What Apple Really Thinks of the Foxconn “Issue”

Apple has always been scrutinized for various reasons that sometimes you’d have to think if they are real or just rumors.  Apple is so secretive, not only in their products but as well as their working conditions.  Some say that people want to work for Apple because it seems like a fun company, but other sources say that Apple employees want to get the hell out of there.  Apple has this beer-goggle effect on some.  The more Apple products you buy, the more you think, “A company capable of producing awesome devices could only be a result of happy employees, right?”  But that doesn’t necessarily seem to be the case.

The issue on their own working conditions is nothing compared to the working conditions at Foxconn, one of their suppliers.  The horrible working conditions at Foxconn are creating a very bad reputation for Apple, tarnishing their premier product line.  People want to know what Apple is doing to help the workers at Foxconn, or what they are doing to improve or change the working conditions in the factory.

A couple of days ago, Apple pledged to have their assembly line factories inspected by the independent Fair Labor Association (FLA) as part of its more rigorous Supplier Code of Conduct issued last January.  At the Goldman Sachs’ conference, Apple CEO Tim Cook discussed what his company is doing with the situation in China.

“No one in our industry is doing more to improve working conditions than Apple,” Cook said, adding that he had personally spent “a lot of time” in factories, including a stint at a paper mill in Alabama as well as in an aluminum plant in Virginia.

“We believe that every worker has the right to a fair and safe work environment, free of discrimination, where they can earn competitive wages and they can voice their concerns freely.  Apple suppliers must live up to this to do business with Apple,” Cook stated.

Cook discussed the issue of underage employment as well as the consequence of praticing this.  If one of their suppliers is caught employing minors, the company would be fired from Apple’s chain of suppliers.

The CEO also stated that they regularly audit suppliers to make sure that production will meet deadlines, as well as to check working conditions.  Cook stated that Apple’s auditors stay with the suppliers if there are issues to be resolved until they are solved or remedied.  If that was the case, why was the working conditions at Foxconn worthy of so much press?

Aside from the poor working conditions at Foxconn, Apple was greatly scrutinized for labor fees in the Chinese factories.  According to a report, factory employees only get $8 or just 1.6% for every $499 iPad they produce, while Apple pockets 30%, or about $150 per device.  The curious thing is, Apple’s suppliers from South Korea get 6.8% or $34 per unit.  So this could be a matter of factory issue and Apple doesn’t have a say in this. Apple declined to comment on the issue.

What will happen to iDevices?

Apple may be facing international backlash for Foxconn’s conditions, but the world is still anxious for the next iDevice.  As Apple and the world readies for the new iPad, set to be unveiled in early March, rumors emerge of Apple unveiling or designing a smaller iPad to compete with other smaller tablets.  And Cook can’t help but make fun of the competition.

During the Goldman Sachs conference, Cook stated “A cheap product might sell some units. Somebody gets it home and they feel great when they pay the money, but then they get it home and use it, and the joy is gone. The joy is gone every day that they use it until they aren’t using it anymore.  You don’t keep remembering ‘I got a good deal’ because you hate it,” referring to the Kindle Fire which would be its top competition if they do decide to release a smaller iPad.