Crackdown: Teenpreneur Selling White iPhones

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Picture this: the geeky, ambitious teenage boy who starts a little tech business out of his home. Michael Dell did it. He got his start out of a dorm at the University of Texas back in 1983 assembling customized computer kits. Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook out of his dorm. Heck, half - scratch that - more than half of the tech industry's Cinderella billionaires got their start out of their parent's basement, a dorm room or somebody's garage. 

17 year old Fei Lam says he's just doing the same thing, but he is reportedly in trouble for it. 

Lam is making a tidy sum converting black iPhone 4's into white iPhone 4's. He's selling them at about $300 a pop from his web site, whiteiphone4now.com. So far, he's grossed $130,000. 

You may recall, Apple hasn't yet started selling the elusive white iPhone 4. The exact reason why is anyone's guess. One rumor has it that Steve Jobs is not satisfied that the white casing matches the white button. 

Lam claims he has a connection supplying him white iPhone parts directly from Foxconn, the company in China that makes iPhones for Apple. 

There is a legitimate question mark whether his connection acquired those parts on the up and up. In the meantime, Lam is telling reporters that he has been contacted by a private investigator on behalf of a anti-counterfeit and trademark protection company. The company is investigating Lam for possibly using stolen parts. 

My question: why hassle the kid? Why not go after the dubious supplier? And who exactly is behind the investigation. Is Apple really that insecure? I'd like to think Apple is too busy counting its billions of dollars in sales to pick on a kid from Queens who says he's just trying to make money for college. 

My bigger question: If a 17 year old high school student can figure out how to get a white iPhone 4 out on the market, why can't Apple? 

You are welcome to follow me on Twitter @oricchio.

 

 

 

 

Last updated: Nov 18, 2010




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