While GT Advanced Technologies and Apple had argued to keep documents pertaining to their sapphire glass agreement sealed during GT’s bankruptcy proceedings, a judge ruled the documents didn’t contain trade secrets and would remain largely unsealed. Those documents now give us a peek into some of Apple’s business practices.
One of those documents, an unedited affidavit from GT Advanced COO Daniel Squiller, gave insight into the terms of the deal between the two companies, but another, the original privacy agreement that GT Advanced signed, gives a rare look into how Apple does business with its suppliers.
The documents show that the project was known internally as “Project Onyx,” and the deal was subject to strict confidentiality rules. GT employees were only allowed to refer to Apple or the project by code names. The employees were also required to undergo training regarding confidentiality and security in addition to signing extensive non-disclosure agreements. All information was on a “need to know” basis.
Measures put in place to prevent potential leaks included GT being required to establish a security team, with strict guidelines requiring 24/7 surveillance, credential screening, tracking of all supplies, and secure destruction of all scrap materials.
Apple would be allowed to audit records, inspect facilities, and interview personnel to ensure compliance. Any evidence of non-compliance would result in a $135,000 “security fee” to pay for an audit and any increase in Apple’s security efforts.
GT Advanced was also required to maintain liability insurance, and comply with Apple’s Supplier Code of Conduct. GT would also be required to fulfill orders for replacement goods for seven years following “the date Apple designates as end-of-life” for the Apple product featuring sapphire, as well as maintain an “adequate stock” of materials for Service Units.
It is likely the agreement signed by GT Advanced is similar to the agreements Apple requires all of its suppliers to sign, giving us a peek at the lengths Apple is willing to go to in order to maintain secrecy. Despite the company’s best efforts, as we well know, information concerning components, and various other information concerning upcoming and rumored products continue to leak to the media.