Death is Too High a Price to Protect Apple’s Secrets

| Editorial

Ever since Apple's own near death experience in the 1990s, the company has had a single minded focus on, first, resurrection, then vindication, and finally huge financial excess. Now, someone has died in connection with Apple's influence over Chinese suppliers. It's time for Apple to reconsider.

Apple has some qualities we like in a company and some we don't like. It makes great products that work well with each other, and the company exhibits a single minded pursuit of product excellence. People appreciate using finely crafted tools, and that has brought Apple a lot of success.

Today, however, we have heard the sad news of a Chinese worker, Foxconn employee Yong Sun Dan (Sun Danyong), who committed suicide after he apparently misplaced an Apple iPhone 4G prototype.

A lot of fuss is going to be made about about this event, and more details will emerge. For now, I want to use this event as a stepping stone to a broader issue, something I have spoken of before, namely that Apple is a company that doesn't exactly have a reputation for balance and restraint.

I described this previously in "An Examination of Executive Power at Apple, Part II." In that article, I explored the purpose of power, judgment and restraint. I predicted that as Apple became more and more powerful and financially successful as a company, there would be a corresponding responsibility to deal with its power and success in more socially responsible ways.

And now, three years later, Apple shows no signs of changing, no signs of introspection, no signs of realizing that absolute power -- seeking to ensure its own survival -- ultimately corrupts absolutely.

What's even more troublesome is that Apple doesn't have a legacy of offsetting behavior. Neither the company nor its CEO have a reputation for charitable support -- in contrast to what Bill Gates is doing with his acquired wealth. A thin-skinned Apple is highly adverse to overtures for good causes -- save their green manufacturing and the $100K spent to oppose California Proposition 8 last year.

As a result, in balance, Apple doesn't appear to have a lot of offsetting behavior that can be used in its defense. Rather, Apple's extreme obsession with secrecy put so much pressure on Foxconn that a young man lost his life as a result of subsequent events. In a sober assessment of a chain of causality, Apple's business practices must take responsibility for that pressure.

Great power demands great responsibility. Recently, we've all been provided with blunt instruction on how abuse of power and a single minded focus on money alone has led us down a sad road, nearly driving us to financial ruin. It's my hope that a company like Apple, with so many degrees of freedom, so many talented people and the admiration of so many can rise up to a higher standard in its business practices.

Money and success are great - until the price of obtaining it goes too high.

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44 Comments Leave Your Own

Dave

I wonder where your balanced and restrained judgment was when you took this unfornatate event as chance to throw stones at Apple.

Apple has nothing to do with, nor does their corporate secrecy. This is a problem with China. If you were balanced and restrained, or even informed you would know that. Unless of course you think Apple is responsible for all that happens there, and because of this event that companies should not keep information private nor expect their factory partners to protect their interests by not allowing their plans to be stolen freely, which does occur daily. I work for a company that has our product made over seas, and is practically expected that a certain percentage of product made simply disappears and ends up in the black market or to be replicated by knock off factories.

What is most absurd is you acknowledge that all the details have yet to emerge, but you don?t hesitate to claim Apple is Absolutely corrupted.
?Apple shows no signs of changing, no signs of introspection, no signs of realizing that absolute power—seeking to ensure its own survival ?ultimately corrupts absolutely.?

Where is your own introspection? The Chinese are a communist state. Dissidents disappear with little cause and no notice. How much of what you own is made in China? Where was your righteousness over humans rights and China before this event?

If you had any introspection, you would know as I had said, this is a Problem with China. Pointing fingers at Apple, not only misses the larger problems with human rights than Steve jobs penchant for secrecy, on this the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square is embarrassing short sighted and ignorant on your part.

Brian

If this young fellow didn’t realize that his life was worth more than the iPhone he lost, then that problem lies in him. Not with Apple. Apple may have great power and influence, but for someone to take his own life over a piece of technology lost, that lies on someone other than Apple.

YodaMac

Yeah I think Dave got it exactly.

