Apple pulled orders from Malaysian factory because of low yields
Singapore-based supplier Flextronics effectively hired slave labor to help build camera modules for the Apple iPhone 5, a new Businessweek report claims. The company is said to have relied on recruiters across southeast Asia, who charged migrant workers hundreds of dollars -- up to half or more of their annual salaries -- for the right to take a job. The recruiters then confiscated passports, ultimately leaving the new workers without any pay or food for months.
Product could be new Mac Pro
Flextronics America is in the process of hiring close to 1,700 people to work on a "next generation desktop computer" at its factory in Austin, Texas, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The company has declined to go into any more detail on the product, but filed a presentation with Travis County commissioners on Monday, as part of a bid to have its facilities declared a foreign trade zone. At least 879 jobs have already been created, and Flextronics says it could add another 815 if it hits peak targets.
Singapore firm would use US facilities
The new cylindrical Mac Pro will be built by Flextronics, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo tells the Chinese-language Economic Daily News. The claim would be consistent with Apple statements that the computer will be built in the US. While Flextronics is based in Singapore, it has plants around the US, including ones in Texas, California, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and the Carolinas.
Kinnucan accused of fraud
A slew of insider trading charges were leveled Friday against a Portland, Oregon-based analyst who allegedly provided significant leaks regarding the technology industry. Consultant John Kinnucan was accused of two counts each of securities fraud and conspiracy for reportedly passing on secret information about F5, Flextronics, and SanDisk to hedge funds that in turn unfairly benefited from the information to a combined $1.58 million. Sources at Flextronics and SanDisk ended up relating information about Apple's iPhone patterns.
Shimoon pleads guilty to slipping iPad info
One-time Flextronics development head Walter Shimoon on Tuesday pled guilty to leaking iPad trade secrets and others. In return for a lighter penalty, the former executive admitted to passing along information about Apple's plans to at least Broadband Research and is believed to have sent on information to a minimum of ten other hedge funds. Shimoon will be convicted of conspiracy and securities fraud but won't learn his exact sentence until 2013.
Taiwanese computer makers refuse HP's orders
Notebook suppliers in Taiwan said no to HP's requests to produce low-profit orders, a Tuesday report claimed today. A Goldman Sachs analyst said Compal, Quanta and Wistron had turned down production of 2011 models as the gross margins were too thin to be acceptable. Quanta would also reduce its investment in Chongqing in mainland China, Digitimes also confirmed.
MS has high hopes for Natal controller
Microsoft hopes to sell "at least" five million Project Natal controllers this year, two insiders said late Thursday [subscription required]. The sources didn't provide the exact launch date or price but implied to the WSJ that the target was aggressive, as the motion controllers would only ship late in the year. Microsoft has publicly touted Natal as one of its most important launches.