Archive for March, 2012

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China produces goods for markets all over the world, including for its own consumers, thanks to low costs, a large and educated workforce, and a flexible manufacturing system that responds rapidly to market demands. To imagine that we have willed this universe into being is simply solipsistic. It is also demeaning to the workers. We are not at the center of this story—we are minor players in theirs.

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In thinking about our cash, we wanted to achieve several objectives: First, we want to maintain the flexibility to take advantage of investment opportunities that present themselves. Second, we want to provide some current income for our long-term shareholders. Third, we want to increase the attractiveness of Apple to a wider investor base. And finally, we want to limit future dilution from our employee equity program.

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I think Ira Glass could have dug a little deeper into why he and his team made that fatal error and broadcast the segment even though they could not fully check it with the translator. They could have adopted as a working hypothesis that such an error was years in the making, not an isolated slip-up but something that cut deeper.

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It turns out the Apple public relations staffers did talk to reporters — always off the record — about Mike Daisey, pointing out inaccuracies in his account and suggesting that it was extremely unlikely that one man could have seen as much as Daisey claimed he saw in one trip to China. Among the journalists they warned off the Daisey story were Ira Glass and This American Life producer Brian Reid.

Philip Elmer-DeWitt: Apple and the Daisey affair. I’m not thrilled with that “it turns out” construction, but this is a facet of the story that shouldn’t be missed.

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The vast majority of workers in all industries work harder every day of the week than the vast majority of workers in the United States and other developed nations. That is a fact we must all confront, and which has been highlighted more in the last two years than the last two decades. It is not an Apple-specific problem, nor one specific to foreign companies doing business in China.

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There is a counterpart to you in China who is looking at the iPhone and approving of the fact that its hardware is made in China, but disapproving of the fact that its software is made in California, where there is a racist government, hundreds of thousands of innocent people in jail, and where people die routinely because they don’t have basic medical care. Too bad for that guy also. He has no control over California, its laws, or its problems, in the exact same way that you have no control over China, its laws, or its problems. Same for Tim Cook. He has a lot of corporate power, but it is still illegal for him to get married in California in spite of all that. He can’t wave a magic wand and fix California, let alone fix China. It is a fact of life that a modern computing device will have software from Silicon Valley and hardware from Shenzhen because those are the places where software and hardware are made.

How much does it cost to manufacture an iPhone? | asymco. Not that this is where the conversation should stop, but this is where the conversation must start.