The Huawei engineer attended the supplier meeting with four Huawei researchers in tow. The Huawei team spent the next hour and a half pressing the supplier for details about the Apple Watch,” the executive said. “They were trying their luck, but we wouldn’t tell them anything,” the executive said. After that, Huawei went silent.”
In another case, a Huawei engineer would have sent a photo of a component to a different vendor who also works with Apple saying, “Feel free to suggest a design you’re already familiar with,” in anticipation of that the supplier would return a price estimate with some information about Apple products.
In addition to trying to get industry secrets about Apple’s watches, Huawei representatives would have copied a hinge scheme from Apple’s 2016 MacBooks to implement on Huawei Matebook Pro. Eventually, the Chinese launched its product with a component really similar to that of Apple.
According to the US Department of Justice, Huawei’s employees even receive bonuses in obtaining confidential information. The more confidential the information, the higher the bonus.
Stealing information would not only stop at Apple. Also, Cisco, Motorola, and Akhan Semiconductor would have previously undergone swipe attempts by Huawei.
The image of Huawei has been heavily smeared over the past year. US President Donald Trump called for a Huawei blockade in the US because according to him, the Chinese company spied for the Chinese government.
Other Western countries are also considering pulling the plug from Huawei products.
Ren Zhengfei, the founder of Huawei, recently said there was “no way the US can crush” the company following his daughter arrest in Canada.
“There’s no way the US can crush us. The world cannot leave us because we are more advanced. Even if they persuade more countries not to use us temporarily, we can always scale things down a bit,” Ren said in an interview with the BBC.
“Even if they [US] persuade more countries not use us temporarily, we can always downsize and become smaller,” he added.
The report includes other examples of Huawei’s efforts at stealing information from Apple. Finally, the paper still talked to a former Apple employee who would have applied for a vacancy at Huawei. In the interview, this person would have been practically questioned about several Apple secrets. “They were more interested in finding out things about Apple than in hiring me,” the source was quoted as saying.