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Apple To Help Foxconn Improve Factories

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the rotating-knives-yes dept.

China 166

An anonymous reader writes "In a welcome move, Apple has agreed to help share initial costs with Foxconn in improving the factories being used to manufacture iDevices. From the article: 'Foxconn chief Terry Gou did not give a figure for the costs, but the group has been spending heavily to fight a perception its vast plants in China are sweatshops with poor conditions for its million-strong labor force. It regards the criticism as unfair. "We've discovered that this (improving factory conditions) is not a cost. It is a competitive strength," Gou told reporters on Thursday after the ground-breaking ceremony for a new China headquarters in Shanghai. "I believe Apple sees this as a competitive strength along with us, and so we will split the initial costs."'"

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Apple cares (3, Interesting)

Chend (2636463) | more than 2 years ago | (#39957767)

I think this is great move by Apple. It also shows that they care about other things than profit, unlike *ahem* certain privacy violating company Mountain View that just decided to pack their packs and leave after they couldn't compete with Baidu.

On top of that this is also interesting view to changes in worlds politics. We haven't had such industrial revolution since the US started growing. It also shows that the hybrid socialist-capitalism system that China (and somewhat Europe too) has is a great strength compared to the US hard stance on pure capitalism. Having spent time the China and other places in Asia I must also say that the people are much nicer and reasonable. It is often impossible to deal with Americans, but Asian people still enjoy good old talk, socializing and being together. Also the cheer amount of their population and business culture, with a still relaxed life helps them.

I am more than interested to see this change in politics, and as I am already living in Asia (I moved here from Europe), stuff is about to get great soon.

Good news for everyone but the haters (1, Insightful)

danaris (525051) | more than 2 years ago | (#39957807)

I think this is great move by Apple. It also shows that they care about other things than profit, unlike *ahem* certain privacy violating company Mountain View that just decided to pack their packs and leave after they couldn't compete with Baidu.

Indeed, this is not a big surprise to me, but it is definitely welcome news.

I just wonder what the Apple haters are going to say to justify their mindless frothing that Apple would never do such a thing, because they're only interested in profit...

Dan Aris

Dumbest fucking meme ever - you moron. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39958159)

I just wonder what the Apple haters ...

"Haters"

WTF is a 'hater'?

Oh wait I know - one who criticizes something that another is irrationally attached to. Like Apple fanbois who need to grow up and realize that Apple is just another multinational corporation that will exploit labor.

Anyone who uses the term "hater" is a fucking moron.

Ergo - danaris is a fucking moron.

Re:Dumbest fucking meme ever - you moron. (1, Troll)

danaris (525051) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958273)

No, a "hater" is the opposite of a "fanboi". If the latter is one who supports a particular brand, person, or other entity no matter what, then the former is one who opposes it no matter what.

There are very few terms which, by their very use, can indicate an extremely low level of intelligence. I do not believe that "hater" is among them.

Dan Aris

Re:Dumbest fucking meme ever - you moron. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39959085)

WTF is a 'hater'?

It's someone who makes hats.

Re:Dumbest fucking meme ever - you moron. (1, Insightful)

sydneyfong (410107) | more than 2 years ago | (#39959129)

WTF is a 'hater'?

You are.

You see this one word and then irrationally jump onto a guy you don't even know and call him a fucking moron. OK maybe you're not an "Apple hater" (though I wouldn't bet any money on this), but you sure are a "Danaris Hater".

I guess you're a "sydneyfong hater" too, you're very welcome to be one.

You need to grow up and realize that slashdotters posting here are just another bunch of random people who likes to express their own views (even if it doesn't align with some pet peeve of yours) and do NOT (generally) exploit labor. It's generally not part of etiquette to "criticize" people with words like "fucking moron", but hey, if you want to really act like one by calling people names, that's your choice really.

PS: How old are you really? I mean I can see why some people around here don't like the business practices of Apple, but to take it _personally_ and attack other people who like their products, it's sounds like you guys have been dumped by a girl who ran away with an Apple fanbois or something, or got beaten up by the school bully for "not-being-cool-enough-to-own-an-iphone" or some stupid shit like that...

Re:Good news for everyone but the haters (4, Insightful)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958173)

Indeed, this is not a big surprise to me, but it is definitely welcome news.

I just wonder what the Apple haters are going to say to justify their mindless frothing that Apple would never do such a thing, because they're only interested in profit...

Dan Aris

Apple wouldn't be doing this if they didn't think the (relatively trivial) added costs were worth the significant PR boost that it produces. Apple's success is, after all, largely predicated on their excellent marketing and consumer image, and the idea that their product was assembled with the blood of the workers (almost literally) doesn't exactly help that.

Either way, it's a good thing and Apple and Foxconn should be congratulated for taking this step, provided they actually follow through, and don't stop as soon as media attention disappears. I very much doubt either Foxconn or Apple would be doing this if it wasn't for the massive media attention they've received recently. Proof, of course, is the fact that they didn't do anything before the suicides hit the news.

Re:Good news for everyone but the haters (2)

danaris (525051) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958297)

Proof, of course, is the fact that they didn't do anything before the suicides hit the news.

