The answer is that corporate espionage is fairly commonplace, although snooping around at trade shows isn't particularly rewarding, according to early results of this month's Light Reading Work Poll.
Highlights so far include:
- Nearly one third (32 percent) of respondents say their company buys competitors' products in order to dissect them, and a further 19 percent assume their company does this, but don't know whether they do for sure.
- More than one in five respondents (22 percent) have been asked by their company to lift confidential documents from a competitor, and 17 percent have gone ahead and done it.
- Spying that goes beyond taking a look at the competitors’ booths happens quite a lot at trade shows, say 19 percent. Forty-two percent agree some underhanded stuff goes on, but "not as much as the old days".
- Many people seem to view peeking inside a tradeshow display unit as a way of gaining a competitive edge -- 9 percent say quite a lot can be gained and 39 percent say that there is some advantage, although the information isn’t very damaging. Nine percent reckon it’s a waste of time though.
- The main reason for companies taking a peek is to gather information about the hardware so they can copy it, according to 8 percent. Forty-nine percent say it’s to learn the types of merchant chips competitors are using, and 43 percent think it’s valuable for identifying weaknesses in the competition’s products.
- Nicole Willing, Reporter, Light Reading