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CNN investigates Foxconn iPad factory conditions, Apple responds

post #1 of 148
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A new report features a woman who works 60 hours per week assembling iPad components in China, though she has never seen a full iPad in person. In response, Apple said it works to protect "every worker" in its worldwide supply chain.

The report from CNN features a woman called "Miss Chen," whose name was changed to protect her identity. Though she works at a Foxconn factory assembling iPads, she is shown the fully assembled product for the first time in her life by the TV news network.

"Wow, I want it," the 18-year-old student from a village outside of Chongqing, China, said. She is said to labor more than 60 hours per week assembling components for the iPad.

"Chen" told the network that she took the job at Foxconn and was promised "great benefits and little overtime." But once she began working at the Foxconn factory, she claims she was forced into overtime regularly, and found out that only senior employees receive benefits and sick leave.

CNN reached out to Apple for comment on the story. The Cupertino, Calif., company issued the following statement:

"We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. We insist that our suppliers provide safe working conditions, treat workers with dignity and respect, and use environmentally responsible manufacturing products wherever Apple products are made. Our suppliers must live up to these requirements if they want to keep doing business with Apple."

For the interview, the employee was taken to what she said was the first restaurant she has eaten at since she began working at the Foxconn factory. Employees at Foxconn's mega-facilities, like the one in Chengdu where "Chen" is employed, frequently eat, sleep, work and live there.

Reporter Stan Grant was on location at the front gate of Foxconn's Chengdu plant, though he was not allowed to enter the facility. He was told by "Chen" that she does not feel Foxconn cares about her.

The CNN story is the latest recent report to attack Apple and its relationship with Foxconn for assembly of its products. Late last month, The New York Times published a pair of stories profiling Apple's overseas manufacturing operations, examining the "human costs" that go into the iPad and other devices.








An anonymous former Apple executive who spoke with the newspaper said that the company has known about labor abuses in overseas factories for years. But they said nothing has been done because "the system works for us."

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook responded to those claims with an e-mail calling them "patently false and offensive." The letter issued to employees noted that Apple will continue to scrutinize its supply chain and will inevitably find more issues, but said that the company will never turn a blind eye to problems. "On this you have my word," he said.

Last month, a number of Foxconn workers at a factory that produces Microsoft's Xbox 360 gaming console threatened mass suicide if working conditions and wages were not improved. The company eventually settled a dispute with the protesting workers.

Apple recently released its annual supplier responsibility report, revealing there were fewer cases of underage labor at its overseas partners in 2011, with no intentional underage hirings. A total of 229 audits were conducted throughout the supply chain in 2011, an 80 percent increase from 2010.

Apple also boasted in January that it became the first technology company to join the Fair Labor Association. Apple's participation in the FLA means the company has agreed to have the association independently assess facilities in its supply chain and report detailed findings on its website.

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post #2 of 148
Its all too easy to point the finger at these factories in China and demand change, yet totally ignore the USA prison manufacturing slave labor on their doorstep.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

post #3 of 148
I put in 60 hours in my job all the time in a week. That is normal practice.
post #4 of 148
I have to work 60 hours a week as a matter of course, receive no compensation for the overtime, no health insurance, no paid vacation, no sick leave. I hope CNN will come interview me next.
post #5 of 148
If she was promised it and wasn't given it, why didn't she quit. Or complain to the government, the courts or whatever.

No, she put up with it. Why, who knows? But if these folks have an issue with their treatment they need to stay up for themselves. If not doing that is just part of the culture then the culture needs to change. If the laws allow it then they need to get the laws changed.

And CNN etc need to realize that Apple is one of only something like 50 tech companies that do business with Foxconn and if you look at unit counts, those other 49 do way more business than Apple. Apple's higher prices just cause a higher dollar amount on the final figure. Where are the news stories about them. Where are the petitions. Where's the uproar about the XBox protest where more folks threatened to jump in that single incident than have jumped or tried in the past 5-7 years. No one is looking at Microsoft's factories, etc.

It's great that people want Apple to clean up the US, clean up China etc. But this is not an Apple issue to handle alone. There are other companies and also governments that should be involved. So where are they

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post #6 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

Its all too easy to point the finger at these factories in China and demand change, yet totally ignore the USA prison manufacturing slave labor on their doorstep.

Do the crime, do the time. I don't feel bad for those who are in prison and worked like dogs. They did something to get there, didn't they? I would rather see them work than sit in jail and get room and board on my tax dollars after they were jailed for a crime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sblanford View Post

I put in 60 hours in my job all the time in a week. That is normal practice.

