Sprint cans employee for leaking EVO 4G sales numbers

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The tales surrounding the launch of the EVO 4G have been intriguing, to say the least. On June 4th, the device launched. By June 7th, Sprint was touting the phone’s sales as mammoth, claiming that it had broken their previous one-day sales records (as held by the Samsung Instinct and Palm Pre) by as much as 3 times. Just two days later, they recanted that story, declaring that they had “erred” in their original estimations, and that the sales numbers were inline with those of their previous top sellers.

There was, however, a bit of the story which we didn’t see: the part where a Sprint employee used the inventory system to figure out exactly how many EVO 4Gs were sold and posted that number online, resulting in a speedy investigation by Sprint HQ and the employee’s immediate termination.

We’ve reached out to Sprint for a comment on the matter, but here’s the story as we’re hearing it so far from a trusted source: On the afternoon of June 6th (before Sprint had released any sales numbers), a Sprint retail employee posted a note to the growingly infamous phone hacking forum, XDA-Developers, with sales figure details gleaned from their system. The post has since been removed, but bits of it are still lingering in Google’s cache:

“according to sprint we as a [company] have sold 66,483 theres a whole bunch of stores though that dont have any more inventory i dont think any major city sprint does”

According to this employee’s perusing, Sprint had dished out roughly 66.5 thousand EVO 4Gs after a little more than two days following launch. (Note that, as far as I know, this number only accounts for Sprint stores — not third party sellers like WalMart, RadioShack, etc. Even then, this number could be incorrect, depending on how the employee uncovered the number and any updating latency involved. I doubt Sprint’s going to confirm its accuracy, so take it with a grain of salt.)

Now, this post went mostly unnoticed by blogs and other media outlets — but it didn’t go unnoticed by Sprint HQ. As leaks are becoming more and more prevalent, carriers and manufacturers are dedicating more resources toward keeping an eye on forums like these for any breadcrumbs leading back to the source. Unfortunately for this given leakster, the breadcrumbs were all there.

Within a few days, an internal Sprint team (which, we’re told, is known around the carrier as “Forensics”) had traced the employee back to his Florida store. One of Sprint’s internal security task force members was immediately flown from Kansas to Florida; the employee was pulled in, their posting habits literally laid all out on the table, and they were terminated on the spot.

We see leaks each and every day; they are, after all, the lifeblood of any good gadget blog. Just because they’re a regular occurrence, however, doesn’t mean that employers are going to let them slide. They’re well within their rights to let any red-handed info-leakers go — and if any NDAs are involved, there very well could be some litigation involved. If the breadcrumbs are there, they’ll find’em.

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