Apple isn’t the only company that has a plethora of trade secrets, and it sounds like Huawei is interested in as many as it can get its hands on.
According to a report from The Information, China-based Huawei is targeting Apple and other competitors in an effort to ascertain their trade secrets. The goal? To improve the Huawei-branded devices in key areas, ranging from smartphones to smartwatches. The report is based on information gathered from various anonymous sources.
To start, Huawei was very interested in the Apple Watch. Specifically, the heart sensor in Apple’s smart wearable. According to the report, an engineer from Huawei that was working on a smartwatch reached out to a supplier that assists in building the heart sensor that’s baked into the Apple Watch. That engineer got a meeting with that supplier based on a claim that Huawei was working towards a manufacturing deal. However, in reality, the engineer simply probed for specific information regarding the Apple Watch and its heart sensor.
Interestingly, the United States Justice Department has stated that it believes Huawei has a rewards program in place for employees that successfully acquire technology from competing companies. There are allegedly even better bonuses tied to the more secretive bits. So depending on how big the secret is, a Huawei employee can be rewarded quite a bit.
Huawei has used these tactics against other companies, too, including Motorola, Cisco, and others.
It goes beyond talking to suppliers, too. Huawei has reportedly tried to get information from former Apple employees, too. In one story, a worker at Apple immediately interviewed with Huawei after leaving the job. That interview, however, reportedly consisted mostly of the Huawei representative asking over and over again about new products and features. That former Apple worker made the decision to stop taking interviews with Huawei.
Corporate espionage is not new, and it is not something that is going to go away anytime soon. However, while it might be a known quantity it’s never a good thing to have your company directly outed. This is definitely not a good look for Huawei.
Apple executives have to be aware that this stuff is happening on a regular basis, too. For instance, we recently reported that a second former Apple employee was being charged with stealing secrets tied to Apple’s “Project Titan” initiative at the company. The first former employee was charged back in July of last year.
[via The Information]