Posts Tagged ‘Apple’

Defending Mike Daisey (not that he needs it)

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

US monologuist Mike Daisey has gotten into a spot of bother over his current show’s syndication on This American Life, and they’ve retracted the episode they did with him – incidentally their most popular ever show.

As you now can’t listen to it, the show centred on Mike’s trip to China, to investigate working conditions at Foxconn, the electronics megacorp that makes iPhones, Nokias, Dells, you name it… Mike had worked up his experiences in China into one of his monologue performances, a short one-man theatre/comedy routine, exploring the connections between how we feel about our shiny tech gewgaws, and the company ethos and practical manufacture details behind them.

It turns out Mike embellished a number of the details of his trip. He didn’t actually meet a number of the people he wrote about (some were based on case studies of people in a totally different city), and invented more dramatic dialogue from poetic licence. Prior to his This American Life airing, most people probably wouldn’t have been surprised by this, unless they were the type who was rather late finding out about Santa. (more…)

The Daily Show does Apple/Foxconn

Thursday, January 19th, 2012

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!)

Ethical Apple: The iPhone Monologues

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

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…)

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…)

Apple squeezing iPad suppliers til the pips squeak

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Last month’s Make IT Fair campaign day called on Apple to give workers in their supply chains a larger bite at the iPhone & iPad apple.

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”?

iPad exploitation: A view inside Foxconn

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Here’s an important short video from SACOM, the campaigning academic group behind last year’s brave undercover exposé of working conditions inside Apple iPhone and iPad outsourced supplier Foxconn. The video highlights the firm’s Chengdu mega-factory, which works on the iPad for Apple, and uncovers evidence of broken promises to workers, poor safety, and a political culture where the firm seems to get away with whatever it pleases.

Ethical smartphones: An upgrade dilemma

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

I am something of a phone geek. Oh okay then, I am rather obsessed by them, smartphones in particular. I’ve had 5 different smartphone handsets since ditching my standalone PDA for 2003’s splendid SonyEricsson p800, and whichever I’ve had, it’s always been my most treasured possession.

Now though, my choice of handset is giving me a bit more of a headache. (more…)

Giving Apple a fair bite

Friday, May 6th, 2011

Make IT FairTomorrow is Make IT Fair’s day of action, focusing on working conditions in Apple Computers’ supply chain.

Apple are the target here as they subcontract most of the work in making their hugely popular iPhones, and they don’t seem to be too fussy about how the work gets done. (more…)

Foxconn: Steve Jobs thinks it’s “all over” – It isn’t now

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Oh dear. I’d been under the impression that Steve Jobs had been “all over” the Foxconn worker abuses issue, and things were getting better. Two new stories challenge all that though.

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.