Think about re-publishing this article when some intern in Cupertino throws himself in front of a bus because he put one too many sugar’s in Steve’s coffee.

Then you may have a point.

Dave

“What’s even more troublesome is that Apple doesn’t have a legacy of offsetting behavior. Neither the company nor its CEO have a reputation for charitable support—in contrast to what Bill Gates is doing with his acquired wealth. A thin-skinned Apple is highly adverse to overtures for good causes—save their green manufacturing and the $100K spent to oppose California Proposition 8 last year.”

Don?t forget the RED campaign to fight AIDS.

So let?s see, on one hand trying to help the environment and thus helping all mankind by using less energy and materials, directly getting involved with monetary donation for human rights of GLTG people in California, and fighting AIDS in Africa to save the lives.

Your absolutely right, neither Apple nor its CEO have a reputation for charitable support ? except for the times when they do.

And on the other hand we have Steve Jobs desire to protect the Apples ideas to ensure the company?s ability to compete and be profitable which directly effects livelihoods of Apple employees and the products its customers use. Evil of course. even though some might argue he would derelict in his duties if he didn?t do that. Fools.

We should ask Bill gates who you reference, he knows a thing about stealing ideas and virtually wrecking competitors. One comes to mind but the name escapes me. 

Yes, I see how from your reasoned thoughtful, unbiased analysis Apple and Steve Jobs are directly reasonable for the social conditions in China which lend themselves to totalitarian human rights abuses which directly/indirectly led to mans homicide/suicide/accident.

Thus in summary, Steve Jobs is and evil uncharitable murderous villain. And you?re a brilliant tec writer, who is never guilty of hyperbole or exaggeration, and who weighs the issues at hand with judgment and restraint.

Dave Marcoot

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Also, this is one death. Apple has been responsibility for an uncountable number of births, as trendy girls at the mall find their evening hookups using their iPhones.

mrmwebmax

+

While the death of the worker is a tragedy, using his suicide as a launching point to attack Apple’s lack of charity is absurd at best, and exploitive at worst. Furthermore, there is no correlation between the amount of charity done by a company/CEO, and the quality of that company, its CEO, and its impact on the world.

As the US pushes closer and closer to flat-out embracing Socialism, perhaps we should all step back and remember that it hasn’t worked anywhere, that emphasizing charity over productivity will lead to having nothing to give away in the first place, and that the productive are the ones who make it possible for others to have jobs, therefore successful lives, in the first place.

Oh heck, just read this and get back to me:

http://www.amazon.com/Atlas-Shrugged-Centennial-Ed-HC/dp/0525948929/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1248205546&sr=8-1

Blad_Rnr

John,
I have to say, as much as I love your articles, you are off on this one.

I agree with Dave above (however, I’ll tone it down a bit). Apple had nothing to do with this. They didn’t. A company has every right to protect its secrets. It’s what keeps thousands of people employed in very well-paying jobs here in the States. That’s Apple’s M.O. Just because a few vendor higher ups at a plant in China decided to take it much further in hopes of finding a piece of technology, that’s THEIR problem.

Human rights in China mean very little. We all know that. It’s no secret. So why blame Apple? You might as well be saying they are guilty of killing the guy. That’s not fair and doesn’t even come close to reality.

It’s a sad story, but one that has been going on in China for decades. Don’t lump Apple in with this abuse just because they out-source their products for manufacture overseas.

And in the arena of corporate responsibility, sorry, I don’t buy the whole Gates thing. His company was found guilty in a court of law while they become a de facto monopoly. He’s just trying to make amends for all the illegal corporate behavior that went on for years at MSFT. You don’t make money illegally on the backs of other companies (that are no longer around) and then dole it out to a few charities and call it “philanthropy.” It doesn’t work that way. And I believe in this “era of offense,” where people get outraged over the tiniest actions both personal and in business, it’s best not to stick your neck out. If Apple decides to keep their hard earned money to better protect their employee’s futures, more power to them.

