Apple Addresses Factory Conditions

Mark Gurman,

Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has not been shy on the emailing as of late, has sent out a lengthy letter to all of his employees that is a direct response to these recent reports of factory worker mistreatment.

Cook’s opening: > As a company and as individuals, we are defined by our values. Unfortunately some people are questioning Apple’s values today, and I’d like to address this with you directly. We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It’s not who we are. For the many hundreds of you who are based at our suppliers’ manufacturing sites around the world, or spend long stretches working there away from your families, I know you are as outraged by this as I am. For the people who aren’t as close to the supply chain, you have a right to know the facts.

There is no doubt that Apple is leading the industry in terms of supplier responsibility and transparency. However, in light of recent reports, it is clear that problems still exist. The response by Tim Cook has a hint of “yeah, but we suck less.” The real question is, are U.S. consumers willing to trade their expectations of affordable pricing and immediate availability for improved working conditions? Recent sales figures suggest no.