Same here. Not every week, but often enough. Part of my job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

If she was promised it and wasn't given it, why didn't she quit. Or complain to the government, the courts or whatever.

No, she put up with it. Why, who knows? But if these folks have an issue with their treatment they need to stay up for themselves. If not doing that is just part of the culture then the culture needs to change. If the laws allow it then they need to get the laws changed.

And CNN etc need to realize that Apple is one of only something like 50 tech companies that do business with Foxconn and if you look at unit counts, those other 49 do way more business than Apple. Apple's higher prices just cause a higher dollar amount on the final figure. Where are the news stories about them. Where are the petitions. Where's the uproar about the XBox protest where more folks threatened to jump in that single incident than have jumped or tried in the past 5-7 years. No one is looking at Microsoft's factories, etc.

Exactly.

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post #7 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

Its all too easy to point the finger at these factories in China and demand change, yet totally ignore the USA prison manufacturing slave labor on their doorstep.

The folk in prisons have demonstrated that they "Don't play well with others" - hence, they are confined to a cell and treated like animals. Why? Becuase, left to their own devices, they act like animals. Many seem to enjoy this - because they keep going back.

If you want a pity-party - why not go visit with their victims? Those are the people who deserve pity.
post #8 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by radiospace View Post

I have to work 60 hours a week as a matter of course, receive no compensation for the overtime, no health insurance, no paid vacation, no sick leave. I hope CNN will come interview me next.

We should bring those jobs here to the U.S.!!!!
Apple can afford to bring those jobs here to the US. I am not faulting them for doing well..I support Apple by buying their products. But with billions in cash reserves they should bring those jobs to the U.S.

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post #9 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hodar View Post

The folk in prisons have demonstrated that they "Don't play well with others" - hence, they are confined to a cell and treated like animals. Why? Becuase, left to their own devices, they act like animals. Many seem to enjoy this - because they keep going back.

If you want a pity-party - why not go visit with their victims? Those are the people who deserve pity.

I agree! Those that say that probably would not want them living next door....or having contact with their families. If you want to see context visit the VICTIMS families and see what their opinions are...........

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post #10 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

We should bring those jobs here to the U.S.!!!!

Those jobs are never going to come back.

If they did, we'd have to pay more for Apple products. Its all OK when you are spending other people's money, eh? If you were an Apple shareholder you would want the highest possible profit, and if you were an Apple customer you would want the lowest possible price.

Nobody gets anything good if those jobs come back to the US.
post #11 of 148
Who died and made CNN et al the arbiter on what are fair labor practices in China? If the employee interviewed felt she was being mistreated, why is she still working there? The obvious implication being her alternatives were less desirable.
post #12 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by I am a Zither Zather Zuzz View Post

Those jobs are never going to come back.

If they did, we'd have to pay more for Apple products. Its all OK when you are spending other people's money, eh? If you were an Apple shareholder you would want the highest possible profit, and if you were an Apple customer you would want the lowest possible price.

Nobody gets anything good if those jobs come back to the US.

I disagree....for an American company they should base their jobs in the US. It does everything for them and the US......As far as profit goes. Apple has more cash than they know what to do with. At some point American corporations as a whole need to stop offshoring jobs. I do not fault Apple or any other copr for doing well. But you can't argue and say that would hurt them...as it would not slow down sales at all. I agree it would hurt the bottom line by either raising prices slightly or lowering profit margins

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post #13 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by radiospace View Post

I have to work 60 hours a week as a matter of course, receive no compensation for the overtime, no health insurance, no paid vacation, no sick leave. I hope CNN will come interview me next.

I bet you get more than 83c an hour though, which is what she gets.
post #14 of 148
Apple could address this issue very easily by mandating in their supplier contracts a maximum working week and a minimum hourly wage. Apple could easily survive with a bit less profit every quarter. They don't do anything meaningful with their cash pile anyway so why not give a little back to give these people a better life.
post #15 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by radiospace View Post

I have to work 60 hours a week as a matter of course, receive no compensation for the overtime, no health insurance, no paid vacation, no sick leave. I hope CNN will come interview me next.

Poor you. How do you survive on $1 an hour?
post #16 of 148
$1 an hour would constitute 17% pay rise over her actual wage
post #17 of 148
This is not just Apple but this is Typical in China. Most of the workers leave their families for months on end to go work in these factories.

This one girl I know works six days a week. But she's happy.. She does order processing online and offline. I don't know how she does it but she does
post #18 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by radiospace View Post

I have to work 60 hours a week as a matter of course, receive no compensation for the overtime, no health insurance, no paid vacation, no sick leave. I hope CNN will come interview me next.