Nemo

While I don’t disagree with the principle that great power requires restraint, good judgment, and a sound moral compass, his statement:  “Rather, Apple’s extreme obsession with secrecy put so much pressure on Foxconn that a young man lost his life as a result of subsequent events. In a sober assessment of a chain of causality, Apple’s business practices must take responsibility for that pressure.” has absolutely no foundation in fact, and his laying at Apple’s feet the responsibility, moral or otherwise, for the young engineer’s death on this record is not only unfair, it borders on the defamatory.  There is no responsible management that does not exercise the greatest care and employ the greatest secrecy with prototypes of its major products.  In that, Apple is no different than any other company, and it would be a violation of the fiduciary duties of Apple’s management to its shareholders and other stakeholders for them to fail to guard such a valuable prototype as the 4th generation iPhone with the utmost secrecy that the law, morality, and practicalities permit.  To indict Apple for excessive secrecy in protecting its valuable prototypes can only be valid if it can be shown that Apple violated law or morality or sacrifice more for secrecy than the fourth generation iPhone is worth, but there is nothing yet on the record that would support such charges.

Foxconn is different and distinct company that is responsible for conducting itself in a manner consistent with the laws and morality of China and within the rules of business practice that Apple imposes on its suppliers, unless those rules conflict with Chinese law, which, as the sovereign power, must prevail.  Yet there is nothing to suggest that even Foxconn has done anything that violates either Chinese or American moral or legal standards.  Foxconn must answer for anything that it may have done.  Apple must answer for anything that it may have done.  And, if Apple and Foxconn have jointly committed a wrong, they must both answer for it.  But to indict either Apple or Foxconn for requiring the highest level of security in guarding a valuable prototype, without some evidence that either company has violated some applicable moral or legal standard, is rash and grossly unfair.

fultonkbd

I clicked on this article a little bit ago. Read it and began writing a post on how poor this article is before there were any comments.

Well I got pulled away and came back to finish my comment… and can see now I don’t have too.

I am glad I’m not the only one who thinks the author is way off base with this editorial.

Tim Alexander

You must feel like crud for posting this - I think you should pull it.

Gareth Harris

John,

I agree with you here. Sometimes when I fall on my butt, I realize that “I didn’t even see that one coming.” I was so focused on something else I was mentally and morally off-balance and unaware. It is like driving while you are sleepy and suddenly waking up as you try to tell the difference between a mailbox and an elk.

America is in a great mess now, mainly of our own making, due to lack of awareness of personal morality and responsibility. Awareness of this chain of causality and morality, reaching from one side of the world to the other, is the first step to regaining our balance before we fall on our butt - hopefully not being caught unaware again, at least from that cause.

A reality check from time to time is good for all of us, from individuals to corporations to nations. It reminds us that whom the gods would destroy, they first make proud.

Up periscope.

John Martellaro

I stand by my values.  Not everyone agrees with my viewpoints.
-JM

jfbiii

Wow…it’s going to be really awkward having Dick Cheney and Al Gore on the board at the same time.

Nemo

John, I believe you to be a fair and moral man.  But my problems with this editorial is that I don’t see what Apple has done that is wrong.  Keeping prototypes under the tightest wraps isn’t wrong, is it?  None of us know exactly what is the relationship between Apple and Foxconn, nor do we know what, if any, role Apple had involving the death of the young engineer, once it was discovered that the prototype was missing.  It may be that Apple places a lot of pressure on business partners to keep its secrets, but that wouldn’t in and of itself be wrong because every company does that with the crown jewels.  For that to be wrong, wouldn’t we have to know that some action or policy of Apple violates some moral precept or law?  Now, you may be aware of some facts that would persuade others that your view in this editorial is correct, but without that or some more open source facts, I just can’t see where we can hold Apple or even Foxconn responsible for the unfortunate young man’s death.

