GT Advanced bankruptcy judge challenges Apple’s penchant for secrecy

“After keeping nearly a dozen lawyers in expensive suits cooling their heels for an hour outside his Springfield, Mass., courtroom, Judge Henry Boroff moved briskly to the heart of what mattered to Apple: 13 provisions in its contract with GT Advanced Technologies — provisions that GT claims are so ‘oppressive and burdensome’ that they sent the company into bankruptcy,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune.

“Apple insists that the terms of the contract are too sensitive to be released to the public, and it wants them kept under seal,” P.E.D. reports. “Judge Boroff might have been more receptive to that argument if he hadn’t read the documents in question.”

“He told Apple’s attorneys Wednesday that he was “having some trouble” finding any trade secrets or commercial interests in them that would justify a blanket seal,” P.E.D. reports. “Judge Boroff gave Apple until Monday to list — by page and line — the sections that could hurt the company. ‘I want to give Apple the protection it deserves,’ he said, ‘but not more than it deserves.'”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple, GT Advanced in secret session with bankruptcy judge – October 9, 2014
Apple supplier GT Advanced: Confidentiality pact rules out bankruptcy explanation – October 9, 2014
Apple ‘surprised’ by GT Advanced’s bankruptcy filing – October 8, 2014
Shattered sapphire dreams at GT Advanced – October 8, 2014
Apple’s withholding of $139 million payment led to GT Advanced bankruptcy filing – October 7, 2014
GT Advanced CEO sold 9,000 shares the day before Apple’s iPhone 6/Plus event – October 7, 2014
Law firms launch investigations into possible violations of federal securities laws by GT Advanced – October 7, 2014
Analyst: Apple may take possession of sapphire furnaces from GT Advanced – October 7, 2014
Apple to provide debtor in possession financing to GT Advanced? – October 7, 2014
Investors stunned over GT Advanced bankruptcy filing – October 7, 2014
GT Advanced files for chapter 11 bankruptcy court protection – October 6, 2014
Apple and GT Advanced rampup sapphire production in Mesa – August 11, 2014
GT Advanced expects sales of sapphire production tools to boost profit; shares surge – August 5, 2014
Apple and GT Advanced open second sapphire plant in Salem, Massachusetts – June 19, 2014
Apple patents method for embedding sapphire displays in LiquidMetal device chassis – May 27, 2014

32 Comments

  1. Scenario 1: Apple has rights under the law for the info to be kept secret.

    Scenario 2: Apple does not such rights.

    Alternate dissection 1: Apple got caught in an uncomfortable situation.

    Alternate dissection 2: Apple is right where they want to be.

    Discuss.

      1. I’m sure you are right. I was thinking the biggest issue would be debt. But if Apple are presumably the largest holder of debt then probably not a big deal.
        As for shareholder lawsuits. If the previous owners were responsible for illicit management then I’m not sure the new owners would be culpable.

        1. “If the previous owners were responsible for illicit management then I’m not sure the new owners would be culpable”

          don’t be too sure of that…..

          despite bank of america getting away with a handslap, just like the rest of the banksters hedge funds, mortgage chislers and other assorted lowlife greed-heads who crashed the economy, they were held liable for the sins of countrywide, which they bought before everything fell apart, so…..

  2. Apple wants their bully tactics kept secret because this whole thing is going to end up giving Apple a black eye. Once the facts come out more will come out from other companies.

    Go ahead fanboys, attack, but before you do, ask yourself, how does Apple keep their margins so high? Part of it is by making superior products and the software that runs them but the other part is keeping costs down. What happens behind closed doors that keeps costs down? Well that’s what Apple is trying to keep secret.

    1. Your portrayal of Apple as a predator is naive. Apple’s competitive advantages are unique, and every competitor would love to have them. I have no problem with Apple’s operational prowess. I do have a problem with business people with insider information selling their stocks before they tank, like Mr. Squiller did.

    2. Possibly, Greg M, but you provide no support for your conjecture. Apple put over $0.5B on the line in this deal. The company is justified in protecting its financial interest. If it turns out that Apple locked GTAT into a raw deal, then I will be disappointed. But I have not seen any proof of that to date. You, on the other hand, seem willing to speculate and disparage Apple without any facts. You call us fanboys as part of that FUD attack – that just makes you an anonymous, hater troll.

    3. ‘Bully boy’ tac tics are what Microsoft enacted during Bill Gates tenure.

      What GT Advanced were offered was a cost free factory with raw material paid for in advance so that they could put into action their sapphire IP.

      Once production was in flow because the quality of material had met Apple’s standard of requirement, then they would be paid for delivery of said material.