Factcheck: The suicides were not at an Apple Foxconn plant. I'm pretty sure I recall reading that they were at an XBox 360 plant, but I could be misremembering. It was definitely something non-Apple, though.

Dan Aris

Re:Good news for everyone but the haters (0)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958381)

He didn't say they were. Defensive much?

Re:Good news for everyone but the haters (1)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958549)

That's a very, very convincing Factcheck you presented there.

--Jeremy

Re:Good news for everyone but the haters (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958587)

Sun Danyong, a 25-year-old male, committed suicide in July 2009 after reporting the loss of an iPhone 4 prototype in his possession

Source [wikipedia.org] , and before he did so he claimed "claimed he was beaten and his residence searched by Foxconn employees." The mass suicide threats were at an XBox factory, but the others were spread around (can't seem to find the exact locations). In any case, Apple is clearly not directly responsible for the conditions that led to these suicides: Foxconn holds that responsibility. It is clear, though, that Apple, Microsoft, and others have not been as careful with their manufacturer choice as they should have been, and all of them should work to ensure their manufacturer doesn't act unethically. Again, kudos to Apple for doing something, at least.

Re:Good news for everyone but the haters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39958991)

So you are saying that it was the red ring of suicide?

Re:Good news for everyone but the haters (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39958397)

Twat. Apple have made billions from near slave and child labor. Now they're spending 0.01% of that to improve their image. How about not exploiting foreign poverty and having factories on home turf?

Re:Good news for everyone but the haters (2)

toriver (11308) | more than 2 years ago | (#39959549)

"Near slave" how? They pay more than the average pay for the region, and though a few minors did work there, that is illegal in China so Apple were in the clear on that too - it was Faxconn's fault. Do you think the Foxconn workers should go back to being subsistence farmers in the countryside instead of making money? You seem to think that American standards of living and levels of income should be the norm...

Now, what you should worry about are all the OTHER factories making shit for Cisco, HP, etc. that are NOT improved, do NOT increase pay as much as Apple's factories have done, but that you gladly ignore in your blind hate. Fucking double standards.

Re:Good news for everyone but the haters (1)

Rasperin (1034758) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958457)

I'm one of those Mad Hatters, and I've never hated Apple because of Foxconn, it's the fact they are litigating any company that moves (among dozens upon dozens of other reasons). I personally think this is a great gesture on their part and hope that the effects actually make changes this time (as in, this isn't the first, and Foxconn makes more than just apple products).

Re:Good news for everyone but the haters (1)

Tough Love (215404) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958529)

I just wonder what the Apple haters are going to say to justify their mindless frothing that Apple would never do such a thing, because they're only interested in profit...

Oh, I don't know, how about "words are cheap?".

Re:Apple cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39957863)

On top of that this is also interesting view to changes in worlds politics. We haven't had such industrial revolution since the US started growing. It also shows that the hybrid socialist-capitalism system that China (and somewhat Europe too) has is a great strength compared to the US hard stance on pure capitalism. Having spent time the China and other places in Asia I must also say that the people are much nicer and reasonable. It is often impossible to deal with Americans, but Asian people still enjoy good old talk, socializing and being together. Also the cheer amount of their population and business culture, with a still relaxed life helps them.

So did you spike your apple kool-aid with grain alcohol? Don't be daft, this is a corporate decision, not a government issued one. And it was made because Apple was getting a black eye from all the bad publicity of working conditions while making iProducts. (The suicides didn't help either.) Sometimes markets are driven by social and environmental impact. (This explains the Prius, for starters.)

Re:Apple cares (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39957865)

Do honestly think Apple would be doing this if they didn't think it would increase their profit margin in the medium to long term at least?

You do?

Well, you see, I have this bridge I need to sell...

Re:Apple cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39957883)

Maybe not to increase profits, definitively to protect them...

Consumer backlash is fickle mistress and not one to bed toyed with.

Re:Apple cares (2)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#39957933)

bed toyed with?

I'm not sure what kind of kinky shit you're into, backlashes being 'bed toys' now :-P

Re:Apple cares (5, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | more than 2 years ago | (#39957923)

Do honestly think Apple would be doing this if they didn't think it would increase their profit margin in the medium to long term at least?

So what? If people's lives are improved, does it really matter what motivations are behind it? If this increases Apple's profit, that is a good thing, because it will set a good example for other corporations.

Re:Apple cares (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#39957973)

I think the point was, while peoples lives are being improved, it is silly to say it shows that they care about other things than profit. From reading the article, the main reason looks to be that they want to increase or at least ensure their profit.

Re:Apple cares (1)

cjb658 (1235986) | more than 2 years ago | (#39959251)

1. Public complains about egregious working conditions at your company.
2. Improve working conditions a little and start a massive PR campaign to show that you care about more than just profit.
3. Profit!

Re:Apple cares (1)

archshade (1276436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958095)

So what? If people's lives are improved, does it really matter what motivations are behind it? If this increases Apple's profit, that is a good thing, because it will set a good example for other corporations.

Improved living conditions are of course good.

