Research

Apple Comes Down Hard On Leakers

Apple Comes Down Hard On Leakers

"But people who leak - whether they're Apple employees, contractors or suppliers - do get caught and they're getting caught faster than ever".

According to a report by Bloomberg, the memo was in reference to the 9to5Mac as well as the iOS 11 GM leaks which were seen past year and revealed the iPhone X name along with its features, Animoji, followed by the cellular Apple Watch Series 3 leak which happened ahead of Apple's event. Tech companies like Apple have the means to discover who is passing along confidential information.

Apple has historically been very secretive about their product cycle and they have generally done a good job of keeping things under wraps. By the time a new iPhone launches, for example, people already know what to expect. Specifically, both analysts claim that Apple might actually raise the entry price on the iPhone X this year from $1,000 to $1,100. But the Apple employee who leaks has everything to lose. And that was just in 2017.

Belying Apple Northern-California-cool image, the memo - first obtained by Bloomberg News -- struck an intimidating tone. Last year, the company held a meeting with employees where it discussed how it plans to prevent leaks, talked about how leakers were caught, and answered employees' questions. Word about the seminar leaked, and secrets continued to pour out of the company. "The potential criminal consequences of leaking are real", says Tom Moyer of Global Security, "and that can become part of your personal and professional identity forever". A company-wide meeting or email, for instance, could be leaked by anyone.

Earlier this year, Apple caught an employee who leaked details of an internal meeting where Apple's senior vice president of engineering Craig Federighi informed employees that certain software features in iOS would be delayed. Hundreds of software engineers were in attendance. One person betrayed their trust. Those 29 people included employees, contractors, and supply chain partners.

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The impact of a leak goes beyond the people who work on a particular project - it's felt throughout the company.

But it's not all Apple employees' fault. Today, something similar happened to Apple.

But unlike at other companies where a PM or staffer may reach out to privately correctly a detail or give background outside of official channels, Apple staff would be fired for crossing that line. "Just before last September's special event, an employee leaked a link to the gold master of iOS 11 to the press, again believing he wouldn't be caught", it notes. Twelve of those leakers were arrested.

Leakers do not simply lose their jobs at Apple. Apple warns that it "may seem flattering" to be approached for information, but that in end, "you're getting played". But the majority will likely take heed. Ironically, this confidential internal memo leaked.