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End of the Apple rumor gravy train

20 December 2010 2,677 views 3 Comments

For bloggers, fresh rumors out of Taiwan can mean a scoop worth thousands or even millions of pageviews, long-tail back links and, one hopes, maybe some decent coin (i.e. Mac n’ Cheese vs. cheap ramen) from Adsense et al. For people making serious bets on the shares of American companies doing business there, these inside stories (and a thousand the rest of us never read) can mean a lot more than that.

Buried in a Bloomberg newswire summary late Sunday night was this nugget:

“Taiwan has been the wild, wild East. If you want to understand the global tech value chain, you’re going to need to know what’s going on in the Taiwan slice of it” — said Peter Douglas, principal, GFIA, Singapore.

Well, that’s putting it politely as “the Taiwan slice of it” in Apple’s case pretty much covers all of their hardware products.

Thereupon arrest and one presumes prosecution of Walter Shimoon, an employee of Apple supplier Flextronics who “moonlighted” as a “consultant” for Primary Global, for insider trading is an attempt by US authorities to quash the illicit trade in insider information out of Asia in general and Taiwan in particular.

Moreover, this is just the latest salvo from the US Justice Department — back in August Apple manager Paul Shin Devine was arrested for taking bribes in exchange for inside product information that he provided Asian component makers who used it to successfully win lucrative supply contracts with the Cupertino, California-based company.

End of an era?

Can US federal authorities, one assumes with at least the tacit complicity of Apple, put enough pressure on the Taiwan rumor mill to shut it down? That’s a tough call, because many of these leaks aren’t for the benefit of US “investors” and their fellow travelers.

That is, many of the leaks of inside Apple, etc. product information is for the benefit of people in Taiwan, the ones trading shares on the local bourse of local companies that just happen to do business with the mothership. Getting Taiwanese authorities to crack down even on the small fry in this equation is going to be a hard sell, one item on a long list of victimless crimes (a.k.a. capitalism).

Whatever the case, we’ll soon have an answer vis-a-vis the quality of information coming out DigiTimes, the Economic Daily, CENS et al. The downside is that it might take us some time to successfully parse it…

What’s your take?

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