Posts Tagged ‘ethical smartphones’

Apple: The $81bn question

Friday, October 21st, 2011

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…)

Have HTC read their own Code of Ethics recently?

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

So I’ve been looking at choosing my next smartphone upgrade with a nod to its ethical implications. It’s not really surprised me that it’s not that easy to find out much on this. Customer services departments tend to clam up when you ask awkward questions, and I don’t have the clout of a proper media outlet to make press offices take note.

HTC have come the closest in terms of answering my questions so far though, and were good enough to give me the requested copy of their Code of Ethics for suppliers (PDF). It’s not a bad policy *, mentioning the right to union membership, and many of the key terms you’d expect.

After a stunt last year by workers who make HTC phone touchscreens, HTC Chairperson Cher Wang engaged sympathetically but told her disrupted press conference that the issue wasn’t one she knew about, other than that it related not to HTC staff, but to a supplier (Young Fast Optoelectronics), and that therefore HTC unfortunately couldn’t do anything about it.

However, a lot of the issues in the HTC supplier code neatly map against a Taiwanese government inspector’s report from 2010. Chairperson Wang is a busy woman, so I’ve made her a handy cut out and keep guide: (more…)