When thinking about what item I could possibly write about for this week’s prompt, it took me a grand total of about 5 seconds before I decided on my iPhone. If anyone has hung around me for more than a couple minutes, they probably know I have a little thing for products made by the Cupertino, CA based company. My mom thinks i’m addicted, and I have to say, she is probably right. She claims that the phone has actually become an extension of my hand. She didn’t really understand it. That was until she finally traded in her Blackberry for one herself. I think the reason that I am so hooked is because I use it to do basically everything. It is my music player, my social network hub, my “gameboy”, my internet hub, etc. I can even see when my laundry is done. Just to further prove my point, I am currently writing this post on my iPhone. I have to say, I don’t think i’m the only one who uses an iPhone like this. In fact, this month the iPhone eclipsed Apple’s mac computers in internet traffic for the first time ever.
In Recent years, Apple has become wildly successful. A look at last quarter’s financial results would make you think that money actually does grow on trees. However, it is not all good news for the iPhone maker. Apple has recently taken a lot of heat for the practices of their manufacturing partner, Foxconn. Many activists are claiming that the factory employees working conditions, living conditions, and wages are all sub-par. This situation reminds me of the one the Nike faced in the early 90’s. Apple even employs the same auditing firm, Ernst & Young, as the shoe maker. However, the similarities between the two companies end there. Apple has been very proactive in addressing these issues as of late, and has worked with Foxconn to improve the conditions of workers. Apple’s actions speak louder than there words though. Foxconn has agreed to raise starting salaries by as much as 25% and ABC just announced that they were granted full access to the chinese plants for February 21st’s episode of Dateline.
Now, Apple doesn’t claim to have a social goal in its mission statement. The company is clearly focused on great products and great user experiences. In the companies own words:
“Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.”
Now to play devil’s advocate, you could argue that Apple really isn’t doing such a great thing because they are only responding to outside pressure. You could say that the company probably wouldn’t have done anything if they didn’t face the prospect of losing the goodwill they have spent a long time building up. To respond to that, the only thing I can really say is that you’re right. Maybe they wouldn’t have done anything. At the same time, the fact of the matter is that they did do something. I think one sign of a well managed company is that they face problems head on. They don’t let them get too big to handle. This is what Apple is currently doing, and they are doing it well. Whether or not the company is acting morally depends on to which theory you subscribe, but in the end, impoverished Foxconn employees are getting better working conditions and higher wages. To me, this is what really matters in the end.