Apple is an American multinational corporation that specializes in consumer electronics, computer software and personal computers. It is best known for hardware products such as MacIntosh, iPod, iPhone and the iPad. In over 10 countries, the company has 357 stores. It also has one of the largest online stores worldwide.
Overall, the company has the largest IPO companies in the world. It has a capitalization of over $150 billion. It is also worth more than Google and Microsoft combined and includes 60, 4000 permanent full-time employees. The annual sales total $65 billion, which grew to $108 billion in 2011.
With every company, there is a rot or Achilles heel. Let’s take a look at what makes Apple Inc. a rotten apple.
1. Safari Updates:
There is nothing more rotten than a push that becomes a shove. In 2008, Apple did just that. It used auto-update service to distribute its Safari web browser to users. The users were prompted to make updates which included Safari. Digital Journal reports that this as a form of bad business; being sneaky and on the borderline of malware distribution tactics.
The software was not really an update for many users. In fact, it was newly installed software that was never on the computer before, adds John Lilly, Mozilla CEO. For him, a relationship must be built naturally and not by force.
Was Apple correct when it forced its users to download Safari? Vote now.
2. Sweatshops in China:
iPods are extremely expensive, especially when you compare it to other mp3 brands. You pay more than $200 to receive something that is an Apple product. One thing that many people are not aware of is that Apple has been manufacturing its iPod products in Chinese sweatshops for the last 6 years. In fact, they have failed to tackle the horrifying conditions at its supplier.
Workers continue to die and sustain injuries in accidents that could be easily prevented. Many of them are forced to work from morning to night for slave wages ($0.70/h) in dismaying conditions. New York Times was the first to report on this. It noted that Apple pledged to improve safety records and working practices. Things have yet to improve.
For the price we pay for Apple products, should we expect better conditions?
3. Suicide Rates:
Sweatshops are the least of their problems. In fact Apple has bigger fish to fry in China. During the launch of iPad in 2012, 150 Chinese Workers at Foxconn threatened to commit suicide by leaping off their factory roof. In 2010, 18 workers threw themselves from the top of the company building, which resulted in 14 deaths. Foxconn installed safety nets in the factory and hired counsellors to help its workers.
4. Child Labour:
Like other computer manufacturers this comes as no news. Still I expect much better from a company that charges more than $900 for computers and $600 for mobile devices. In February of 2012, it was reported that child workers were indeed working at Foxconn, the distributor for Apple. During inspections, child laborers were hidden and moved to other departments. The students who work there are not working voluntarily; Chinese government requires schools to send their children to work factory labour as part of their internship. This was featured in the SACOM report in 2012.
5. Dump Polluted Waste & Toxic Metals:
In 2011, a Beijing environmental group called Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs reported that the company dumps toxic metals and polluted waste into communities around its factories. This, they report, threatens the communities’ public health. The report was issued in August of 2011 in a 46 page paper.
Apple had already committed to being a green country. Ma Jun, the director of the group, stated that they now needed to fulfill their commitment and become responsible for their suppliers’ pollution.
6. Misleading warranty:
A claim in Italy was made in December of 2011. Apple was fined $1.2 million (USD) by Italian Antitrust Authority for not properly informing its customers about the 2 year warranty service. This was a requirement under Italy’s Consumer Code. The company reportedly disclosed only its 1 year warranty and wanted to sell an additional year to its customers.
7. Products overheat:
With the introduction of iPad HD into the market, consumers were excited to indulge in something new. However, criticism arose when the framerate dropped causing overheating problems. Consumers pay over $700 for a product that is too hot to hold. The heat coms from the lower left hand corner of the device. Apple denied these claims.
All these arguments lead me to ask a central question. Why are Apple products more expensive than Microsoft products? Why can I just not buy the Blackberry Playbook instead of the iPad? I stand to save at least $300. I also can get more GB for less money.
Apple is now what Microsoft was in 1995. The question many scholars are now asking is whether Apple can go on to grow bigger without becoming anti-trust and monopolistic. The cut throat competition between them and Samsung is a perfect example of this. Apple is attempting to sue Samsung for copyright infringement when it could focus on developing newer and better technologies.
10. Overall Feel:
You get a good product like Apple but how good do you feel when you are using products created under such appalling conditions. Your first question would be: Why I am paying so much money? After doing research, the money apparently goes to developers who create the products. Should the money be distributed evenly? I’ll let you decide.
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