Apple Recruited Pfizer Employees to Combat Piracy in China

Facing a wave of knockoff iPods and iPhones in China, Apple enlisted members of Pfizer's global security team to crackdown on the counterfeit industry, according to U.S. cables obtained by WikiLeaks. CNN's Mark Milian discovered the cables among the group's recent dump of documents, which include items on Apple's losing 3-year-old effort to prevent gadget piracy in China. According to the documents, Apple recruited employees of the pharmaceutical company for their experience sniffing out counterfeit Viagra manufacturers in Asia. "The hunger for Apple products is insatiable there," reports Milian. "That's why stores have begun to sell the products without Apple's permission, while others are hawking cheaper, lower-quality gadgets that are aesthetically similar and bear the chic Apple logo." Unfortunately for Apple, the Chinese government hasn't been a willing partner in shutting down counterfeit Apple manufacturers in the country. "Chinese officials readily cooperated with pharmaceutical companies on their raids, but that hasn't translated to software, as Microsoft has discovered, or electronics, as Apple is learning," says a source. "Whereas a defective pill could cause sickness or death, a shoddy iPod has less dire consequences." Over at CNN Money, Philip Elmer-DeWitt lays out the U.S. cables.

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