T-Mobile’s USA branch are not happy today, as reports are coming in that they are suing rival Chinese firm Huawei, whose employees have apparently made off with their robot. It’s a lot less like a tussle between two toddlers at playgroup than you might think, as the robot in question is an asset closely guarded by T-Mobile.
Foul play was suspected, as T-mobile’s lawsuit details the actions of sneaky Huawei employees who apparently “Illicitly photographed the device, tried to smuggle components out of T-Mobile’s Bellevue lab, and – when banned from the facility – tried to sneak back in”
Not very nice behaviour from Huawei, if it’s true. The little robot at the centre of the legal battle has the innocent moniker of “Tappy”, and was designed to test smartphones so humans don’t have to.
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Apparently now, according to T-mobile, Huawei is “using T-Mobile’s stolen robot technology to test non T-Mobile handsets.” the report says.
Tappy is a tapper alright, designed to tap touchscreens at a rapid rate in order to search for bugs. Emulating human interaction methods, Tappy can help spot bugs by performing the same action over and over without the need for an employee, and much faster than a human being can.
Whilst Huawei themselves have admitted their employees did overstep the line when at T-Mobile’s premises, but still contest the lawsuit anyway. T-Mobile claims that a Huawei engineer stole one of poor Tappy’s fingertips and concealed it in a laptop bag a couple of years ago.
T-Mobile hasn’t yet spoken out about the damage Tappy’s theft has done to their business, but claims that it had to fork out ‘at least tens of millions of dollars’ switching to other handsets.
A spokesman for Huawei, Will Plumber, says there is some truth in the allegations against the two employees, promising to work within the legal system to come to a fair resolution to his company’s wrongdoing with T-Mobile.
Apparently, according to Plumber, the two employees suspected of the corporate espionage have been fired for violating the business guidelines Huawei employees must uphold.
“As for the rest of the complaint, Huawei respects T-Mobile’s right to file suit and we will cooperate fully with any investigation or court proceeding to protect our rights and interests.” He said.
The story of Tappy’s harassment has thoroughly upset us today, and we hope that his abusers are brought to justice. One day, robots will be people too, and when that day comes, I hope they can forgive us for all the misguided things we’ve done.
Source: Seattle Times