On the one hand it's good to see the burden shared with other companies. Flush with cash as Apple may be, it shouldn't be the only company doing business in China that bears the expense of treating workers with dignity. On the other hand Barnes & Noble taking an additional hit on its margin, where it's already selling tablets at a loss, makes me concerned about the health of the one national storefront retailer of books in the US.
I agree with your point as well, but with one caveat: Apple and Foxconn are both publically traded companies. It is true that private companies don't have to yield to any pressure, whether it is political, personal or politically correct. I know many successful private companies that have invested during downturn, added to their staff during recessions and are still around to talk about it. They defy the market.
As a publically traded companies, Apple and Foxconn answer to their shareholders and the public stock market. If the protests were ineffective, how would we explain Apple hiring an auditor to inspect and report on its partners' facilities? And releasing how much it paid for those inspections? And its well-guarded supplier list?
Likewise, if the protests were ineffective, how do we explain Foxconn's wage increases, and that Foxconn is trading down on the Taiwan stock exchange? Those are awfully big coincidences to be unrelated to protests lodged at Apple.
Similar protests were lobbied aginst Nike, a footwear company, and one of Wal-Mart's clothing lines. In both cases, changes were made in the foreign factories that were contracted by Nike and Walmart.
This isn't socialism, it's capitalism. As far as I know, Nike and Wal Mart are both big players in the apparel and footwear markets, and they are both publically traded. They've also outlasted a bunch of competitors in spite of the changes that were made.
Count me as surprised, but the protests seem to be working.
I think it is very naive and arrogant to assume protests about the low wages paid in third world countries can force private companies in those countries to increase wages above the local prevailing rate. Where does this stop? Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, etc, etc all produce most of the goods consumed in the western world. These changes need to come from within every country, and every company.
In total, the clothing and footwear business is huge when compared to the electronics business. Perhaps we can double or triple the price of all clothing so that the 99% of relatively rich living in the western world can transfer their 'wealth' to folks living on a small fraction of the income we pay our folks in poverty. Socialism sound so good in theory, but it has failed every time it has been tried throughout history. Too bad it has always ended in tragic failure that destroys the middle class and absolutely creams the lower class when the borrowing runs out. A prime example is the inevitable failure of our socialism security plan. The numbers count and the rhetoric is deceiving.
Considering the fact that Foxconn customers are top brands, i think they might probably be the ones who the increase in wages would pass to. Job cuts seem very unlikely where cheap labourers could easily be hired rather than fired.
Well time will tell, but i really doubt Amazon will raise the kind of dust that Apple did.
However, the move by Foxcon could be something to watch.
If wages are going up, I think the only thing they can do is to downsize somehow, they can't pass the cost to their customers because they might loose them, they can't use low quality components because not all their customers would like that either.
@arenasolutions: I can see where your husband is coming from as well, and there is probably a lot of truth behind this perception. Apple is just the biggest target, not the biggest offender.
As to Apple being able to afford it, I also agree. But I doubt Apple's shareholders will. I compare it to the way Democrates and Republicans view taxing the rich: Democrats say they can afford it; Republicans call it "socialism."
My husband is obsessed with Apple . . . loves everything Steve Jobs ever did. In his mind, Apple has been made the scapegoat in this whole situation, considering so many other industry leaders outsource to Foxconn. I can see where he's coming from, and hope other companies get the same light shed on any similar practices.
On the other hand, I think that considering Apple has more money than God, it is in a unique position to lead the way in making a commitment to human rights.
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.