marcsten

I guess I am in the middle between John’s piece and the comments. It is certainly true that Apple is not responsible for the bad behavior of certain contractor companies where Apple doesn’t know or have reason to suspect the bad behavior. But neither can Apple or any other powerful company look the other way because the nation where the wrong occurs doesn’t care about its people. The comments seem to imply that not only does Apple know these abuses take place at this Chinese company, but that EVERYONE knows this is the case. If so, then perhaps Apple should look elsewhere for contractors. As some point out, such an action may lead to smaller profits - for a time. It is ultimately a moral decision all companies and all investors must make. Oh, but don’t let Gates off the hook. Its great that he is trying to make amends for years of appalling behavior, and I applaud his efforts. But he has a LONG way to go yet!

Blad_Rnr

John,
What values? Are you going on record as stating Apple is somehow culpable for his death? He committed suicide, as far as we know. He might have been psychologically unbalanced. He might have been using drugs. He might have had a death in the family. A whole host of situations might have put him over the edge. But because he is linked to Apple, it’s their fault? You are making a judgment based on very little evidence, IMHO.

What’s next? Teens who commit suicide because they can’t afford an iPhone suddenly become Apple’s liability? Where do you draw the line? Where is the personal responsibility? It’s a rabbit trail with no end.

And for all we know, we don’t really know the whole story…and never will. So you want to hang your hat on theoretical situations?

drackmere

“I stand by my values.  Not everyone agrees with my viewpoints.
-JM”

John,

I suspect you should have left both of them at the door this time.  You are so far off of the mark that I am unsure logic is strong enough to see through the misted veil you have created.

“As a result, in balance, Apple doesn’t appear to have a lot of offsetting behavior that can be used in its defense.”  Defense of what?  Are you saying that in order for the death of this young man to be acceptable that Apple must have/do give to “philanthropic” causes?  Would you forgive Charles Manson for his involvement in the Tate/La Bianca murders if he gave to “Save the World” or some other equally noble cause?

And as for secrecy, every company on the planet that wants to stay in business requires this.  This is nothing new.  I suggest we wait and see what the results of the investigation are, and who is directly responsible.  Slinging arrows of self-righteous indignation do not become you, you are usually quite intuitive.

John Dingler

Hi Dave Commentor.
Your lucid response to John M.‘s outrage elevated the discussion to a rational level which I appreciate. I agree with your observations and conclusions. You addressed ethical issues that companies must adhere to without which the company loses.

John, on the other hand, is addressing morality, the behavior of individuals and whether or not they behave humanely toward others, and, on this, John M. is correct. Sure there is overlap, yet what his article seems to propose—by way of an implied conclusion—is that Apple should become the moral reformer, responsible to reform China so that no one dies while making iPhones which is absurd and loopy, unless he proposes that Apple start an iRevolution in mainland China to change its behavior to Western standards, assuming, of course, that Western Standards are significantly better for the Chinese citizen.

How much change is the question: Just enough to prevent deaths or change completely to Jeffersonian ideals? How about wages? If Apple reformed China’s wage rates, Apple would no longer be able to afford to outsource in China; It would migrate its production to another country with lower wages, but this in itself is humanely immoral to US workers who also need work, yet it’s ethical for Apple’s investors.

Dave, your ethical argument will have a hard time meeting up with John M.‘s moral argument.

Constable Odo

Aw, man.  I got worked up over nothing.  I was expecting the article to indicate that Apple sent some goons out from Cupertino to throw this guy off some roof for losing a prototype ChiPhone.  But anyway, this was Foxconn’s call since the suicide victim was a Foxconn employee, not an Apple employee.  Foxconn violated this man’s rights or whatever caused him to get too upset to go on living.  Why is Apple even being mentioned since this happened on the other side of the world?  Did the victim leave some note implicating Apple as the cause of his suicide or something?  If Apple told Foxconn to get the bottom of the loss, it’s only natural for them to investigate the case thoroughly to prevent such a mistake from happening again in the future.  I’d sure like to know where that prototype disappeared to.  It would be sad if a dishonest employee in some shipping company just grabbed one out of the box figuring it would never be missed.