This however is (I believe the correct) corporate decision. People, and not just those on Slashdot had started commenting on the conditions of foxconn workers. This is buying good public image. On the other hand this may be an example of capitalism working. Apple saw a danger of losing sales unless they improved their image over the issue. I'm assuming they looked at the best way to improve there image, and doing something to fix the problem was the best solution.

Doesn't make sense (1, Troll)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958055)

Do honestly think Apple would be doing this if they didn't think it would increase their profit margin in the medium to long term at least?

Yes, some companies care about conditions of the workforce.

It wouldn't impact profits if Apple did not do this. They could easily have ignored the complaints and let it blow over, and continued to do the same thing to help chinese workers that the makers of whatever devices you prefer to use do (i.e. nothing).

The only return on Apple for this is felling slightly better about themselves.

Re:Doesn't make sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39958125)

And preventing the loss in revenue from when it doesn't 'blow over'.

Even in the article they state that they expect it to be required if they want to remain competitive - in other words, they would expect to lose profit if they didn't do this. Given Apple's track record, I'm inclined to say their personal warm squishy feeling gets circular filed with anything else not deemed fiscally beneficial.

It makes perfect sense (1)

voss (52565) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958483)

Even if only 1 out of 100 Apple Ipad customers were concerned about that, it would still be worth it. Apples customers are concerned about human rights or at least they think they are. They dont have to satisfy everyone but if they make 9 out of 10 concerned people satisified at a small cost that leaves 1 in a 1000 and they likely wont be satisified no matter what apple does.

Re:Doesn't make sense (5, Insightful)

scot4875 (542869) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958573)

Yes, some companies care about conditions of the workforce.

If they gave a fuck about the conditions of the workforce, they'd do their manufacturing in the US. Or some other 1st world country with laws that protect their workers.

--Jeremy

Re:Doesn't make sense (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39959023)

the real question is that if they're not planning on exiting hw business anytime soon.. why not run their own assembly plants?

the reason to outsource ownership of that part of the business is to have flexibility for quick exit, but with apple that doesn't seem like a good reason right now.

and they have the cash.

Re:Doesn't make sense (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39959209)

Who knows what will be their next cash cow.

It used to be computers, err Macs.

Then it was MP3 Players.

Now it is iPhones.

So, which type of plant should they build?

Re:Doesn't make sense (1)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 2 years ago | (#39959167)

I wish I had MOD points today, because that is how I feel about especially since Apple's profit margin is so high.

Re:Doesn't make sense (1)

sydneyfong (410107) | more than 2 years ago | (#39959307)

I don't know, by your logic, it sounds something like:

If you gave a fuck about the well-being of your friends, you'd dump your poor friends and make friends with the rich and wealthy people (who make their first world laws to protect themselves from "exploitation"), instead of giving assistance to your less well-off friends.

I'm not saying companies that choose to employ a workforce in cheaper countries are doing "charity", but then it's totally insensitive for you to just shunt off the world's problems by pretending the third world doesn't exist. Yeah you try to go to Shenzhen and convince those workers to leave their current jobs because it's just a shitty job (or better, convince Apple to to really ditch foxconn and move manufacturing to the US). You'll find that the workers' alternative is working in even worse environments. Not _your_ problem, right? As long as it makes *you* feel good that the jobs are finally coming home and your "1st world laws" are protecting (read "entitling") the people around you to all sort of benefits for doing the same quality of work that could be fairly done for a fraction of the cost, right?

I mean, solving poverty is easy. Just ask all the third world countries to legislate away poverty by mandating a minimum wage of $1000 an hour. See, lawyers in new york make at least that much and they're barely human! The shitty governments don't do that only because they're corrupted and greedy, otherwise poverty will be solved in a day!!

In fact, why don't you set up a zero-world country in an artificial island on international waters and make your own laws that mandate the minimum wage is a million dollars an hour. I mean, anything less is exploitation!!!! I'm sure all you ethical moral do-gooders will flock to this island and live happily ever after.

Re:Apple cares (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958051)

Oh, come on. I'm a Mac user, but I don't see this as a 'great move' or any indication that Apples cares about anything but profit. This is a cheaper way to address the PR issues associated to the FoxConn problems.

Go post your crap to dev\null.

I would like to see all the other Fortune 500 companies that FoxConn manufactures goods for make the same kind of effort as Apple is in this case, but it certainly isn't a river bullet for the problems Foxconn workers face.

Re:Apple cares (1)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958061)

but it certainly isn't a river bullet for the problems Foxconn workers face.

That should be silver bullet. Damn you auto correct!

Attempting to Straighten Things Out (3, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958103)

Okay, you don't seem to be a troll so let me help you out.

I think this is great move by Apple.

I think we can all agree on this.

It also shows that they care about other things than profit ...

Well, that depends, doesn't it? I think this became an issue when "reporters" made it an issue and Apple surmised that it might affect their bottom line. Never mind that everyone else is likely just as guilty as Apple, they're the biggest target so it's up to them to make the first move. In the end, they're probably doing this so it doesn't cost them sales from the hippies.

... unlike *ahem* certain privacy violating company Mountain View that just decided to pack their packs and leave after they couldn't compete with Baidu.

