Shared publicly  - 
8
56
Jon Hopper's profile photoDryade Geo's profile photoEd Ellis's profile photoBryan Maher's profile photo
28 comments
 
Haha ok we're playing the post in multiple places game? :) I will paste my response from Facebook here:

"Point taken but there is a major difference, which I am sure you understand. The bridge is a place people go to commit suicide. The bridge is not the cause of those suicides. No one is going to Foxconn in order to commit suicide, the assumption is that the conditions there are what cause the suicides. Either way, Playbook 2.0 is out so I am using that instead of the iPad now :) Sold my iPad 2 anyway, so at least until March 7th, Playbook it is."
 
I think the poor employees need a little bit better benefits so they can enjoy what they do. Just saying money is not everything. Make them happy to be happy apple.
 
Is there a breakdown of the suicide numbers per manufacturer?
Were these people all working on the iPad or maybe on the line for other brands.
Maybe they were told not to smoke on factory grounds and they killed them selves because they could not quit. Maybe they chose to work there to get money for their family but got so lonely because their family lives far away and it's a greater problem then foxcon.
As you say the assumption is that the conditions caused it.

And as if your playbook is not connected to issues
http://thenextweb.com/mobile/2011/09/21/blackberry-playbook-manufacturer-forced-to-cut-output-layoff-workers/
 
Appropos of nothing, but I'm in Shenzhen right now, just a couple of miles from Foxxconn. The buildings do indeed have fences and nets on top, but so do many other tall buildings in the area.
 
People should realize that almost all of the electronic gadgets that we love so much in the west - tablets, smartphones, TVs, etc etc are almost all made in China under similar conditions. Apple is singled out because they are the most visible and arguably are profiting the most, but it's really a labor issue that is common to a lot of western companies that take advantage of the cheap labor.
 
+Hillel Fuld nope i have an htc android but also have mcdonalds happy meal stuff, a logitech mouse, hp laptop, big bang theory t-shirt, huawei modem and those handy mini to micro usb adapter cables so i can use my old adapters of my old microsoft smart phone.
All this stuff is made in china. Some i got in NL some i ordered direct from china.
(ps the droid is because i want to write software for my phone without having to jump trough apples burning hoops ;)
 
+Robert Scoble +Hillel Fuld I don't want to whitewash what Apple is doing, but almost the entire industry uses Foxconn and therefore should be called out on the treatment of Chinese workers as well. 
 
+Robert Scoble I haven't heard anyone saying we're better. What I've heard is - this is bad and it needs to be fixed. The same thing I was hearing when there was the spate of post office shootings in the 90's (origin of the term going postal) and working conditions there were pointed to as a contributing factor.

+Ryan Fraley yes almost everyone uses Foxconn, but not everyone has such a cultlike following for their devices or weilds as much economic clout with the manufacturer so Apple gets to be the face of the problem.

Would it be better if the NY times had written about some company that makes a product that does a million or so dollars with Foxconn per year and then let them try and force thru a fix. The iPad is a huge product for Foxconn (55 mil units since Mar 2011 with Foxconn as sole supplier) vs say the XBox (with 65.8 mil units since 2005 with Foxconn as one of 4 suppliers) so again Apple swings the biggest stick there. So yeah it's understandable why Apple is singled out here. (BTW in the articles I read Microsoft was listed as also using Foxconn)
 
I think what is sad is that +Robert Scoble seems much more concerned with defending apple when these topics arise than addressing the issue. It seems to be fanboism (as it is often called), at a fever pitch... denying and distracting from the problem because you don't like apple being the 'victim'. Quick reminder here, all of the staggeringly wealthy execs and shareholders who are benefiting from these factories aren't victims who need to be defended. Its also not just the suicides that are a problem, so comparing it to schools, or bridges makes nearly zero sense (Jobs already tried that route)... its just distraction and denial. I don't think any reasonable person thinks this is an apple only issue. Everyone knows this issue spans across all products made in these countries and this has been a long time coming. As has been stated many times before, Apple is in the spotlight because they have the most power and they are making the most money from this.

At the end of the day you have a large number of people with little or no options, no freedom to improve their lives, working insane hours for extremely low wages so that a small number of extremely wealthy people can make significantly more money per device made. The company getting the blame doesn't really matter. The people do.
 
Really, because they do what every other technology company in the world does? How much are you willing to pay for your gadgets? Are you willing to picket the Chinese embassy, since they set the labor standards, run the prisons, and artificially manipulate their currency to siphon the wealth from the west into the pockets of the Communist Party elite?

If you want to know who really has the power in Cina remember Tienanmen Square

Tiananmen Square Massacre
 
+Daniel M. Ramos If a tech company could show me that they were making minimal profits, running a lean machine, and just getting by enough to continue to innovate and survive, without having stunning levels of money pouring in to make a few executives and investors rich... then I'd be willing to pay more for my device if improving working conditions made it cost more. You seem to ignore that people could afford washer's and dryers when they were made here, the people that owned the companies just made a little less.

I certainly don't disagree with what you say about the Chinese embassy, prisons, etc... no one is denying China is to blame.
 
+Daniel M. Ramos In no way is the industry using Foxconn meant as a justification at all. Not even close. It is a problem where everyone has blood on their hands. Yes, Apple is first to be called on this because they are the industry leader. That doesn't mean other companies should escape scrutiny. It is a problem where every company needs to be working together to find a solution. 
 
