- A former Samsung Electronics manager testified at an insider trading trial
- He said he leaked confidential information about iPad components in 2010
- He divulged info about displays that Samsung supplied for the then-unconfirmed iPad
Do you ever wonder where some of those "supply chain sources" are really coming from when you read Apple rumors? At least one of them came from Samsung, it turns out. Former Samsung Electronics manager Suk-Joo Hwang has testified at an insider trading trial that he leaked confidential information about iPad components before the device made its public debut in early 2010.
The trial in question is for Primary Global Research executive James Fleishman, who is accused of helping to facilitate the exchange of confidential information between traders and employees at various companies. Hwang struck a deal in the Fleishman case in order to be granted immunity from prosecution, allowing him to testify about his information-leaking ways.
When testifying to jurors, Hwang explained that he had lunched with Fleishman and a hedge fund manager in order to pass on information about LCDs that Samsung was supplying for Apple's still-unannounced iPad. "One particular thing I remember vividly was that I talked about the shipment numbers of Apple, it was about iPad," Hwang testified, according to Bloomberg. "This is in December 2009, before it came out with the tablet PC, they didn't know the name then, so I talked to them about the tablet shipment estimates in that meeting."
Fleishman was reportedly paying Hwang a $200 per hour "consultation fee" for the secret information—an offer that was later raised to $350 after Hwang tried to end the relationship.
Hwang went on to explain that both he and the hedge fund manager were aware that they shouldn't have been leaking the confidential info, and even said he suspected that a nearby Apple employee might have overheard their conversation. ("The first thing I thought was 'Wow, I said it too loud' and then I really freaked out," Hwang said.) Soon after the meeting, he discovered that Apple had ditched a supply contract with Samsung, leading to his attempt to sever ties with Fleishman.
Apple deals with leaks coming from from all levels of the system, so Hwang's testimony probably isn't the first Apple has heard of it. Hwang no longer works at Samsung, either—he was canned in June of this year—so at least in this case, Apple's relationship with Samsung as a supplier is likely to remain unscathed, patent wars aside.