Record Apple profits dampened by iPhone contractor suicide
Now here's a contrast for you: "Apple smashes profit forecasts, iPhone shines" and "Employee Kills Himself Over Missing iPhone Prototype." Two top technology headlines of the day, about the same company, but with two very different thrusts.Skip to next paragraph
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Reports have surfaced that a young employee of Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn, the company contracted to build iPhones and iPods for Apple, committed suicide last week after misplacing a prototype next-generation iPhone. The news has some questioning labor practices in the consumer electronics industry – and others asking if Apple's legendary culture of secrecy has gone too far.
China's Southern Metropolis Daily reported Wednesday that 25-year-old Sun Danyong was to have sent 16 iPhone prototypes to Apple's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters on July 9. Only 15 arrived. Fearing a leak, Apple pressured Foxconn to find the missing handset. Foxconn officials interrogated Sun and searched his home. A senior company security officer interrogated and beat him, according to Southern Metropolis Daily. Sun jumped to his death from his 12th-story apartment last Thursday. The case has been turned over to Chinese police.
Apple, fresh from reporting a 15 percent jump in profits despite the global recession, has so far sought to distance itself from the incident. "We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee, and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death," Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet told CNET on Tuesday. "We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect."