Is Apple to blame for the Chinese iPhone worker's suicide?


There has been a lot written about the suicide of a young Chinese worker employed by Foxconn, a contract manufacturer that handles production for many Apple (AAPL) products. The spin in the U.S. media has been centered on Foxconn coming down like a ton of bricks on an innocent 25-year old who, perhaps through no fault of his own, misplaced one of 16 iPhone prototypes the company needed to send back to Apple. Apple is a bit secretive about its products, if you haven't noticed.

I can tell you first-hand why Apple is so stringent about secrecy, and its not only to protect is products. When I was performing research for leading hedge funds, helping them build out channel check mechanisms for technology products, not a month went by when we didn't get a request from some analyst to "get me someone with knowledge of the Apple supply chain and Foxconn in particular." This was a code word for getting inside information on Apple product plans and shipments. The hedge fund that could confirm what volume of products Apple was shipping and when could more accurately price the stock. Of course, this information is secret for a reason: leaks would dramatically move shares.