#1 The Nature of the Beast
You don’t become the most powerful electronics company in the world without doing some dirty work. You can’t have $150 billion in cash without cutting some corners. It’s hard to keep your prices reasonable without exploiting people.
I present: Apple Inc.
#2 They Exploit Cheap Labor in China
For optimal profit margin Apple must produce the iPhones for cheap. Since Apple only uses top quality electronic parts, the difference is made up in cheap labor. The NYT reports that workers at Foxconn, the former manufacturer of the iPhone, make $22 for a twelve hour shift, and are often forced to work even longer hours. There were so many suicides in the on-site dorms where the workers live that Foxconn had to install nets on the sides of the buildings.
#3 They Recently Shifted Production Away from Foxconn….to an Even Worse Company
Foxconn got bad press for exploiting workers so they had to increase worker salary, which means they had to charge Apple more, which means Apple took its business elsewhere. Enter Pegatron. Apple’s new Chinese partner, since taking on Apple’s business, has a .8% profit margin and is facing worker’s rights violations.
#4 They Pollute Horrendously
In 2011 Apple was responsible for putting 23.1 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. And while Apple says they’re working diligently to decrease their carbon footprint, their emissions rose 34% in 2012.
#5 They Sell iPhones WAAAAAAY Above Cost
IHS Inc. reports that an iPhone costs $207 to manufacture. They sell them to wireless carriers for around $580. The number varies by model, but overall Apple usually sells at a 49-58% markup, while the industry average is closer to 30%.
#6 They Screw Over Wireless Carriers, Who Then Screw You Over
Wireless carriers know they can either offer their customers the iPhone, or see them leave for a company that does. Apple knows this too, so they force the carriers to sell the iPhone for $200 after selling it to them for $580 (a $380 loss). The providers’ are forced to make up the difference by raising rates on your text, calling and data. Verizon recently eliminated unlimited data and charges heavily for overages, and AT&T increased data prices by $5 per month.
#7 They Haven’t Really Innovated in Years
In 2007 Apple released the revolutionary iPhone. It’s been six years and it’s the same except thinner, faster, and with a better camera. Oh the iPad? It’s not new. The iPad was what an engineer originally brought to Steve Jobs, who told him to make it smaller and give it phone capabilities.
#8 They Use Conflict Minerals in Their Products
The iPhone and other Apple products have the conflict mineral Coltan in them. Coltan is heat resistant, and ideal for transmitting electric charges. This mineral is rare, expensive (a mine can be worth hundreds of millions of US dollars), and prevalent in war torn Congo. Since 1998, 5-7 million people have died in an ongoing civil war being fought, largely, over control of the mines. The mineral can be found in most electronics company’s products, but Apple is the world’s biggest and should start the trend of boycotting conflict minerals.
#9 They Let the Government Spy on You
A document leaked to The Guardian details an NSA program called Prism that legally peeps in on your calls, texts, web habits, and location. Obviously the wireless providers are the main culprits, but given the billions of dollars in business Apple does with companies like Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon, the chances of Apple being in the loop are nearly 100%.
#10 They Helped Kill the Record Industry
Since iTunes opened, record sales have dropped by 50% across the board. Borders and Tower Records have closed, as have countless thousands of independent record stores. This has forced artists into selling their albums on iTunes, where Apple takes 30% and the record company 60%, leaving the creator of the content with around 10% of its sales.
#11 They Don’t Let You Turn off Your Phone
Even when an iPhone is “dead” it’s still traceable, which is why Find My iPhone works no matter what. Also, even when not on data or Wifi, satellites can pinpoint your iPhone’s location. On top of that, the new M7 chip makes tracking your exact movements and speed possible. But you can always just take out the battery. Oh that’s right, no you can’t.
#12 They Only Just Started Giving to Charity
As soon as Steve Jobs returned to Apple he discontinued their charity program, saying it’d be started up again when they were more profitable. Well, it wasn’t until Tim Cook’s reign as CEO of the biggest company in the world, that Apple donated $100 million dollars. While generous, it hardly makes up for the decade of giving nothing, and still is 1/15th of what Berkshire Hathway donated in the same year.
#13 They Patent Every Possible Thing, Stifling Innovation
Apple recently sued Samsung for a half-billion dollars claiming Samsung copied the iPhone’s front face appearance, rectangular shape, and icon grid. The worst part is: they won. Competition is great for the consumer as it drives down prices and spurs innovation, but difficult when Apple claims ownership over the rectangle.
#14 They Try to Manipulate You
Remember insecure teens: Hip sweater-wearing Justin Long is a Mac, and fat balding businessman is a PC. We’re already judged on our clothes, body, car, house, and school and, thanks to Apple, now we’re judged on which word processor we use and the color of our headphones.
#15 They Don’t Pay Much in Taxes
Apple keeps most of its money in an Irish subsidiary company created to avoid the US government’s taxes. Apple is only taxed by the US on domestic and South American sales, although their CEO Tim Cook told congress there are ways of avoiding even that, which Apple isn’t utilizing out of patriotic duty. Thanks Tim!
#16 They Don’t Play Well With Others
Apple did away with the pre-installed YouTube app, started their own maps to combat Google’s, and demanded Amazon pay a percentage of all sales through its app. The only one they hurt was you. Apple Maps is a disaster, you now have to go onto Amazon’s website to buy stuff, and download the Google Maps and YouTube apps separate (they’re among the most successful apps, anyways).
#17 They Rip You Off on Accessories
There isn’t information on the markup Apple applies to their $40-$50 cases, but similar ones can be found on eBay for $5-$10. They pedaled different speakers, alarm clocks, cords ect., then changed the plug shape and now charge $29 for a converter so you can keep using the products you bought.