What Do Apple and Viagra Have in Common?

Apple and Viagra seem like two brands least likely to share a common bond, but in fact, both have employed the services of, as the New Yorker's Evan Osnos puts it, "the Seal Team Six of global manufacturing."

John Theriault and Don Shruhan both spent five years in Viagra's security unit helping to shut down counterfeiters before joining Apple to fight the same issue. And after Wikileaks posted cables (written by Shruhan) about the comings and goings of Apple's security team, we gain an interesting look into how Apple's gestapo operates.

But Shruhan was also impressed with the forces Apple could muster: the company had "internal controls at subcontracted facilities" and independent audits "good enough" to guard against workers making knock-offs in their spare time. Moreover, "Apple's system for tracking each product's unique serial number appears very effective, and more sophisticated than Pfizer's," the embassy wrote. Moreover, once Apple realized it faced a real threat to its business, it was prepared to marshal "not only a team of investigators, which Shruhan has subcontracted, but also tools like a laboratory to begin accurately tracing the source of counterfeit goods. A lab that can perform forensic analysis on individual parts like batteries, for example, can help to locate high-volume manufacturers of such component parts." As he put it, his team "does 95 percent of the investigative work," then turns its files over to Chinese authorities, and "gives the [local authorities] 100 percent of the credit."

Tim is watching you. Tim is watching you all the time. [Cablegate Search via New Yorker]