Memo to Steve Jobs / Steve Dowling of Apple
Dear Steve and Steve:
I know you are always quite concerned about secrecy and so I thought you might want to know about what appears to be a real breach in your security veil. No, not for software. We're talking about reporting systems for product sales. You may or may not know of a company called Brightstar. This company is one of the largest distributors of mobile handsets in the world. And yes, they do distribute Apple iPhones, as well as phones from RIMM, Nokia and Samsung. One of my anayst colleagues in the hedge fund industry told me earlier this year that a senior Brightstar executive is or was in the employ of a company called DeMatteo Monness. This company is a close partner of LinkedIn and is one of the "expert networks" we've been writing about here on ZeroHedge.
These networks provide exclusive access -- for a price -- to hedge fund managers seeking confidential conversations with people working inside various industries. (Note to Andrew Cuomo: Is this getting interesting?). As you probably realize, cell phone distributors have a wealth of information that hedge fund managers could potentially benefit from but is not available to the general public or even to most institutional investors. This information is closely held due to the sensitive nature of cell phone sales and shipments and the impact such information could have on stock prices. Whether this senior Brightstar manager is still consulting with hedge fund managers (for what is likely to be a sum of $500 per hour or so) I am unsure. But you should ask the expert network company he was working with for transcripts of those conversations to ensure that no insider trading rules were violated and no material data was released. And you may want to discuss with Brightstar, as well, what sort of information may or may not have been released.
Steve and Steve, just trying to help you run a tight ship. I'm sure the hedge fund managers won't mind talking to normal sources of information that are more accessible, such as the NPD Group. Good luck going forward.