Hyundai learns the hard way, if you’re dealing with Apple, shut up about it

Hyundai seems to have be the latest to learn the hard way that if you’re dealing with Apple, keep quiet about it. Don’t issue statements to the press mentioning Apple.

This happens pretty much every single time that Apple enters a new market, or thinks about entering a new market. Would-be partners don’t take Apple’s nondisclosure agreements seriously enough (or at all). They experience the consequences of their blitheness soon enough.

Apple secrecy T-shirt

Kif Leswing for CNBC:

Hyundai confirmed in a short statement last week it was in early talks with Apple about cars. Almost immediately, the Korean auto giant started to backtrack, releasing a subsequent statement that removed all mention of Apple.

Hyundai’s retreat is almost certainly the latest fallout from Apple’s insistence on secrecy and discretion from its suppliers or potential partners. Companies who deal with Apple are held to strict nondisclosure agreements, even if they are public companies and Apple is a major customer.

In at least one case, Apple has threatened to penalize suppliers $50 million for each individual leak, according to a contract that became public as part of a bankruptcy proceeding by supplier GT Advanced Technologies.

Some companies can engage in limited discussions of their business with Apple, especially if Apple has publicly talked about the relationship and approves. One example is Corning, which supplies glass for iPhones.

MacDailyNews Take: Hyundai still might end up getting a deal with Apple, but they’ll certainly have to spend some time in the dog house first.


  1. Adhering to basic honesty in a contract and strict internal governance for good reasons is good Capitalism in as much as Capitalism can be good.
    An emotionally pleasant analogy can be found in The Godfather movie where the organized crime head Don Vito Corleone is regarded as the good guy when, out of context of the movie, he would be a thief, scumbag, murderer, cheater, and otherwise a lawbreaker, an outlaw in fact.
    But we do not know the details nor do we know whether or not Apple worked to initiate Apple’s public outrage. The same goes for Hyundai. It’s easy for us Apple enthusiasts to blame the other company — the other Mafiosi in this analogy — regarding such outcomes.

    1. I agree – live up to the word and spirit of any contract you sign, or accept the consequences. Part of Apple’s brand value has long been associated with its ability to surprise with “one more thing.” While that may no longer be true since Steve Jobs died, Apple has a vested interest in protecting its strategic moves and privileged information.

      Don’t sign the NDA unless you are willing to NOT say…

  2. “I visited the Apple Campus. But that’s all I’m allowed to say.”

    Wow, you must really be special if Apple graciously allowed you to even say that.

    Consider yourself very luck my friend. Yes, very, very lucky indeed!

  3. I think Volkswagen would be a much better fit for Apple if Apple really wants to enter a business with less profit margins than their current business.
    VW offers way more versatility/potential; they own different Brands from Bentley, Porsche, Lambo’s, Audis, etc in more markets. They are leading with their MEB platform which can be applied to cars in very different classes. They have the experience to build real cars which stand the test of time.
    Isn’t Ford looking into using their platform?

  4. A reasonable thought. Perhaps manufacturing costs and, or IP challenges going the VW path?

    VW is still down after diesel-gate…but engaged as a solid EV player (duh).

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