Chinese electronic manufacturer Foxconn has apparently agreed to pay compensation to the parents of a young employee who apparently committed suicide by jumping off his high-rise apartment building following the loss of an iPhone prototype. According to reports in the Associated Press and elsewhere, Foxconn will pay the employee’s parents some 360,000 yuan (just over $50,000 USD) plus 30,000 yuan a year so long as either of them remains alive.
The July 16 incident has highlighted the infamous secrecy surround Apple’s product development cycle, as the employee, 25 year old Sun Danyong, allegedly committed suicide after losing one of 16 fourth-generation iPhone prototypes in his care. Foxconn security personnel were accused of abusing and beating Sun in efforts to recover the prototype; Foxconn has denied those allegations, but has suspended the security chief who headed up the investigation of the missing prototype.
Foxconn manufacturers numerous devices for Apple, including iPhone and iPod products. Apple’s veil of secrecy creates a froth of speculations about future products and upgrades—such as the current fervor over a possible Apple tablet device. The company has been known to do to great lengths to keep its product plans from journalists, competitors, and its own famously faithful customers.
Foxconn has apologized for the incident, and Apple has expressed its regret at Sun’s death. So far, there are no reports as to whether the prototype device has been recovered.
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