Should Apple be concerned about the people employed by its partners?
Following a stunning quarterly result in which Apple more than doubled its quarterly profit to more than $13.06 billion to become one of the most profitable companies in history, there is yet another report that the company is building its success by ignoring horrific work conditions at the manufacturing plants of some of its suppliers.
In an article published by the New York Times, a former Foxconn manager alleges that "Apple never cared about anything other than increasing product quality and decreasing production cost". Whether one believes that it is Apple's responsibility to be at least interested in the safety of the workers of its suppliers or not, such reports begin to overshadow Apple's success and may damage the company's spotless image. “Workers’ welfare has nothing to do with their interests,” the manager told the Times.
Apple itself shows, at least via its website, increased interest in the well-being of the workers that build tens of millions of iPhones, and millions of iPods and iPads every quarter. The company publishes a list of suppliers and published its guidelines of supplier responsibility. However, there is no information how Apple enforces those guidelines beyond statements that it is saddened by the loss of life and injuries at those factories. The issue of abusing a workforce is slowly gaining traction in more areas, which is documented, for example, by a new casual game that enables players to run a 'Sweatshop'.