I can hardly picture somebody from Apple saying to Foxconn that this guy should pay with his life for losing an iPhone.  But, hey, you never know.  Industrial espionage is not to be taken lightly.

If this had happened in Japan in some bygone days and the guy that was responsible messed up in fulfilling his job, committing suicide would have been the only honorable thing to do.

jbruni

John, I think you crossed the line with this one. To say that someone at Apple instigated this suicide without evidence is way beyond acceptable and is probably libel. This is the sort of writing that give blogging a bad name.

Krioni

John,

I’m disappointed. You state some general principles in your article that I agree with. However, the fact that you so blatantly took advantage of this tragic situation through a ludicrously unfair connection to Apple makes me feel a bit dirty for having read this.

Also, we don’t actually know whether Steve Jobs does or does not donate money to good causes. All we know is that he doesn’t trumpet his good deeds like Bill Gates does. One thing we do know is that the money Jobs has earned was through designing and selling wonderful products that make people’s lives better, not through cut-throat business deals that have held back the technology industry for over a decade (Microsoft).

Tim

I can’t agree with most of the comments, the phrase “Known by the company they keep” comes to mind. More billionaires need to read Dickens.

cramar

“I stand by my values.” -JM

That is the problem! It’s your values that need to be raised so that your opinion is supported by facts and logic.

Bloomberg carried an article July 22:
China Risks Apple’s Reputation as Factories Flout Law

Apple has been auditing how its suppliers treat their workforce since 2006…

Apple also instructed more than 27,000 supplier employees and managers on worker rights and social responsibilities, the report found.

The truth is Apple is doing what it can to be socially responsible in China. You on the other hand remind me of a quote from the biblical book of Job, “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?”

Jim of D

About a year or two ago, I quit reading TMO because of an opinion piece by Martellaro. I can’t remember which one exactly but all I remember was that it put me off completely.

I came back to TMO about a month ago because of Dave Hamilton and John Braun while listening to MGG. I’ve enjoyed reading almost of the articles here on TMO but I make it a point to steer away from editorials or anything Martellaro’s written. I believe he thinks too highly of himself. It’s too bad that it’s not one of his principles to admit when he’s wrong.

When I first read about the suicide, I knew that a lot of people will exploit it for their own benefit. The first one I’ve seen is Martellaro.

I could say I was surprised. Then again, I guess not.

John Dingler

In the West, committing suicide over a grave wrong is not understood, while in some parts of Asia—I hear—it’s acceptable; It’s even an honorable thing to do.

Perhaps the person who committed suicide over stealing valuable intellectual property performed an honorable deed in the context of Chinese Culture. Perhaps those who are outraged over the suicide are judging the suicider by Western standards instead of Chinese could be evaluating other peoples and cultures according to the standards of one’s own culture, a display of ethnocentrism.

While his suicide over an iPhone mistake is an over-reaction, if his honorable behavior could be transplanted into jobbers like Cheney, Bush, their NeoCons, and immoral Gopper media personalities like Beck, Rush, and Ingram I think America would have a chance to become a more civil place and the lives of thousands of innocent US soldiers whom they helped maim and kill in Iraq could have been saved.

dennis

Oh heck, just read this and get back to me: (link to Atlas Shrugged)

Read it. Vomited.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

In the West, committing suicide over a grave wrong is not understood, while in some parts of Asia?I hear?it?s acceptable; It?s even an honorable thing to do.

Hey Dinglerberry, I hope you didn’t break your arm patting yourself on the back for demonstrating such impressive cultural awareness. No go back to smelling your own f@rts.

John Dingler

Hi Bosco,
I replied to the issue, joining in the topic’s discussion, while you attacked my character, making me the issue as if your attack is evidence against the claim or argument the author is making. It is not evidence. This makes your emotional reply an ad hominem attack, hence irrational. Just stick to the issue, not the person.

cb50dc

As I read the writer’s remarks, the first thing that came to my mind (other than gasping incredulously at the absurdly illogical assertions of Apple’s culpability) was a point I see made in two posts: culturally honorable suicide.

