Responding to the New York Times stories, which we itemized and commented on in today’s column, CEO Tim Cook sent out an e-mail to all Apple employees.Bringing to mind Captain Renault:
“Unfortunately some people are questioning Apple’s values today, and I’d like to address this with you directly,” he says.
“Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It’s not who we are. For the many hundreds of you who are based at our suppliers’ manufacturing sites around the world, or spend long stretches working there away from your families, I know you are as outraged by this as I am.”
I know they have to put on these pretenses for public consumption, but really, the notion that Apple was somehow unaware of the implications of their manufacturing choices strains credulity to the breaking point. They just hoped we wouldn't notice, while they pocketed the profits.
They'll talk about needing to trim manufacturing costs to keep prices low, but truly, how can you make that argument with a straight face in light of their recent quarterly earnings:
Apple reported a net profit of $13.06 billion, or $13.87 a share.
A naive person like me might suspect that without sacrificing too much of their $13 billion profit, Apple could build iPhones and iPads and MacBooks in better conditions. Heck, they could probably build them in Cupertino and still turn a merely huge profit instead of an outrageous one. Perhaps it's time to Occupy Apple.
Meanwhile, here's the Times expose mentioned. And refer back to my earlier entry about Mike Daisey's monologue on the subject. Mike is all over this stuff, which is very cool. He's making a difference.