Let's keep the downward spiral going and try to compete with them in order to bring those jobs back: let's go for 80 hours a week at the lowest wage possible, sleeping in company dorm rooms, eating company meals, no benefits, and no time off for family life or vacations. All the while praying we don't get cancer or some other illness which makes it impossible to work.

And in our spare waking hours, we might catch a glimpse of the sons & daughters of the people who own the company we work for on reality TV shows flaunting the trust funds they inherited off our backs.

Welcome to the future...
 
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post #19 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun, UK View Post

Foxconn could address this issue very easily by mandating a maximum working week and a minimum hourly wage. Foxconn could easily survive with a bit less profit every quarter. They don't do anything meaningful with their cash pile anyway so why not give a little back to give these people a better life.

Funny it's also true this way.
post #20 of 148
I wonder how many CNN reporters have been awoken in the middle of the night, had to pack their bags and travel to all points in the world to cover a story?

Watching the disasters in Louisiana, Haiti, etc., one wonders how much overtime they were compensated for while people were clamoring for help.

Interesting one was the "Montana Vermiculite Contamination" which I don't think CNN ever covered.

As for "Buy American," ever wonder why the news media, in particular is comprised of a somewhat disproportional number of non-Americans in primary news positions or called in a world experts, even for US based issues.

Actually, I don't wonder about it as much as I did, having researched public attitudes studies that have demonstrated time after time that the media are only perceived to be as untrustworthy as lawyers and politicians. All three at the bottom of the barrel so-to-speak. Hmm. Just dawned on me…CNN and the like are obviously trying to change there image hiring personnel out of the country

But then, one has to imaging how many gold medals the US would really have gotten if there Olympic/ College organizations were prevented from recruiting foreign athletes and fast tracking their citizenship status.
post #21 of 148
I'm tired of these articles, unfairly singling out Apple merely because it's the biggest name in the game -- and (unfortunately) Apple needs to nip this in the bud now before it snowballs out of control.

I abhor Chinese labor practices, and try to avoid "Made in China" when I can. But that's no reason to single out Apple for criticism; in fact (as few of these articles point out) Apple is one of the few companies actively trying to improve its Chinese working conditions. Do the NY Times and CNN, et al, really think that their shoes Made in China, and clothes Made in China, and other electronics, toys, dog food, etc. Made in China is made any differently than these working conditions?

Even though these poor working conditions are endemic to China, there have been enough of these stories now that they could take on a life of their own and unfairly impact Apple's reputation. Apple needs to work fast, now, to nip these in the bud and shed light on the overall Chinese working situation.

And by the way, dear CNN, where are all the Chinese workers who are thrilled to have these jobs? The NY Times received many responses for actual Chinese workers criticizing their articles on Apple, noting that the factory working conditions are still better - and the pay higher - than what they'd known before. Anyone can find one disgruntled worker; a true news organization would do a comprehensive investigation and detail the bigger picture.

... but wait, that wouldn't generate hype-filled headlines and drive sales now, would it.
post #22 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post

$1 an hour would constitute 17% pay rise over her actual wage

All of which is totally irrelevant. I receive much less pay than an equivalent position of someone working in New York. The cost of living here is far cheaper than in New York. I wouldn't expect them to be the same. I doubt seriously a cot in her factory dorm costs her $1000+ a month either.

The simple fact is that she isn't in some forced labor camp. She chose to work there, and could leave at any time. If their local labor laws allow such, then they need to change those laws, labor will be more expensive, and the cost of the products they produce will go up as a result, but somehow implying that these conditions and the local laws are Apple's fault is a bit ridiculous and reeks of emotional journalism.

As far as her part, if she doesn't like it, quit and go to one of those other excellent factories that offer far better benefits and a safer work environment than Foxconn.
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post #23 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

Its all too easy to point the finger at these factories in China and demand change, yet totally ignore the USA prison manufacturing slave labor on their doorstep.

Sorry for being so dense. But huh? USA prison manufacturing slave label on their doorstep? Can you please elaborate?
post #24 of 148
I do look to Apple to lead the way to not only the best designed products but also safe and fair conditions for all their workers and of course, including the subcontractors who build all the products. It fits with the image that they want people to associate with them and is just good business, business that they can afford. That said, it's got to be extremely hard to continually ramp the production on all these items that the world is clamoring for ... it seems inevitable that especially in a wild west country like China that shortcuts will be made - the combination is a recipe for all sorts of abuses. Apple just has to be diligent and unrelenting in their oversight and pressure on Foxconn and others.