Throughout the 80’s and into the 90’s, American businesses began their infatuation with successful Japanese management principles, and ethnic Asian students in the U.S. began developing a largely well-earned stereotype of studiousness. I also began seeing occasional stories of the dark side of that pressure to achieve: teens stepping out in front of fast-moving trains because they got a “B” and thereby brought shame upon their family.

“Success ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.”

Though this event lies in China, not Japan, I wonder whether that principle may transfer somewhat in relatively similar (NOT identical) cultures.

Beyond that possibility, as others have noted above, this tragic young man may well have been mentally ill or otherwise disturbed. By most western standards, anyone who kills himself, or even seriously harms himself, over something like this IS functionally “mentally ill.”

And beyond all that: is this Apple’s fault? Not unless we get some cold, hard, explicitly damning evidence that shows someone from Apple made credible threats against the man, or otherwise exerted horrific pressure.

The writer’s position has no merit.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

DIngleberry, You come in here with your B-minus essay from Freshman Humanities Core and expect not to be mocked. Ethnicity does not determine culture. It is not “ethnocentric” to criticize facets of other cultures that are plain wrong. I don’t suppose you’d be defending female circumcision (or if you did, you’d be a complete asshat). Some cultures are into that.

The irony of your stupid little essay is that it makes a great case for trade without worrying about human rights, environmental income, labor standards, etc. By your reasoning, it’s ethnocentric and imperialist of us to demand that countries that trade with our country adhere to our basic standards in such areas. Such a position would get your liberal membership revoked, your Che T-shirt confiscated, and your goatee forcibly shaved.

And that’s why I mock you Dingleberry. You are a clich?. That and Obama’s fuel economy standards will kill far more brave motorists on our highways than Bush’s wars killed brave soldiers. But see, I have a shred of class and don’t want Jesus H. Obama to self inflict a nicotine overdose. It’ll be more fun having him around to blame tens of thousands of times per year.

John Dingler

Hi Cbsofla,
John Martellaro’s position does indeed have merit, albeit in the are of humanism (e.g., how people treat each other), specifically in morality, while less so in the area of ethics which, in the context of the suicide story, lies in the area of corporate ethics (e.g., how business achieves and maintains success).

In the general area of morality, Apple is culpable, but such a broad approach to blame is novel and extraordinary, belongng more in the Church where preaching and salvation is the coin of the realm, not in secular endeavors per se where facts and business tactics rule. John M. is a fiery preacher in the article and, as a preacher against the evils of corporate greed, he is correct.

So, really, your and everyone else’s judgment about the message in his sermon, which attempts to moderate the sometimes cold-hearted ethics of the marketplace, should keep the two concerns (i.e., morality, ethics) distinct until all of the relevant facts are exposed. Once they are, then we can discuss the merits of each half of the argument and arrive at how to pursue justice for a person and justice for an employer.

cb50dc

John Martellaro?s position does indeed have merit…

Sure, if we have clear evidence of Apple’s culpability. Until then, it’s void. Small accusations require small evidence. Huge accusations, such as implicating someone in Apple of, in effect, murder, require huge evidence.

Show the evidence. Simple.

In the general area of morality, Apple is culpable

(sigh) Not without evidence.

but such a broad approach to blame is novel and extraordinary, belongng more in the Church where preaching and salvation is the coin of the realm

So if the writer wants to ascend the pulpit, fine. It is an opinion column, sure, and in order to gain any respect from thinking people, an opinion requires some foundation in verifiable fact. Here we have NONE presented regarding Apple’s evil.

...not in secular endeavors per se where facts and business tactics rule. John M. is a fiery preacher in the article and, as a preacher against the evils of corporate greed, he is correct.

