in Technology, World News

Apple’s Issues in China

The recent New York Times article is an important one to read if you use anything remotely computerized or digital. They picked the big target of the day, currently Apple, to build a great headline. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that if you own something with an Amazon, Samsung, IBM, Microsoft, Motorola, Sony, etc. etc. etc. label on it that you’re ok.

That Kindle you’re holding was very likely made in a factory right beside the one my iPhone was made in. And that Xbox controller is from a factory just down the street. As Devin Coldewey wrote in his response article on TechCrunch1:

Something the article only fleetingly acknowledges is that Foxconn is used by most of the major electronics brands in the world. Samsung, Microsoft, Amazon, and the rest all contract with Foxconn to manufacture, assemble, or finish their products. The threatened mass suicide the other week was, in fact, at an Xbox production facility.

The web page you’re viewing this article on is hosted on a web server who’s RAM, CPU and hard drives were probably made in a similar factory. Just about everything in our digital world has been touched or built by someone in China who’s being paid a lot less per day then you make per hour.

At the end of the day, as ruthless as Apple is painted in the article on their business practices – and I’m sure that they are that ruthless – I really do trust that of the companies building our widgets and gizmos, Apple is one of the few that will actually do something about it.

Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, emailed every Apple employee in response to the article

We will continue to dig deeper, and we will undoubtedly find more issues. What we will not do — and never have done — is stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain. On this you have my word. You can follow our progress at apple.com/supplierresponsibility.

The supply chain that Apple has built is all Tim Cook. Under Steve Jobs, he was the one who was at the helm of setting all of this up and why Apple has been able to maintain a huge lead on competitors by buying up vast amounts of screens, hard drives, memory, etc. for their various devices. He has the most to gain and/or lose by Apple getting raked over the coals on this issue. It’ll be interesting to see where Apple and the other tech companies are at on this issue 6 months to a year from now.


  1. TechCrunch article via MG Siegler’s post on the same issue. I’ve long since stopped reading TechCrunch.