Last year it was Wired magazine, reporting on allegedly inhumane working conditions at Foxconn, which makes iPads and iPhones for Apple at two factories in China. But it was two stories last month in the New York Times, and a broadcast on public radio's This American Life, that apparently led 250,000 customers to turn in complaints last week to the world's most valuable company. After weeks of reports about sub-standard working conditions at suppliers in China, Apple has initiated an independent audit of 90 percent of the factories. Inspections reportedly began today. In the US, protesters admit they still use Apple products. Will the audit provide reassurance that the company is doing right at the same time it's doing well? Why is Apple being singled out when many other American tech companies use the same suppliers?
NOTE: After this To the Point discussion aired, This American Life discovered that its program, Mr. Daisey Goes to the Apple Factory, was partially fabricated, and has since dedicated an entire program to detailing the errors Daisey's story about visiting Foxconn. You can listen to TAL's episode, Retraction, to learn more.
Lawrence Dignan, ZDNet (@ldignan)
Adam Minter, Bloomberg World View (@AdamMinter)
Nancy Koehn, Harvard Business School (@nancykoehn )
Mike Daisey, author and performer