Y'know, I can't get this story out of my mind. And I'm mystified that we haven't seen a MASS of fuss around it.
If I'm right, at the last count there were 22 fully-functioning, fully-branded bootleg Apple stores that had been discovered in China.
Now, I'm an old music business hand, who recalls when it wasn't consumers (with the hysterical exception of the "Home Taping Is Killing Music" campaign that ran in the 80's when I was still working in retail ...) who were held accountable for piracy, it was Middle- and Far-Eastern factories.
Those appalling quality bootleg cassettes of Police albums that overseas travellers brought back with them still live in my ears.
A very funny twist to the story is that of course, of all the companies that feature more recently in the music industry's "we are victims of the most appalling crime" complaint, one of the most reviled is ... Apple. While Steve Jobs was welcome with joyful weeping when iTunes launched, now almost everybody on the business side hates him. Nothing like a little "you stole my toy" resentment.
So now, we've come full circle in a way that you really couldn't write ... the same relentless commercial amorality that produced those unlistenable copies of Outlandos D'Amour - selling product that of course comes out of the back - or front even - of the factories that make the very same beautiful laptop on which I'm writing this - has produced a fully-working facsimile of the entire Apple brand experience.
Some of the kids who work in these bootleg stores truly believe - or at least want to, or maybe just don't care ... - that they're working for the man. The Jobs man, I mean.
But the thing that tickles me most of all is that, of all the many things that music business hacks lament, right up there is the demise of the old-style, mom-and-pop record store. And guess where all that buzz has migrated to? Well, think back to your last Apple Store visit.