Here’s your daily tech digest, by way of the DGiT Daily newsletter, for Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019.

Sign up right here to get the full email with much more into your inbox.

1. “How Huawei targets Apple trade secrets” – report

Huawei Matebook 13 Hands On

A new bombshell report from The Information (paywall – also detailed by C Scott Brown at Android Authority) has added to Huawei’s PR woes.

The report sheds light via alleged findings from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) on how dedicated Huawei is to copying Apple trade secrets:

  • Feel free to suggest a design you already have experience with,” suggested a Huawei engineer to an Apple Watch heart rate sensor supplier.

That’s just one detail from the report, which further alleges that Huawei financially compensated employees if they delivered confidential secrets from competitors:

  • The DOJ suggests this bonus scheme wasn’t a secret at all – with an internal company website and email address for sending “stolen information.”
  • “The more lucrative and/or confidential the stolen information is, the higher the bonus,” reported The Information.
  • The juicy details in the article are from where Huawei has set up either phony business meetings with competitor suppliers, promising large contracts and then conducting detailed interviews prying at Apple technologies.
  • The 2016 MacBook Pro’s hinge design is noted as being likely copied.
  • Huawei also appears to have set up interviews to potentially hire former Apple staff.
  • The meetings, instead of being a job interview, saw the ex-Apple staff grilled with questions about Apple products and practices.
  • One anonymous person who went through this process said, “It was clear they were more interested in trying to learn about Apple than they were in hiring me.”
  • Huawei’s alleged sham deal-making also reads poorly for the company, where it dangled potentially large contracts in front of component manufacturers, then held meetings with multiple engineers and researchers asking questions for hours
  • “They were trying their luck, but we wouldn’t tell them anything,” said one executive.
  • Huawei’s approaches to Foxconn, Apple’s long-time iPhone and device assembler, were also noted.
  • The Information does note that Apple’s “South Korean competitors” also tried this in the past, which led to the rise of Apple’s global security team, which “regularly audits suppliers regarding factory security,” said the report.

It doesn’t look good for Huawei, if the DOJ findings are proven:

  • It’s hardly uncommon for companies to attempt to copy designs and technologies – both the smartphone and PC industry have been and remain rife with heavy “borrowing” of ideas and concepts.
  • Implementing the same feature on a smartphone or laptop through a similar approach? Standard, and has been for years.
  • But dedicating an internal website to incentivize direct IP theft? That’s …ambitious.

Update, February 19 at 9:49 a.m. ET: Android Authority has received a response from Huawei regarding these allegations:

Huawei denies any wrongdoing. Huawei requires its suppliers to uphold a high standard of ethics, including signing our Honesty and Integrity Agreement or entering similar commitments, and expects its suppliers to honor their confidentiality obligations to their other customers when communicating with Huawei. In conducting research and development, Huawei employees must search and use publicly available information and respect third-party intellectual property per our Business Conduct Guidelines. Huawei does not seek or have access to our competitors’ confidential information. Huawei is a leading device maker. Our R&D expenditure is more than that of most of our competitors. Our customers choose us because Huawei products have high quality, good design, and features.


2. Galaxy S10 TV commercial airs a day early in Norway (Android Authority). (A reminder the S10 launch is tomorrow!)


3. Huawei P30 series name confirmed, along with Mar. 26 launch date, and hints of camera zoom functionality (AA).


4. Android Q might replace the back button with a gesture (AA).


5. Gary Explains: Is your smartphone spying on you? (AA). (This one might be more accurately called Gary Investigates, testing four devices including a Huawei Mate smartphone.)


6. Emoji and emoticons are showing up in court cases exponentially, including 30 percent of all cases in 2018, and courts aren’t prepared for dialects and double-meanings (The Verge).


7. Days after a Greenpeace report dinged Amazon, the company says it will release a company wide carbon-footprint report by the end of the year, and aims to make half of its shipments carbon neutral by 2030 (Amazon blog).


8. Google has published a 30-page report detailing how it fights fake news (blog.google – [PDF]). Microsoft product leader Dare Obasanjo has a Twitter thread with key insights, if you’re busy.


9. What’s at the edge of the Universe? (Gizmodo).


10. Australia aiming to plant a billion trees to help meet climate targets (Bloomberg).


11. Here’s a list of emotions that you probably didn’t realise had a name in English or any other language: The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. “Sonder: The realization that each passerby has a life as vivid and complex of your own.”


DGiT Daily: Your Tech Resource

In case you don’t know, the DGiT Daily delivers a daily email that keeps you ahead of the curve for all tech news, opinions, and links to what’s going down in the planet’s most important field. You get all the context and insight you need, and all with a touch of fun, and the daily fun element that you otherwise miss.

Sign up right here to get the full email with much more into your inbox