I'm very curious as to future moves by both Apple and Foxconn in the next five years if iPad demand is anything like what they project. What with the new factory in Brazil by Foxconn, will they team with Apple to erect others in places like Mexico, India or the Mid-East? (As for the US, it could happen too someday, but be so automated as to require minimal hand labor.)

Ironic that Jobs was so proud of his California factories and obviously dragged his feet before finally off-shoring them, or rather sub-contracting the work out. Wasn't Apple the last domestic computer maker to do so? I think the initial iPod production and the arrival of Tim Cook brought all that to a head.
post #25 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

If she was promised it and wasn't given it, why didn't she quit. Or complain to the government, the courts or whatever.

No, she put up with it. Why, who knows? But if these folks have an issue with their treatment they need to stay up for themselves. If not doing that is just part of the culture then the culture needs to change. If the laws allow it then they need to get the laws changed.

And CNN etc need to realize that Apple is one of only something like 50 tech companies that do business with Foxconn and if you look at unit counts, those other 49 do way more business than Apple. Apple's higher prices just cause a higher dollar amount on the final figure. Where are the news stories about them. Where are the petitions. Where's the uproar about the XBox protest where more folks threatened to jump in that single incident than have jumped or tried in the past 5-7 years. No one is looking at Microsoft's factories, etc.

It's great that people want Apple to clean up the US, clean up China etc. But this is not an Apple issue to handle alone. There are other companies and also governments that should be involved. So where are they

You say why didn't she quit? Same reason you dont quit when ur boss pisses all over you.
Its funny how people who have cushy lives can freely criticize the less fortunate. They line them up at foxconn like they are slaves and pack them in dorms with horrible living conditions afterwards. Why didn't she quit? because has to make a living dumbass!
post #26 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by irnchriz View Post

Its all too easy to point the finger at these factories in China and demand change, yet totally ignore the USA prison manufacturing slave labor on their doorstep.

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post #27 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierrajeff View Post

I'm tired of these articles, unfairly singling out Apple merely because it's the biggest name in the game -- and (unfortunately) Apple needs to nip this in the bud now before it snowballs out of control.

Agreed. Even though I argue against the nonsense which expects everyone to work the same way as people do in these factories, I also argue that it's bigger than any one company.

It's essentially a problem with the basis for the lifestyle we've come to expect in the western world -- we want to be able to get everything for as cheap as possible, but we also want to be paid well enough to afford everything we want. Unfortunately, that logic just doesn't work.

So yes, many of these narrow articles stink of investors trying to manipulate the stock market for their own gain. People should be made aware of these problems, but also given the broader picture.
 
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post #28 of 148
Stupid, tabloid news. That kind of reports only wants to get more visits to their webpage and TV ratings with misinformed material.

Never saw an iPad before? give me a break. With that start you know the report is plain wrong. Seems like an 80's scandal.

Of course, every news that says "Apple" is something that sells great these days.

Just stop already NYT and CNN. Even NYT should be ashamed of that reports they have done recently. Apple has been always a supporter of their Newspaper and Web Page and doesn't deserve that kind of treatment.

Damn!
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post #29 of 148
News flash: CNN takes Apple to task because it cares deeply about exploited workers like "Miss Chen."
post #30 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

We should bring those jobs here to the U.S.!!!!
Apple can afford to bring those jobs here to the US. I am not faulting them for doing well..I support Apple by buying their products. But with billions in cash reserves they should bring those jobs to the U.S.

Listen, you should have realized this by now. It's about tectonic shifts in economics and technology that no company or nation can reverse. Where were you in the 1970s when all television manufacturing left the U.S for Japan? Why did you say nothing when all VCR and video camera manufacturing was established in Asia?

There is an ecology in technology and manufacturing, and in the making of microelectronics it is all in Asia. You can't establish that system here, get it? Any more than the Silicon Valley system of venture technology and design, including software, can be transferred to China!

If you America-first people do not begin to see the plain truth in front of your face, you are obstructing the retention of what skills we do have in the West. Wise up! It ain't about Apple's cash recovering jobs that were never in the US to begin with!

Although I wouldn't be surprised if they used that cash to fund an industry here that has never been seen on Earth before, like they're doing with Siri and the iPhone, and iBooks and the iPad. (Largest software group at Apple: Siri, soon to be much larger, guaranteed.)