There's so much wrong with this statement I don't even know where to start. Google has some privacy violations here in the United States but they're pretty mild compared to what the Chinese government does to its citizens and dissidents. By the way, that's why Google left (really was forced to leave) China as they refused to adjust their search results to comply with the Socialist party's orders in China. They were actually trying to stand up for the citizens and left in protest.

We haven't had such industrial revolution since the US started growing.

I guess I don't know what you mean by "the US started growing" but there are other nations, like Japan's Meji Restoration that were considered amazing industrial revolutions [wikipedia.org] . History is peppered with nations each taking great strides to push themselves forward -- although they are not always pure of motive. Maybe you should check out the section on child labor [wikipedia.org] .

It also shows that the hybrid socialist-capitalism system that China (and somewhat Europe too) has is a great strength compared to the US hard stance on pure capitalism.

I hate to break it to you but almost every nation runs on a hybrid socialist-capitalist system. Even the United States. We may have started closer to the Capitalist side but we're making "progress" to meet China halfway as they approach from the other side. I'm not even going to open that can of worms in this discussion but if you're interested you should check out pollution control laws in the United States versus China (Hint: China is very pure capitalism compared to the US on that one).

Having spent time the China and other places in Asia I must also say that the people are much nicer and reasonable. It is often impossible to deal with Americans, but Asian people still enjoy good old talk, socializing and being together. Also the cheer amount of their population and business culture, with a still relaxed life helps them.

Forgive me if I am mistaken but this feels suspiciously similar to the Chinese water army [slashdot.org] that is paid to frequent forums in support of something. Provide something measurable and we'll talk. Even a concrete anecdote about your vast experiences that give you credence to speak on behalf of all Americans. I can tell you right now that people in Minnesota are quite nicer than people in New Jersey. I'm sure China has the same dynamics.

I am more than interested to see this change in politics, and as I am already living in Asia (I moved here from Europe), stuff is about to get great soon.

You should read "The Good Earth" by Pearl S. Buck, the Chinese people have never had it better! You say stuff is about to get get great soon and I think you're enjoying a Golden Age! I would, however, be interested to learn what European country you left that is in such a worse state than China.

Re:Attempting to Straighten Things Out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39959337)

I can tell you right now that people in Minnesota are quite nicer than people in New Jersey.

Well this is obviously a post by the Minnesotan lake water army. Come down to Newark and we'll knock your fucking teeth in for spreading those filthy lies.
I don't know who this eldavojohn person is, but they're obviously a shill for those semi-Swedish a-holes.

Greetings! (2)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#39959453)

Well this is obviously a post by the Minnesotan lake water army. Come down to Newark and we'll knock your fucking teeth in for spreading those filthy lies. I don't know who this eldavojohn person is, but they're obviously a shill for those semi-Swedish a-holes.

*pulls his New Jersey to Minnesota Translation Guide off the shelf and blows the dust off it*

Let's see here ... ah ... Well, hello to you too, doenchya knoe! Why it sure is a fine pleasure to meet such a strapping orange colored lad like yourself! You just come back from a Charley in the Chocolate Factory production or something?

Oh, right, I need to translate this cordiality so that you can understand it ... "How's the fauwkin' weather ova there, ya fauwkin' prick? You look thirsty, can I offer ya some pop ... er ... fauwkin' yagga bawmbs [youtube.com] ?"

Re:Apple cares (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958223)

Rather than create a new account for each story you want to troll, why not just log in with the same one each time?

What is the point in creating a new account for each new troll? People who come here often can spot you easy enough.

Re:Apple cares (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958475)

Because bonch thinks no one notices.

Re:Apple cares (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958783)

Here is my current theory.

Bonch works for /.

He puts up arguments that go completely opposite the standard /. view creating arguments and page views.

He is a paid punching bag.

Re:Apple cares (1)

RMingin (985478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958231)

Look, JEEEzus, I just had this talk with Cheeseburgers in the other Apple thread. If you're going to shill in public, where people can see you, you have to WARM UP with a couple of unrelated posts. You can drop the account AFTER you shill, but if it's your only post, ever, it's disregarded! Our job is to shape and influence public perception of our clients, not just make a transparent "YAY APPLE" post and disappear. They're going to go with another PR group if you keep up this subpar work!

See me in my office at 4:30 and remember, COFFEE IS FOR SUCCESSFUL SHILLS. You can't have any.

Re:Apple cares (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958657)

bonch has been a terrible shill for a while now. Shouldn't you have already fired him by now?

Re:Apple cares (1)

RMingin (985478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958681)

Tenure is a horrible, horrible thing. I'll keep working on it.

Re:Apple cares (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39958535)

Fuck off, bonch.

oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39957777)

oh.

In other news... (3, Funny)

Troyusrex (2446430) | more than 2 years ago | (#39957805)

Fox to help hens improve hen house. Farmers think everything will turn out just swell.

Re:In other news... (4, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958073)

Fox to help hens improve hen house. Farmers think everything will turn out just swell.

Consumers worried safer hens will result in higher egg prices.

But... but but... (-1, Flamebait)

jjohnson (62583) | more than 2 years ago | (#39957819)

Zombie Steve Jobs still gets to skullfuck Foxconn employees to death, right? That's what made Apple what it is today!

