After Mike Daisey with his Apple/Foxconn monologue, here’s Jon Stewart tackling Apple and other tech firms reliance on labour exploitation in China to produce their goods. Unfortunately us limeys can’t see the Daily Show’s online video, so check out this filmed-off-the-box grab of it (Before SOPA gets to it!)
Archive for the ‘Apple-hate’ Category
I’ve been a fan of US storyteller Mike Daisey ever since I saw his 21 Dog Years show in a special UK performance at TUC towers in 2005. His current venture (a year old now but on a re-run in US theatres) is particularly interesting for me though, after the time I’ve spent of late looking into ethics issues in smartphone manufacture. Wanting to know more about the origins of his iPad, he took it with him in 2010 to the gates of Shenzhen’s Foxconn consumer electronics mega-plant.
The resulting show, “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs”, deals with his Apple fandom (well, no-one’s perfect…) and its wider world implications. I’ve not seen the show sadly (he doesn’t appear this side of the pond too often), but I’ve been fascinated to listen to half of it, via a recent episode of the US radio show This American Life. (more…)
Even with a failure to meet latest targets – presumably to iPhone 5 hype and 4S meh meaning phone sales were down 3 million from projections – Apple Computer still turned a ludicrous $28bn last quarter. That’s two thirds up on previous turnover, and a whopping 85% up on profit – thanks to very healthy margins on their premium i-Gewgaws.
Tim Cook’s biggest problem now is what to do with an $81bn and growing surplus that Apple are just sitting on. Frankly, they’re raking it in far faster than they can do anything with it. They were never big on dividends to shareholders, and even their much vaunted R&D operation is only $450m a year – hardly a pinprick on their cash mountain. And the problem shows no sign of going away – as they charge into the Chinese gadget market, they’re predicting a bailout-tastic £37bn for the next quarter.
So given they have more money than they know what to do with, why are they still so keen on screwing every penny out of their suppliers, and by extension their outsourced workforce? (more…)
That looks to have fallen on deaf ears though as the company are reported to be currently demanding 10% price cuts from their outsourced component suppliers, despite huge increases in sales.
The fact that Apple already have profit margins for iPhones far higher than any of their competitors – running nearly 60% – doesn’t seem to register. Apple are already squeezing their suppliers harder than other firms, and those suppliers are already squeezing their staff – with disastrous consequences.
What effect do they seriously think a 10% cost cut is going to have on the labour rights and safety concerns that Steve Jobs claims to be “all over”?
Firstly there are reports of mass arrests at Foxconn India, where workers have been striking for 18 days over pay, disputed sackings and the recognition of their union. 320 workers have been arrested along with union officials. And in China a new academic study, where teachers and students appear to have infiltrated the company for their research, threatens to lift the lid on working conditions. Apparently in some plants, interns (on vastly inferior working conditions) make up 50% of the workforce, the promised wage increases have been much smaller than claimed in public, 38.1% of the workforce claim management have invaded their privacy, and a shocking 16.4% have experienced physical violence at work.
So the shine appears to be coming off iPhones just as quickly as before.