I hope I never see this knee-jerk post of yours again. Emphasis is not on "knee."
post #31 of 148
Tons of companies use Foxconn for manufacturing:

Acer Inc. (Taiwan)
Amazon.com (United States)
Apple Inc. (United States)
ASRock (Taiwan)
Asus (Taiwan)
Barnes & Noble (United States)
Cisco (United States)
Dell (United States)
EVGA Corporation (United States)
Hewlett-Packard (United States)
Intel (United States)
IBM (United States)
Lenovo (China)
Microsoft (United States)
MSI (Taiwan)
Motorola (United States)
Netgear (United States)
Nintendo (Japan)
Nokia (Finland)
Panasonic (Japan)
Philips (Netherlands)
Samsung (South Korea)
Sharp (Japan)
Sony Ericsson (Japan/Sweden)
Toshiba (Japan)
Vizio (United States)
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post #32 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


That perfectly satisfies the criteria I outlined in my previous post for America to be able to compete:

Quote:
let's go for 80 hours a week at the lowest wage possible, sleeping in company dorm rooms, eating company meals, no benefits, and no time off for family life or vacations

Just exchange the term "company" with "prison".
 
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post #33 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

We should bring those jobs here to the U.S.!!!!

What's "these" jobs? Assembly? Shipping? The equivalent of a few dollars worth of value-added per product that someone without even a high-school equivalency can perform?

Where do you think the value-added components are still going to be coming from?
post #34 of 148
Some Foxconn workers are apparently whiners. They had better get back to work so that they can get busy and assemble my iPad 3. The conditions there are just fine. So they work 60 hours? Big fucking deal, plenty of people work more than that. Some ignorant people like to mention their suicide rate, which happens to be less than the general population, that's awesome for them! Congratulations to them, they are very fortunate.

These people can also thank Foxconn that they're not working in some rice field someplace, I bet that's more of a back breaking job than working for Foxconn which also probably pays a bit more than standing in some rice field.

So in conclusion, quit your whining, get back to work and assemble my new iPad 3, comprende?

If you don't like it, then quit your job. Whining will get you nowhere.
post #35 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

I disagree....for an American company they should base their jobs in the US. It does everything for them and the US......As far as profit goes. Apple has more cash than they know what to do with. At some point American corporations as a whole need to stop offshoring jobs. I do not fault Apple or any other copr for doing well. But you can't argue and say that would hurt them...as it would not slow down sales at all. I agree it would hurt the bottom line by either raising prices slightly or lowering profit margins

It's not just about cost. It's about flexibility. Did you not read about the interview that Jobs had with Obama? Manufacturing of the scale done in China simply cannot be done in the US any more - at any price.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/bu...pagewanted=all
post #36 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by auxio View Post

That perfectly satisfies the criteria I outlined in my previous post for America to be able to compete:

Just exchange the term "company" with "prison".

The difference is Foxconn workers have the option to leave when they want. Of course, having the option doesn't mean it's a viable one. I certainly will never understand how poor life must be for these people that they choose to work at Foxconn.

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post #37 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by geekdad View Post

I disagree....for an American company they should base their jobs in the US. It does everything for them and the US......As far as profit goes. Apple has more cash than they know what to do with. At some point American corporations as a whole need to stop offshoring jobs. I do not fault Apple or any other copr for doing well. But you can't argue and say that would hurt them...as it would not slow down sales at all. I agree it would hurt the bottom line by either raising prices slightly or lowering profit margins

WAY off base - for many, many reasons.

1. Apple isn't an American company any more. It is a global company in every sense of the word.

2. Apple doesn't set the working conditions at Foxconn. They do, however, audit and insist on improvements - unlike the entire rest of the electronics market.

3. Even if China's factories were shut down, Apple would not be manufacturing in the U.S. Between liability, environmental, and health and safety laws, as well as taxes and infrastructure costs, there's no way they could.

4. The fact that wages are lower in China than in the U.S. is a useless figure. Cost of living is different, too.

5. If we want to apply U.S. standards to China, why don't we apply French or German or Dutch standards to the U.S.? Our work week is longer than in any of those countries and we get less vacation time. So CNN, like almost every other American company, is 'enslaving' their workers - at least compared to European rules.

The entire issue is ridiculous.
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post #38 of 148
Let's look at the positives here - it's not many years ago that Apple were so small that nobody gave the remotest crap what they did.

This comes with the territory of being a big company. Nike went through it a few years ago, McDonalds are constantly being watched etc. On the one hand, it's not especially fair that big companies end up being held to a higher standard than others, but I quite like the idea that it might raise standards.......
post #39 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJ4Ev3r View Post

Tons of companies use Foxconn for manufacturing:

Yes, but none of the others are the largest corporation on the planet by market cap, so they have absolutely no responsibility for the condition of the workers in a country over whose laws they have no control. Apple does, however.
post #40 of 148
Google, Amazon, HP, Dell, Samsung and others are innocent as the driven snow.

China didn't even exist until Steve Jobs invented it.
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