Re:But... but but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39958157)

Come on mods! Displays of mental illness like the above shouldn't be visible when browsing at 1.

Cynical (1, Interesting)

Crasoose (1621969) | more than 2 years ago | (#39957827)

I hope its just me being the cynical bastard I am but why do I have the funny feeling this money won't go towards improving conditions? I hope "splitting initial costs" means apple will be expecting some inkwork before they give over some money.

Re:Cynical (5, Insightful)

Shoten (260439) | more than 2 years ago | (#39957895)

Actually, it will...because the truth is that Foxconn is not at all bad when you look at working conditions in China across the board. So, if Apple publicly does this and makes Foxconn a great place to work, they can then turn this whole perception around by highlighting what it's like for the workers who make HTC/Samsung/Motorola/etc devices.

Re:Cynical (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39958807)

They work at FoxConn, too.

Re:Cynical (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39957903)

This will help to change perception. Perhaps they are planing to paint the outside of the factories in pink with pretty unicorns :-)

Won't matter (3, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#39957835)

Despite being the most proactive when it comes to labor abuses, Apple will remain the primary target of critics who use Foxconn as a means to attack the company for personal reasons, even though Foxconn is not an Apple subsidiary and makes electronics for practically every major vendor in the industry, from Dell to Sony to Google. However, these other companies will receive no scrutiny.

Re:Won't matter (2)

hey (83763) | more than 2 years ago | (#39957929)

They are being reactive -- not proactive.

Re:Won't matter (2)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958047)

No, reactive would be addressing things after they happened. Apple's annual reports show that they have maintained a proactive stance, instituting rules and inspections to prevent managerial abuses and other labor violations. As Foxconn's likely biggest client, they have the bargaining power to do that. Like I said, some people have personal reasons for hating Apple and simply use Foxconn as that tool.

Re:Won't matter (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958789)

Really? Care to prove that they did anything before the Foxconn suicides hit the press?

Re:Won't matter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39958067)

Most other companies don't charge an enormous premium on their products and can't afford to. Most devices (TVs, phones, computing devices) decrease in cost-to-public (i.e. you and me) after the initial "me first" cost privilege, and some more later. Add in that all other closed ecosystems (XBox, PS3, Wii) heavily subsidize the hardware because they make their money back on software sales. Add in that it's reported (google it, you'll find a few references) that most of the money they make are from hardware (and not music or application sales)?

P.S. Google also makes no readily available commercial hardware, so I'm not sure what you're talking about here.

Re:Won't matter (1)

HarrySquatter (1698416) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958641)

Google isn't a Foxconn customer, bonch. Nice try, though.

Let me see if I have this straight.. (2, Interesting)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39957919)

Let me see if I have this straight... Apple and Foxconn are working to improve worker conditions - when they and their "independent audit" claim that worker conditions aren't bad in the first place, and the article that ignited the firestorm was discovered to be fiction?

Interesting.

Re:Let me see if I have this straight.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39958019)

That's exactly what I read when I read the summary. If the complaint was deemed an "unfair" judgement by public perception, then what exactly are they improving?

More doublespeak.

Perhaps they'll add a coffee machine (that charges 25 cents, that's practically their whole days pay!), and call it "improved".

Re:Let me see if I have this straight.. (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958079)

In the corporate world, it doesn't really help to get defensive over negative perceptions. Even if they are false; telling people they're wrong, misinformed, or stupid is bad PR. Just say you'll fix it, add a couple more holidays to the work calendar, and move on with life.

Re:Let me see if I have this straight.. (1)

PixetaledPikachu (1007305) | more than 2 years ago | (#39959265)

In the corporate world, it doesn't really help to get defensive over negative perceptions.

like "you're holding it wrong" ?

Re:Let me see if I have this straight.. (4, Interesting)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958119)

Here's what's going on, in a nutshell:
1. The conditions at Foxconn are dangerous, cruel, and completely unacceptable to Western sensibilities.
2. The conditions at Foxconn are completely legal, better than other plants, and probably considered ethical by Chinese standards.

In other words, this whole brouhaha says more about outsourcing manufacturing to China in general than anything about Apple or Foxconn specifically. Basically, if Americans and Europeans really thought about who was getting killed and maimed and exploited in order to supply their cheap stuff, they'd never accept it, but because it's far away and not talked about they're effectively putting it out-of-sight-out-of-mind.

Re:Let me see if I have this straight.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39958235)

Basically, if Americans and Europeans really thought about who was getting killed and maimed and exploited in order to supply their cheap stuff, they'd never accept it, but because it's far away and not talked about they're effectively putting it out-of-sight-out-of-mind.

Morlocks and Eloi.

Re:Let me see if I have this straight.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39958837)

Correct. Plausible deniability works just as well in the corporate sector as it does in government.

Re:Let me see if I have this straight.. (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 2 years ago | (#39959231)

And still, claiming that a companies that makes record profits should spend a part of them improving the conditions of its workers and therefore contribute to the betterment of the working conditions in China, does not shock me.

Re:Let me see if I have this straight.. (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958253)

Well the article that ignited the controversy *was* fiction - it was admitted by the original author.