      What seems to have happened is that the management sold shares to Jo public on the delivery of the small amount of products delivered for the fingerprint readers in order to pad their salaries before beginning mass production for the next order.

      Upon the start of mass production, they probably realized that that was the wrong process for a large product such as the iPhone 6 & 6 Plus, but having confidently assured Apple inc. that they would deliver by accepting and spending advanced payment, found they probably needed a new foundry that is specific to the iPhone 6 sized screen, but where to source the money? You cannot go to the stock market to recapitalize nor can you go back to Apple and admit your error in order to be recapitalized by Apple, so……cue in a request for chapter eleven protection whilst they try to negotiate for more money from Apple inc. to repurpose the assembly belt.

      Just my take on the whole mishandled matter.

    4. It is not “bully tactics”. Secrecy is absolute must with every supplier, and all of Apple’s contracts with hundreds of suppliers is exactly the same.

      The only reason why this discussed now is because GTAT bankrupted itself.

  3. Judge to Apple: Bend over Apple, I have to check your colon for drugs. Tell us exactly what’s in there that you think people shouldn’t know about, before we make it public. But from what I can see, there’s nothing that up there that should bother you.

    Ummm, how about negotiating tactics, people time and places, that can let others know how we work, think, give competitors an upper hand. Maybe it will show that the whole sapphire game was a ruse to get other companies to waste time and money trying to develop something that is either not possible or unnecessary.

    I am not saying that sapphire is not possible, but maybe Apple could have invest in areas to lead others on less deserving paths.

    The Allies had fake tanks and artillery to fool Germany of the plans for D-Day. This is totally above board, ever since copiers decided that Apple was the feeding trough of ideas.

    1. to me it is more than significant that wsj, among others, is pressing for confidential contractual details to be released? correct me if i am incorrect, but doesn’t amazon own wsj?

      don’t companies voluntarily or under the courts direction recuse themselves due to conflicts of interest?

      it is my personal opinion, all things considered, that apple has embarked upon an irrevocable, adversarial path with every element of the u.s. government, principally the present administration and its departments (justice, police, judiciary etc.).

      why? recall the recent hue and cry over the somewhat impenetrable security of iOS 8 and the iPhone itself. i believe this will prove to be an existential struggle to the death for apple, literally. as they used to say, you can’t fight city hall, not to mention the fbi, nsa et al.

      1. doesn’t amazon own wsj?

        WSJ is owned by News Corp, aka the Murdoch clan.

        I don’t see Apple as adversarial at all, even remotely. I do see adversarial BS coming from lots of other directions AT Apple, however. From my POV it is because of at least a few things:
        1) Apple does NOT follow the bad biznizz practices of the average company in our age of customer abuse. Apple is on a positive path and the negative self-destructive scum companies deeply resent it. They force that resentment down the throats of their pawns, whom I am forced to call #MyStupidGovernment.
        2) Apple is the biggest and best company on the planet, that big fat target that even lazy dickheads can hit without much effort.
        3) Apple vocally declines to pay the USA’s outrageous tax rate on foreign earned income, as they should. That ticks off #MyStupidGovernment even further. I suppose one could call this last point adversarial, except again I see it coming exactly from the OTHER direction, and again Apple refuses to do things the wrong way. This is clearly a happy Jobsian legacy that I heartily applaud.

        But you bring up a GREAT point! If indeed this isn’t just play acting, it appears that the obsessive, traitorous surveillance fanatics within #MyStupidGovernment really do want to stop real, unbreakable encryption and other solid security features in various products and programs, especially Apple’s!

        As for struggle-to-the-death, I don’t know. There is a lot more going on around us that is dragging the USA into a death spiral. I can easily point at a variety of proven culprits. Apple isn’t one of them. From my limited comprehension of how the USA is going to make itself irrelevant in the world (and it is!), I don’t think Apple is going to be much of a factor.

        I do however see this BETRAYAL of the US Constitution and abuse of the US citizenry as a PRIME source of my country’s self-destruction. It’s a demolition from within, clearly at the bidding of parasites within the self-destructive biznizz community. Simply witness what a lot of biz-scum did in 2007 to bring down the entire world’s economy. There are now books on the subject, much more knowledgeable than I am. I personally watched exactly what Goldman Sachs was doing in the spring of 2007 and noticed a lot of sheeple companies either following suit or falling prey to the schemes. – – And now nasty AIG is suing because We The People saved their sorry asses. That’s a profound sign of sickness in the biznizz community, of which Apple is NOT a part.

  4. So, if the contract with Apple is so ‘oppressive and burdensome’ then why did GT Advanced Technologies agree to them? The people who work at GT are over 21, aren’t they?

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