Taking apart and analyzing every component implemented in devices made by rival companies is something that has been going on for a long time and it is not even illegal as long as the information you get this way is not used to copy the technology.
But what Huawei’s people did is not exactly legal as it appears that Huawei officials attempted to bribe Apple’s partners in China.
According to information released by The Information, one of Huawei’s engineers requested a meeting with one of the suppliers of the Apple Watch smartwatch, promising that the meeting might generate a mutually profitable deal. But at the meeting, the Huawei engineers only talked about the Apple Watch, pressuring the supplier with questions about the product. Basically, the contract Huawei promised was something of a bribe in order to get industrial secrets about the Apple Watch.
This is not Huawei’s first attempt to bribe Apple’s suppliers. Back in 2016 a similar method was tried with the supplier of a component for MacBook Pro. At that time, Huawei engineers were trying to find out how Apple managed to make a screen hinge that is smaller than that of rival products, a hinge that also manages to provide enough space for connectors. According to testimony Huawei even asked for that hinge to be built. Even if Apple’s partners denied any involvement, Huawei found other interested suppliers, and the hinge that was copied from Apple’s products ended up being used on the Huawei Mate Book Pro device, a clone of the MacBook Pro.
Considered a threat against national security in the United States, Huawei is currently dealing with an embargo regarding Huawei’s 5G equipment. The main fear is that Huawei is actually an accomplice of the Chinese Government who’s products are being used to make it easier for Beijing officials to spy on other Governments.