Modern-day Apple has a reputation as one of the most secretive technology companies on the planet. The Cupertino-based company goes to great lengths to keep the competition guessing and now thanks to court filings from GT Advanced, we have an idea of just how serious they are.
Court filings from Apple’s former sapphire supplier detail a $50 million penalty per occurrence for any leaked information regarding any upcoming, unannounced product. It’s unclear if this is the standard penalty clause fee or if it varies depending on the size of the supplier but either way, that’s a lot of money.
When you factor in the number of leaks that we saw leading up to the unveiling of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, suppliers could have been on the hook for hundreds of millions in penalties – assuming of course that the leaks could be tracked back to them.
Lawyers for GT Advanced are arguing that even more information about the company’s relationship with Apple be brought to light ahead of a Wednesday court hearing. Their stance is that the supplier agreement they signed with Apple was “oppressive and burdensome” and suggests shareholders might want to seek compensation from Apple due to the bankruptcy of GT Advanced.
If you recall, Apple and GT Advanced entered into a five-year agreement with Tim Cook and company lending GT more than half a billion dollars to build a sapphire manufacturing plant in Arizona. Most expected that at least the new high-end iPhone 6 (the Plus, as we know it now) would ship with a sapphire display.
It is now believed that Apple fully intended to use sapphire in the new phones but GT simply wasn’t able to keep up with demand which led to their falling out and GT’s bankruptcy filing.