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Friday, July 24, 2009, 07:05 am PT (10:05 am ET)

Despite Foxconn troubles, Apple "unlikely" to change supplier

Industry sources suggest Apple will not cease its manufacturing business arrangement with Foxconn, even as questions over the Chinese company's alleged interrogation tactics continue to mount.

Citing Taiwanese sources, DigiTimes said speculation that Apple would end its partnership with Foxconn is unlikely to come to pass.

"Players from the component sector said such a change is unlikely to happen because product development involves collaboration on technologies that cannot be easily transferred to other makers," the report states.

This as allegations have surfaced that Apple investigated complaints about Foxconn well before the alleged suicide of a 25-year-old Chinese man last week. According to eWeek, Apple audited Foxconn in 2006 after reports surfaced in a British newspaper about supposed poor working conditions in the Chinese factories.

This month, the company's foreign factories came under fire again, as a new investigation found that 45 of the 83 factories that built iPhones and iPods in 2008 weren't paying valid overtime rates, and 23 weren't even paying some of their workers China's minimum wage.

Sun Danyong allegedly killed himself after a prototype he was responsible for — reportedly a fourth-generation iPhone — went missing. Prior to his death, friends said he told them he was subjected to "unbearable interrogation techniques" by Foxconn employees, leading some to believe he was beaten. Sun reportedly had his property seized and was held in solitary confinement before he jumped from a 12-story building last week.

As the story began to spread, Apple issued a response.

"We are saddened by the tragic loss of this young employee and we are awaiting results of the investigations into his death," an Apple spokesperson said. "We require our suppliers to treat all workers with dignity and respect."

Chinese newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily, as relayed by DigiTimes, said Foxconn has reached a settlement with the family of Sun. The paper said it obtained closed-circuit TV footage of Sun's interviews, but stated there was no indication that he was beaten.