Apple has gone public on a problem of which people have been aware at some level for some time. The nuts and bolts are that it’s suing an American company for selling fake Apple chargers and cables on Amazon (American site only as far as the lawsuit goes). This might sound just like any other corporation defending its turf but this is a little different: the technology has, according to some of the reviews, caused fires.
So it’s a question of safety as well as corporate finance. For the IT professional and people at board level, it’s also a matter of knowing exactly what’s coming into your company or public sector enterprise, and what isn’t.
Apple may not be alone
Let’s be clear about one thing. The following theory is speculation for which there isn’t any immediate evidence to hand, but it’s not unreasonable. Apple has gone public. Also, it has enough money to sue people if it feels the need. Not every business has that luxury. It is therefore not unreasonable to suggest that other desirable brands may be subject to the same sort of forgery issues but are either unaware or are not taking action.
Now consider your own BYOD strategy (Bring Your Own Device) if you have one. Many organisations have such a policy that lets their employees use their own tablets and/or phones. This is often seen as a positive thing, but ask yourself: how certain are you that if an employee uses the charger for his or her iPhone, they don’t go straight to Amazon, eBay or any other third party seller and buy the cheapest?
If the product is genuine, they’d be crazy not to. Meanwhile if the product is fake or indeed hazardous, the seller would be stupid to admit as much.
There isn’t an easy answer to this. An unprecedented amount of corporate technology has found its way into the purview of the individual buyer. This is fine as long as the employee is aware of the hazards of taking the seller’s word for the authenticity of the product, and of eBay and Amazon’s open-door policies to sellers. This, however, can’t be taken for granted.
Anyone with a BYOD policy in place needs also to look to educating their employees about what can happen if you buy from just anywhere.