What were the biggest events in consumer tech for 2012? NewsDesk host Kristin Feledy finds out, in her interview with SiliconANGLE founding editor Mark “Rizzn” Hopkins. The discussion covered a lot of ground, from the fuss around Foxconn working conditions in China to fair trade from the Apple perspective (full interview below).
Hopkins first addresses the controversy surrounding Foxconn. The Chinese iPhone manufacturer is receiving a lot of negative criticism due to the poor labor conditions it maintains in its factories, which employ over one million workers throughout the nation. Production was halted on more than one occasion due to labor strikes, riots and even suicides, but this issue has only really come to light in the past few months.
Hopkins attributes this sudden surge in interest to the combination of increased media scrutiny, more specific reporting and a few other factors that added up to create a critical mass. He goes on to mention a rumor that the company is considering the possibilities of opening a factory in the U.S., a decision that, if factual, can only be explained by the drastic shift the global marketplace went through in recent years. Hopkins thinks that such a move would be an extremely positive one for Foxconn, which would present them an opportunity to learn that treating you workers better doesn’t necessarily translate into lower profits.
The next topic on the agenda is Apple, and specifically, the new approach that the company should be taking under CEO Tim Cook. Hopkins believes that sticking with a “what would Steve” do mentality is unhealthy for the mobile giant, both from the management angle and in terms of product development.
Lastly, our editor in chief tackles Apple’s stance on fair trade. He highlights that as a leader in setting standards, the company is in a position to overhaul the entire system in a very positive way.