The audits did turn up issues that needed to be corrected, just nothing on the scale suggested by the sensationalist and inaccurate press. Even so, the conditions are not as good as a "western" plant, but are still much better than most of the outsourced factories in and around the region (Disclaimer: this does not mean 'oh well, that's ok then' or any justification for lack of improvement). There is clear room for improvement. That requires investment.

Re:Let me see if I have this straight.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39958319)

The article is known to be fiction. The author calls it "theater," and says it wasn't meant to be taken as factual.

Conditions at FoxConn are unacceptable by American standards, but are very good compared to what Chinese workers have to deal with in general.

You can take that to mean that we shouldn't be shipping work to China so we can keep workers in quality conditions, but that doesn't help the plight of the Chinese worker at all.

Re:Let me see if I have this straight.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39958321)

No, you don't have it straight. Apple published a report showing that things could be improved. You know how that Google thing works?

Re:Let me see if I have this straight.. (1)

Caratted (806506) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958427)

I guess you don't work in PR. I think a majority of readers will respond with thoughts somewhere along the lines of "figures." Relatively speaking, the conditions aren't bad. Americans spouting their mouths off about how awful "we" treat these Chinese people, as if that were our responsibility... they will continue to have a negative impact (and thus be a focus for PR's spending, regardless of how redundant the investments may seem to be) until the magnifying glass is off Apple's chapped ass.

Being one of the most popular tech companies with a liberal profit margin, you can bet this won't be the last recourse, unless something drastic happens and nobody cares anymore. In the mean time and outside the magnifying glass, the cost is offset because decisions like this are just what they need to convince another couple hundred school districts to purchase iPads.

Maybe open a plant in the US? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39958021)

You would think that with the 39 BILLION in profit, they would have opened/re-positioned that plant to gie jobs to the US,

But Noooo
 

Re:Maybe open a plant in the US? (1)

halivar (535827) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958091)

There is absolutely zero incentive to do so.

Re:Maybe open a plant in the US? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39958291)

Apple will never open a plant in the US. Period. Read Steve's Bio and read some of what Tim Cook has been saying. The mini cities in China allow them to wake up employees in the middle of the night to do catch up work if they make one slight design change. Also they can open up plants in a matter of days because they have the ability to pay pennies a day so that the work can be done by hand. And not to forget they say that this underdeveloped country has the highly skilled labor that can be trained in under 8 days so that those factories can be at full production in no time.
 
  In the US the cost is to high to build building, American apparently don't want to live in over crowded dorms and get paid pennies a day. Not to mention the over time rules of the US. (yes Foxconn has changed a little on that). Also the fact that they say there is no highly skilled labor in the USA anymore. We the US are becoming to be Dilbert's fourth world country of Elbonia while the real "3rd world country" is doing top of the line stuff.

Re:Maybe open a plant in the US? (1)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 2 years ago | (#39959275)

You would think that with the 39 BILLION in profit, they would have opened/re-positioned that plant to gie [sic] jobs to the US ...

They can't do that because the US simply can't match [nytimes.com] what Foxconn can do in China.

Good news. (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958033)

That's good news. It's good to see a corporation spend a little more to ensure that it's workers are living good lives.
If only they had decided to spend a little more to ensure that local workers were living good lives.

Still no factory in the USA (3)

scubamage (727538) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958075)

So the factories still will exist inside China, where human rights really don't matter. God forbid they spend those "several million dollars" in the US to open a factory and do the production stateside where human rights can be guaranteed.

Re:Still no factory in the USA (0)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958105)

Wait until Romney gets into office. He'll END human rights and we will get all our jerbs back.

Re:Still no factory in the USA (1, Insightful)

The Dancing Panda (1321121) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958139)

And make iPads cost ~$10,000 a piece? Get real. Until the process can be completely mechanized, there will be no plant in the US. The US Manufacturing industry is gone. We need to embrace that fact and move forward.

Re:Still no factory in the USA (3, Insightful)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958293)

Actually, the issue isn't really the labour cost (it would add about $50 per iPad to the cost, according to some), it's more the logistics of the parts that go into assembly, with the exception of a few specialist pieces, that are all made in and around the same place.

The availability of a large enough workforce is also an issue in the US, despite the high unemployment rate.

Re:Still no factory in the USA (2)

Brietech (668850) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958735)

I don't think the logistics are really all that difficult - most of the parts (CPU, DRAM, probably LCD screen, etc.) in an iProduct aren't made in China either. They're made in Japan, Germany, the USA, or South Korea, shipped to china and assembled for $8/board at a contract manufacturer like Foxconn.

To make an iPhone (which sells for $5-600) probably costs apple $200, of which ~$10 is final assembly. The US doesn't really have the enormously large-scale contract manufacturers like Foxconn that Apple can say 'here, make 10k of these a day 6 months from now.' Apple could probably build a highly-automated factory in the US that could probably assemble iphones for $50, upping their total cost to $240 or so, but then they would have to run and operate a factory - something they haven't really been in the business of doing for the last decade or so. In addition to being more directly responsible for the welfare of their workers (it's easier to say 'we treat our workers well, we're not responsible for our contract manufacturers'), they would be shouldering more of the risk for no gain in profit. Apple can say, Sorry foxconn, we don't need anymore ipods', and then it's Foxconn's job to figure out what to do with their expensive factory.

