Apple Isn’t The Only Company at Foxconn To Criticize

During the past few weeks it has become as fashionable to hate on Apple as it has been to own an Apple product.

But, unless you’re doing your due diligence on every gadget in your bag, dorm or home, you might want to reconsider hating on a single company.

In case you missed it, The New York Times, Nightline and others have been investigating Apple’s factories in Foxconn for labor issues and violations. The scrutiny is not new, but the new allegations and investigations miss the bigger picture.

Apple Foxconn Worker

Foxconn worker in China, working on an Apple product.

Noah Kravitz of TechnoBuffalo raises some interesting questions in his post, Hating on Apple is Stupid, Unless You’re Gonna Hate on Everyone, about the scrutiny we place on Apple over the rest of the huge tech companies, like Samsung, Amazon, and Nintendo to name a few, who use Foxconn to assemble the gadgets you love.

Kravitz surmises that the hatred of Apple is linked to the company’s record stock prices and insane sales numbers or, possibly, by a prevalence of Apple customers who, “fancy themselves the kind of people who themselves care about Taiwanese factory workers they’ve never met.”

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When it comes down to it, Kravitz hits the nail on the head;

If you’re really offended by what you’ve heard about the way a company does business, don’t do business with them. But make sure you vet their competitors before you go doing business with them,either. You might not approve of conditions in the Foxconn plants that make iPad 2s, but are you sure you’re okay with how Kindle Fire assemblers are treated? What about the plants that churn out Galaxy Tabs, are they better? Or Transformer Prime – the Prime assembly lines are cool, right? Not sure? Better not buy any of those tablets, then.

In no way is Noah Kravitz, or myself, saying that labor violations and work conditions at Foxconn don’t matter. Rather, raising the point that Apple isn’t the only company profiting from affordable Foxconn labor.

When it comes down to it, consumers are buying expensive gadgets from extremely complex global supply chains with transactions across multiple borders.

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Figuring out the most ethical, human or environmentally friendly gadget to buy can be a daunting task, a task not every shopper wants to deal with or worry about. Before you go out and buy a non Apple product because of the treatment of workers, you should check out how your Kindle Fire or Galaxy Note 10.1 is being made.

Comments

  1. yeahright says

    Apple is the company making the largest profit margins on products made at Foxconn.  So I guess they should stop the cycle of telling these plants how much they will pay them for a part (which is an absolute rock bottom price) and then reducing that price the next year by a specific percentage (because the factory should be more efficient after a year).

    I’ve seen HP server parts stamped that they were made in a Foxconn plant too, so they really do make a lot of products.  

    However, need I remind you that the only company with the record shattering profits is Apple.  So to all you smug Apple “I’m different” owners, you are just like everybody else.  You phone was made in China by Foxconn for the same labor rates as everybody else’s phone but you paid Apple a hefty margin.  And none of that margin went to make the world better.  It went to making Apple’s pockets even deeper.

  2. Ant M says

    Great article, and spot on to put some perspective into the issue. But it is in the knowledge that Apple has record share prices, greatest market share in sales and are producing a product in the same factory as is cheaper conpetitors that makes this Apple brand lover think that the organisation should be doing something to make a better world. They could lead the market in ethical trading. They have the bargaining power and they are just using it for greed.

  3. 100 Watt Warlock says

    “But, unless you’re doing your due diligence on every gadget in your bag, dorm or home, you might want to reconsider hating on a single company.”

    you’re using the term ‘due diligence’ wrong.

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