That assertion goes well beyond the scope of this thread. Even if Apple is a sinister corporate demon behind that nice shiny white exterior, NO “evil” has been substantiated here, neither by logic nor by law. NONE.

So, really, your and everyone else?s judgment about the message in his sermon…

Including your own? Correct? Defense is as much a judgment as is opposition. So, by your assertion to follow, you shouldn’t voice any support nor agreement, no more than anyone else.

...which attempts to moderate the sometimes cold-hearted ethics of the marketplace, should keep the two concerns (i.e., morality, ethics) distinct until all of the relevant facts are exposed. Once they are, then we can discuss the merits of each half of the argument and arrive at how to pursue justice for a person and justice for an employer.

Exactly: ONCE THE RELEVANT FACTS ARE EXPOSED.
What part of your own declaration do you not yet grasp?

John, let’s make this very practical. Suppose someone here posts this hypothetical notice: “John Dingler’s rudeness to a checkout cashier at a local convenience store clearly went too far. That evening, the cashier went home and took a fatal overdose of sedatives. Therefore, John Dingler is guilty of her death and must be punished.”

That’s logically comparable to the original, unfounded accusations.

Bring forth the concrete, verifiable facts that support the rhetoric beyond a reasonable doubt, and I’ll support the accusations.

CB

iSki iMac

If this young fellow didn?t realize that his life was worth more than the iPhone he lost, then that problem lies in him. Not with Apple. Apple may have great power and influence, but for someone to take his own life over a piece of technology lost, that lies on someone other than Apple.

Exactly!!!

John Dingler

Hi Bosco,
I always take the high road, hence don’t call names and don’t insult or demean. There is no need when addressing Martellaro’s topic, that being the extent of Apple’s culpability, if any. It’s primarily what I addressed, and I broke it down into the two philosophical areas concern: corporate ethics and personal morality. To summarize—and I modify this a bit—, John is more correct on morality but less correct on corporate ethics.

It’s really a good topic. You know why? Because he questions how corporate ethics can be destructive to individual morality. This has value because it makes the article more than just another tech article, you know, where hardware specifications, software capabilities, and corporate earning are spotlighted. Yeah, it’s not the usual, and I appreciate its retrospection.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

...if his honorable behavior could be transplanted into jobbers like Cheney, Bush, their NeoCons, and immoral Gopper media personalities like Beck, Rush, and Ingram I think America would have a chance to become a more civil place…

High road, indeed.

kimhill

I think this editorial is nonsense, given what we know now.

If records reveal that Apple somehow pressured Foxconn into instituting some kind of radical, non-standard policies, then I will reconsider. But it is not evil to prioritize industrial security.

And a suicide, in and of itself, proves nothing at this point. Martellaro talks about “values,” but the value he forgot is waiting for the facts before convicting Apple. This is irresponsible and wrong.

As for Gates’ philanthropy vs. Job? Give me a break. Gates had no more to offer- he’s better off going elsewhere & doing his philanthropy. But Jobs is still breaking amazing new technological ground. He belongs where he is, focused on what he’s doing. Would you have yanked Edison out of his lab because he wasn’t focused enough on philanthropy. Geez- what nonsense.

cb50dc

It?s really a good topic. You know why? Because he questions how corporate ethics can be destructive to individual morality.

A key point remains: in this case, he has offered NO evidence that any particular corporate ethics has in any way proven destructive to any facet of morality, on any level.

Plenty of intriguing discussions can certainly emerge on the topic, but this editorial provides no concrete, factual basis whatsoever as a starting point. Standing by one’s “values” when no objective foundation has been presented for said “values” shows neither conviction nor wisdom; it manifests only indignant dogmatism.

John Dingler

Hi KimHill and John Martellaro,

Regarding Bill and Linda Gates Foundation, the paret that gives out computers, it refuses to give Macs, only PCs, so the part of his foundation that gives out computers is a clear continuation of his predatory monopoly (only non-predatory monopolies are legal in the US), but done under the guise of philanthropy; He is doing this with money illicitly acquired from his repetitive and sustained predatorily monopolistic practices.