Re:Still no factory in the USA (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39959119)

apparently they would still do profit at current pricing if it added fifty bucks to the price of manufacturing - at those profitability numbers _any_ expense can be said to be the reason to not run the factories in usa. afaik/iirc jobs opinion was that he couldn't hire enough really, really good manufacturing automation engineers in usa to make it more profitable/feasible than the foxcon way of manufacturing(how can you make cheap, cheap watches in swizerland? high grade automation) and obviously running a direct foxcon clone in usa would come with bunch of problems apple isn't really keen on tackling(or no one else really).

the real grumble might be that it wouldn't up the quality at all to do the devices in usa and frankly the rest of the world doesn't care that much if it's manufactured in usa - nobody really checks if their nokia was made in china or finland either really.

Re:Still no factory in the USA (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 2 years ago | (#39959399)

The logistics only work out that way because America has shipped so much of their manufacturing to China already. They're becoming locked in. If they're using that as an excuse for why they have to continue to manufacture in China, then be prepared for a delay between the point that manufacturing in America makes financial sense, and the point where they actually bring manufacturing back to America. (If it ever happens).

Re:Still no factory in the USA (3, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958413)

The US Manufacturing industry is gone.

Not true at all - if the US manufacturing industry was a country all by itself, it would have the sixth largest economy in the world with a GDP of over two trillion [2010] dollars.
 
What's actually happened is three fold: the manufacture of consumer goods has fled overseas, the productivity of individuals has gone up, and automation has taken over in a big way since the digital revolution. Yes, the manufacturing sector employs a hell of a lot fewer people than it did forty years ago, but no - it hasn't gone away. (In fact, over the last decade it's been growing.)

Re:Still no factory in the USA (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958485)

http://www.connectorsupplier.com/sound_off_bishop_iPhone_Manufacturing_US_11-15-11.htm [connectorsupplier.com]
Estimates place the cost of manufacturing in the US at about $20 higher per unit than in China, and this is without taking shipping costs into account. Not the $9500 you are estimating.

Re:Still no factory in the USA (1)

Xarin (320264) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958265)

So the factories still will exist inside China, where human rights really don't matter. God forbid they spend those "several million dollars" in the US to open a factory and do the production stateside where human rights can be guaranteed.

There won't be a factory in the United States until the whole supply chain is in the United States. It is just too inefficient to have a large distance between one's suppliers. This is explained nicely at http://www.scribblingonthesidewalk.com/post/20567905034/why-apple-cant-build-ipads-in-the-us [scribbling...dewalk.com]

Re:Still no factory in the USA (1)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958883)

It is not just the supply chain. It's the ability to tell 5000 workers that they are now on 18 hour days on a corporate whim. It's the ability to pay those same people generally a dollar a day, then take most of that back in housing and food fees because you force them to live at the factory. This, is all about profit margins and has nothing to do with supply chains.

We now have Corporate mouth pieces and politicians claiming that the US is just lazy, or it's because of better workers. Bullshit to all of it.

My simple answer to both of those is to pay the Chinese factory worker what you would pay an American worker and see what happens. Suddenly prices would also increase much higher than it would to build them in America. Shit, pay them US minimum wage and watch what happens. How about being force to treat them with the same rules as ANY Western workers have? OSHA safety laws, FMLA, ADA, required overtime restrictions, shift premiums, paid Holidays, Sick time and Vacation time. Hell, coverage for when their left arm gets burned off by a hot glue gun that blows up instead of the current "your fired because you can no longer produce" action.

Oh, for posterity.. simply because it would really mess up China I would like to see them force the pay to be American rates. Talk about a fast way to fuck up a very large economy!!

In short, you are falling for the propaganda these assholes keep spewing to make more and more and fuck everyone else over in the process of making more. History is really a great thing. Look at the end of the great Monarchies, Feudalism, and mercantilism for how things play out. If you study the history, you will get a good idea of how far we are and how fucked up we'll get before the masses start cutting people's heads off in town squares.

investing.... (1)

psherma1 (1082607) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958147)

Y could Apple not "invest" in US manufacturer? Maybe pay a company with better working conditions here in the United States to manufacture their parts?
Still not enough profit margin?

Guess I'm really old-fashioned, still an American trying to buy American, (when I can.)

Re:investing.... (2)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958309)

It already does, so I'm not sure what your point is?

It sunk a great deal of money into Samsung's Texas operation where the new A6 chip is being made for Apple as well as other investments in US businesses (although not all manufacturing related).

America doesn't want those jobs (and shouldn't) (1)

Mad Leper (670146) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958689)

Americans won’t take manufacturing jobs unless they’re very well paid, require little education or skill and have plenty of benefits. While those jobs used to be had in America long ago when steel and the auto were king, Americans now hand those jobs off to imported labor (Mexico and elsewhere) rather than do it themselves.

America does not have the infrastructure or manufacturing flexibility that China has now. A design change at Foxconn that takes a week would likely require months at an American plant. No sign that any American investors are willing to put up the funds or resources to match what China has now (and has been building up for decades) or set up the massive supply chains and shipping systems that Foxconn has access to now.

