Wednesday, 01 February 2012 10:57

Stuff Tim Cook Says and more on Apple Mythology

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News_3d_Apple_Logo_102When the iPhone 4S launched with Siri it was quickly discovered that you could get Siri to say from rather entertaining things. This prompted the site Sh*t Siri Says and started a short lived phenomenon of people trying everything to get Siri to say something funny or inappropriate. This site is sort of ironic now as we now have enough entertaining and inappropriate comments from Apple CEO Tim Cook to start up another website called, yep you guessed it Sh*t Tim Cook Says.

Tim Cook is a rather entertaining person all on his own. He has recently said that he is happy that the iPad is cannibalizing both MacBook and Microsoft sales (we are still sure he does not know what that means) and a few other colorful quotes that are his attempt at being just like Steve.

After working for both IBM and Compaq he was brought onboard at Apple by Steve Jobs in the position of Senior VP of World Wide Operations. During this time there he (as we have told you before) stopped all of Apple’s manufacturing operations in the US and pushed them all over to China into the arms of Foxconn. This move saved Apple millions of Dollars and helped them to amass the operating capital that they have today.

Now it is funny that at the time Tim Cook was happy to take full responsibility for this act and to put it as one of his career highlights. However, now with consumers waking up to conditions in China (and in Brazil where Foxconn is building another plant) Tim Cook wants to distance himself from this action. In a “leaked” internal memo Tim Cook allegedly stated “any suggestion that we don't care is patently false and offensive to us.”

Yet at the same time other Apple Executives have stated that “all Apple has to do is demand it, and it'll happen.” Now here is where Apple (and Tim Cook in particular) is running into the danger of being impaled on their own sword. One of the arguments (and part of Apple mythology) for using companies like Foxconn is how quickly they can adjust to changes in manufacturing. The legend goes something like this;
Back in the days of the original iPhone Steve Jobs was walking around and using the prototype on a daily basis. He called for a meeting to talk about the new product and pulled the new device out of his pocket. The display was all scratched and difficult to read. Steve Jobs stated that he would not launch a product that was in danger of looking like this after being in someone’s pocket (I guess he never had lint in his pocket… but that is another story). Steve argued that the iPhone would be carried around in someone’s pocket and would get scratched up like this. He wanted a glass screen and he wanted it before launch.
Once again according to Apple mythology the launch time was only six weeks away. However, Apple was able to contact Foxconn and they were able to make the changes in time with nothing more than a request from Apple.

Now anyone that has owned an original iPhone knows that even with the glass you ended up with scratches nicks, and even cracks. So the story, while nice, is more than likely purely a fabrication. However, if Tim Cook and Apple want us and the consumers to believe that they can make this type of device altering change with just a request then they cannot expect the same consumers to believe that they have no control over the conditions that the worker are in.
The situation is so bad right now that there is actually an petition out about this and both Donald Trump and President Obama are pressing Apple to either change the way they do business with Foxconn or move production back to the US. The later move would benefit the US economy greatly (although there is an unconfirmed quote from an Apple exec saying that the US Economy is not Apple’s problem) and would certainly help to smooth some ruffled consumer feathers.

In the end while Tim Cook may be just as megalomaniacal as Steve Jobs, he does not have the strength of personality that Jobs did and also does not have the same level of relationship with the corporate and governmental infrastructure that Jobs did.

As a final note, before anyone comments about other companies using Foxconn for manufacturing it is very important to note that Apple has claimed to have the most influence over Foxconn. They have claimed that Foxconn assembles their products with more skilled workers, better parts, and has a higher QA standard than other manufacturers. If this part of the Apple Mythos is true, then it is time for them to step up and exercise the influence they have there and demand better worker conditions. If they cannot get them (and they truly care) then they need to find another manufacturing partner; it is really that simple.
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Read 1942 times Last modified on Wednesday, 01 February 2012 11:06

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