Therefore, his apparently benevolent gift-giving is a mirage and should be viewed with suspicion, especially when requests for Macs are refused outright.

An example is the restrictive grant that the B&LGF; gave to the local public library. It was not allowed to use the grant to get Macs, so that now the library has a bias for Windows PCs; It hired a PC technician; The is bias being helped along by the Gates Foundation; The library, a public institution, is now being used to extend the predatory monopoly of Microsoft, a private company.

Someone needs to address such an insidious form of incipient fascism whose practice is loved by cash-strapped public institutions, not just this library.

So I would not hold up the Gates Foundation as a real good example of high-minded philanthropy as a contrast to what you, John, allege or believe that Apple did.

cb50dc

Regarding Bill and Linda Gates Foundation, the paret that gives out computers, it refuses to give Macs, only PCs, so [it] is a clear continuation of his predatory monopoly…  done under the guise of philanthropy… an insidious form of incipient fascism ...


Oh

my

god.


Fascism? Ask anyone who knows anything about WWII whether Gates qualifies, even as “incipient.”

Would you, with comparable distortions of logic, criticize Pepsi for not giving out free samples of Coca-cola? Would you condemn Chrysler for not promoting Lexus? Will you also demand that

That makes the practical point, even though MS isn’t truly a direct competitor to Apple. They sell products made for Macs; they even host a very useful Mac help page for those products. But their core market is PC’s. They need to keep HP, Dell, etc. happy. In that sense, sure, they’re more in bed with PC’s.

For crissake, Gates’ giving away PCs and not Macs is completely reasonable—if for no other reason than he can give away far MORE PC’s for the same money.

If any kids complain about getting a PC and not a Mac, fine: take the free PC away and give it to someone who’ll actually appreciate it.

Such complaints against Gates, like the OP’s lambasting of Apple, evaporate quickly.

cb50dc

FTR, yeah, I failed to notice some text cut and not replaced. No “edit” function. Hmph. wink

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Fascism? Ask anyone who knows anything about WWII whether Gates qualifies, even as ?incipient.?

This is the kind of garbage one learns as a Womyn’s Studies major these days.

daemon

I agree with you John, Apple is responsible for the death of Sun Danyong.

Sun Danyong was brutally tortured, and possibly murdered (the report of suicide is under investigation), to protect for a few short months the details of Apple’s next generation iPhone. What’s the big secret? That it’s using LTE? The only carrier in the US that isn’t going to be using LTE is Sprint, and they’re going WiMAX! There is absolutely no reason for why Foxconn tortured Sun Danyong.

I would call for everyone to boycott Foxconn products, but as a manufacturer for rebranded electronics they make so many things that no one has any idea about. So I call for the next best thing, for the companies that use Foxconn as their manufacturer to sever their contracts and find a manufacturer that actually respects human life.

Johnny Cakes

I think everyone is forgetting the most important point! That man was CHINESE! Who cares?!?! Theres like 18 billion of them in this world and they wanna dominate over America anyway…

michaelpowell

As usual this topic exposes more heat than light.

For the record, the company in question is from Taiwan. That country is capitalist.

It was their factory in free-trade (ie capitalist) China that reportedly took action against an employee, and the police there see a possible crime against Chinese law. A man died falling from a building, but its not yet clear whether he jumped or was pushed.

This employer has a record of taking legal action against Chinese newspaper reporters who alledge unlawful working practices. Yes, its Chinese reporters who are whistle-blowing, not western ones.

Its clear that to criticise Apple in this forum will bring out the stormtroopers for one side or another. But the employer here is Apple. It has transferred manufacture to Taiwan, which transferred it to China, and that cost saving feeds straight into its profits, not to a lower-priced product.

As Apple control and benefit from this, in my view some of that profit should be set aside for upholding rigorous safeguards in staff, environmental, and resources protection.


I don’t want an elegant design that has been tainted by its method of manufacture.

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