May 15, 2015
Apple lives in the headlines, but recently they made the papers in totally new way. They were accused of poaching workers and violating non-compete clauses in February. The court case has been dragging on, until recently. On May 13, 2015 the Cupertino based company finally agreed to settle. It is interesting that the case went this long, as they were clearly in the wrong on this one. They blatantly offered to undercut other companies. Including but not limited to Google, Tesla, and A123 systems, the latter being the company that lawyered up for war. However that is not the interesting part. Apple Inc. has a mysterious ace up their sleeve; a not so secret project. There is a good reason for the company to have an Army of lawyers. In 2010 the news was plastered with the 10 suicides that occurred within the walls of the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen. In 2012 news about their factories was still all the rage including riots, protests, and working conditions all tarnished the Apple Inc. brand. Foxconn is the trading name for Hon Hai Precision Industry Company Ltd. Foxconn is subcontracted to make various iProducts. While it is true that Foxconn pays much more than its competitors in the area, it is still widely considered a sweatshop when compared to the west. So it is not uncommon for the headlines to accuse the tech company of unfair business practices, again, uninteresting. The implications of Apple’s latest foray into the front page is literally turning corners. The Silicon Valley tech company did not even try to hide their actions this time around, jumping head first at an opportunity that presented itself just so beautifully. A123 Systems exists because of a quarter billion dollar grant from the US Government… or rather existed. In 2012 the company filed for bankruptcy, and since it has been selling off assets. Countless workers are getting paid to try to keep an injured business walking. Tim Cook swoops in and gives some an offer they cannot refuse. Most prominently, Mujeeb Ijaz was given the opportunity to fly onto Apple Inc.’s Secret Project. This as good as chance as any to mention; A123 Systems does one thing, and one thing only they making high-end cutting-edge car batteries, they have no other ventured interests. If that is not enough implication there are much more speculative facts where that came from. As mentioned before, it is interesting the this particular story had such a long half-life, presumably Apple Inc. could have nipped the problem at the bud and swept it under the rug, but instead they allowed the story to fester (all publicity is good publicity?). A123 Systems’ Lawyers mentioned that all of the poached workers are doing essentially the same thing for a better brand name. Elon Musk said that his employees were offered a 60 percent pay increase and a 250 thousand dollar signing bonus. Also, earlier this week, the tech giant completely revamped their factory in Hollyhill Ireland where auto experience is a must for new management. Beyond these solid facts there is much more buzzing about the alleged Project Titan, which supposedly already has 100s of workers gunning for a 2020 deadline. If this is all true, the only thing the company has left to do is find someone to physically make the cars themselves (Foxconn maybe?) It is common for people within the Apple Inc. circle to claim or imply the existence of a top secret project. Not to mention the late Steve Jobs was very interested in combating Detroit, it is not unfeasible for the company to keep his legacy alive with Project Titan.