Jobs may have said that he would prefer to build in the US, but he also said he can't because there aren't enough skilled workers etc. That however is partially the fault of companies like Apple by shipping jobs over seas they effectively kill the opportunity to develop the skill set here. It's a damn feedback loop.
 
I didn't watch the episode last night but from the linked article in the OP

It takes 141 steps to make an iPhone, and the devices are essentially all handmade
It takes five days and 325 hands to make a single iPad
Foxconn produces 300k iPad camera modules per day

This kind of blows the reduced labor costs theory out of the water. I guarantee in a modern factory in America if would take less time, be automated and the machining would recoup its costs very quickly given the rate at which iPads sell.

Also from the linked article workers make about $21.00/day and pay 10% of that for meals. Another 2% goes for basically renting a bunk.
 
+Ryan Fraley, expecting tech companies to "work together to find a solution" to Communist exploitation of the populace and manipulation of its currency is pure fantasy.
 
+Jon Malin Apple itself admits that labor costs are a minimal factor in why they use Foxconn in manufacturing.

I have worked at companies that have moved manufacturing overseas and run the numbers myself a couple times and the manufacturing never actually ends up being as cheap as the MBAs initially promise it will be. There are extra costs associated in complying with import and export regs. It's harder to maintain quality control. It's harder to maintain the supply chain.

I have heard of many smaller companies that lose money by shifting production and personally know of two that folded because they did and then couldn't cope with the increased costs.

I'm not saying that there is no business case for moving manufacturing offshore, but I am saying that the costs associated with it are greater than a lot of people think.
 
It's not Apple's facility... why is no one angry with Foxconn, the actual company... or the Chinese government for allowing such conditions in its workplace... or Chinese culture for accepting the working conditions? Place blame appropriately. If you want better conditions in factories -- quit complaining about prices and cough up the money it would take to purchase something built with these practices.

Apple used to do everything built in the US and everyone complained about the price of the Macintosh... (along with other reasons), nearly killed Apple... it had to compete, so now it uses the same component manufacturers as EVERYONE ELSE and it gets called out for it. My introduction to Foxconn was in a PC years ago. They manufactured hard drive cables in every PC I've ever seen.

If you really view that this is a problem, place the blame where it belongs... on Foxconn, on the Chinese Government/Culture, on the consumer (you). If you're going to call out Apple, make sure that you also call out Dell, HP, Gateway, Raduis, SGI, Cray and everyone else who uses any Foxconn components in their products.

As far as "Can't afford to pay living expenses / buy the products they make" Sounds like every single US factory employee, this isn't a foreign concept.
 
There was outrage at Foxconn two years ago. Conditions persist because companies (not just Apple) continue to use Foxconn as a contract manufacturer, but again it's a matter of scale. Calling out Apple will have the biggest impact. To Apple's credit they are taking this seriously so that is on the plus side.
 
+Chad Hunter, calling out Apple (or any other tech company) will have minimal impact, because Apple is not able to do a damn thing about the culture of exploitation accepted by the Chinese people. Think about it, people complain about the suicides so Foxconn puts up nets to catch the falling people. If workers complain they will simply fire those and hire others. The party controls everything. There is one real way of impacting this situation and that is superior robotic assembly lines that are flexible enough and inexpensive enough to compete with human hands. When it is cheaper to do it high tech rather than by manual labor China will lose and Foxconn will change; however, you still have artificial currency manipulation on the part of the ChiComs you have to address.
 
Again Apple has says that the imapct on production and labor costs would be pretty minimal. According to Steve Jobs the problem is there aren't enough mid-level technical workers. Well train them then. That's a simple solution. But while moving production onshore and training workers might not raise the manufacturing cost signifigantly it would impact the profit margin and that is sacred.

As too Apple having no control over Foxconn. They are paying the damn bill. If they start to pull out then Foxconn will change. Actually the funny thing is Apple is probably regretting manufacturing in China now anyway because of the Foxview situation. They have lost control of the iPad trademark. I doubt they get it back. And under Chinese law Foxconn probably owns the right to manufacture the iPad and iPhone. If Apple wasn't very careful in drafting their contracts they can't move to another factory in China.
 
If Foxconn lost Apple the ChiComs wouldn't care one damn bit. They know ultimately they have apple by the iBalls because they CAN NOT go anywhere else because their monetary policy and exploitative labor laws have allowed them to gut the manufacturing muscle of America and the rest of the world. The fact is they have us against the wall. If Apple were to disappear they would just lay off a few thousand workers and keep chugging out their stuff. They might even keep producing iDevices against Apples wishes under a different Foxconn name. Don't put it past them. Not even Apples product names like iPad are holding up in Chinese courts. Ha, "Chinese courts" (what a farce).
 
Actually it is cheaper to manufacturer in Eastern Europe (Romania / Hungary) where Emerson is moving, Mexico (Intel), Malaysia (IBM / Dell) and India than it is in China. At the moment China has capacity but that will change. Your comments echo a lot of what I said in my previous post. China in my opinion is not a desirable place to do business and I kept a former company out of Chinese factories for years because of issues such as those Apple is having. The currency manipulation is another issue but I don't think in this particular case it is having as much effect as you seem to think. I could be wrong but I think that is really more of an issue in regards to the pricing of American goods rather than wages /manufacturing costs.
Add a comment...