You don’t want those jobs anyway, the good jobs (design, research, software, marketing and yes even retail) are the ones you want and all those are already in America.

Re:America doesn't want those jobs (and shouldn't) (1)

Tailhook (98486) | more than 2 years ago | (#39959285)

That is a well written expression of contemporary conventional wisdom. Group-think, in other words.

The US government has an outfit called the ATF. They are responsible for, among other things, the regulation of imported firearms. They enforce detailed and burdensome standards on foreign manufacturers that export guns to the US. The US also collects an excise tax (for which few exemptions exist) of between 10-11% on imported firearms.

This is highly unusual. Almost no imports suffer such burdens. 70% of all imports to the US are tariff free, and most of the remaining 30% are fossil fuels, which means most manufactured goods are tariff free.

The result of all this is telling. In the US there are multiple, large, profitable firearms manufacturers that have built large advanced manufacturing facilities and are employing thousands of well paid, unionized workers.

The conventional wisdom you offer would have us believe that these US manufactured products would be wholly unaffordable due to the cost of US labor and regulations. The truth is that Sturm Ruger, for instance, has had to stop accepting new orders because, despite their vast and entirely domestic manufacturing operations, they can't keep up with demand. The guns are entirely affordable as evidenced by very high sales.

The truth is our leaders and captains of industry don't believe your conventional wisdom either. Having publicly acquired a black eye due to the failure of certain high profile investments [solyndra.com] , the US government felt the need to protect another domestic industry with a brand new tariff [latimes.com] .

We know exactly what to do to protect domestic industry and we know it works. We just don't bother. The truth is we would rather that nasty industry business be kept far away, preferably somewhere that has next to no regulation and an amble supply of disposable, exploitable labor to maintain those "low, low" walmart prices.

I bet (3, Funny)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958267)

Yes, they are going to ship them a couple thousand of their new product: iBullwhip

New Factory (1)

kryliss (72493) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958531)

Has twice the amount of bathrooms and now with running water!!

Whatever, Apple (1)

doston (2372830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958653)

If Apple was sincere about conditons for factory workers, they'd simply build their products in a country with enhanced worker protections, even if the cost was greater. Yeah, I've heard the argument that they'd never be able to make the iPhone anywhere else because the factories can't retool fast enough elsewhere. That's a bunch of bull. It adds cost and that's the real problem, right, Apple?

Rationalization (1)

TopSpin (753) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958659)

Why I'm ok with my Chinese manufactured iPhone/Pad

- or -

Apple/Foxconn worker and environmental exploitation rationalization worksheet

Check all that apply

[ ] Making iPhones in a Chinese factory is better than being a Chinese peasant
[ ] iPhones/Pads would cost too much if I had to pay my fellow citizens to make them
[ ] iPhones/Pads would cost too much given environmental regulations I vehemently insist on for myself
[ ] All the other manufacturers are doing it too
[ ] Some/Many/Most Chinese workers appreciate 70 hour weeks and breathing my aluminum dust
[ ] It's not Apple, it's Foxconn
[ ] It's not Apple, it's the Chinese government
[ ] It's just capitalism at work
[ ] It's just communism at work
[ ] Apple's disposable workers are paid better than non-Apple disposable workers
[ ] Apple's auditors didn't find any serious issues
[ ] Some day the Chinese will be too wealthy to exploit
[ ] Your Android is Foxconn too
[ ] You're an Apple hater using Apple as a scapegoat
[ ] I also work 60/80/100/120 hour weeks at my IT job
[ ] Apple designers are in the US
[ ] The US did the same thing to the British
[ ] The US had slaves once too
[ ] The US has prison labor today
[ ] It's up to the Chinese to stand up to their oppressive government
[ ] There are lines of willing workers outside Foxconn factories
[ ] If any company were to stop the exploitation, I really think it'll be Apple
[ ] Your free Linux runs on Chinese hardware too
[ ] Foxconn workers think they have it great, so it's ok!
[ ] Foxconn worker suicides are lower than Chicago's murder rate
[ ] We can't pollute the whole world!
[ ] Half of all US households have an Apple product
[ ] If we don't exploit them they'll never develop

new China headquarters (1)

Anomalyst (742352) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958705)

I am sure the rank and file labor view this as an execellant use of funds. What could be more ebenficial to the company the improving the working conditions for the PHB.s.
P.S. Anyone have equivalantly disdainful/derogatory ideograms for PHB?

These should be American jobs. (1)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958755)

But no one has any sense of giving back to the community that made their success possible, so forget it.

Make any excuses (1)

Stan92057 (737634) | more than 2 years ago | (#39958859)

Make any excuses you want for apple but the fact remains the people of China are not a free people.

Improve factories my ass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39959225)

Wanna bet much of the money will be in the form of a coverup? It's cheaper to coverup the truth than to fix it. Maybe more death threats to the employees that speak out? Bribe law officials to help as well? They'll do anything, but will stop short of threatening their profit margins.

Publicity stunt (1)

Squidlips (1206004) | more than 2 years ago | (#39959443)

Just BS to cover their image. If Apple really cared about workers, they would manufacture in the US or Europe. They don't care.
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