If you’re often part of the iFlock we see milling in front of the Apple Store with their eyes and wallets wide open every time Cupertino increments the version or release number of an iProduct, consider this a wake-up call.
If as the owner of a struggling small business in desperation you’re about to spend four times as much for a “cool” native iPhone app as you would for a cross-platform Mobile Web app that might do twice as much for three times the market, consider this a warning. And if you’re an Occupy Wall Street protester or supporter reading this on an Apple iPhone, iPad or iMac, we sincerely hope that device was lost or liberated then unlocked and donated for your use. Now let us proceed with our observations of the obvious – in this episode, seven ways Apple Inc. is fleecing the American Sheeple:
1. Sending jobs overseas.
“Foxconn has 300,000 to 450,000 workers which are employed in Shenzhen China at the Longhua Science & Technology Park, a cramped, walled campus sometimes referred to as ‘Foxconn City’ or ‘iPod City’… [They] make everything Apple sells… One has to ask the question: How much less money would Apple make if those 400,000+ manufacturing jobs were based in the USA?… What kind of impact would almost a half a million manufacturing jobs have in the U.S. economy?”
2. Slashing domestic wages.
“Outsourcing [by Apple and other greedy global corporations] has become one of the biggest reasons for our economic decline… The desire of corporations to seek the cheapest labor possible has led to less work for Americans, and a larger disparity between the rich and the poor. Over the last twenty years this gap has grown tremendously, and is fueled further by the fact that Americans now take lower wages in an attempt to remain employed.”
3. Selling iProducts with built-in obsolescence.
“The genius factory that Steve Jobs built is just another oligopoly pushing planned obsolescence [e.g. practically non-replaceable batteries] on a buying public that should know better… There’s only so much market growth a premium electronic product can wring out of the industrialized West, and Apple’s marketers know it. They don’t waste time growing the nonexistent iPad market among African bushmen who live beyond the reach of a WiFi signal. Instead, they know the real money is made from selling tiny improvements to existing customers [a.k.a. Apple Zombies] who just have to show off the latest gizmo to friends.”
“Apple’s headquarters are in Cupertino, Calif. By putting an office in Reno, just 200 miles away, to collect and invest the company’s profits, Apple sidesteps state income taxes on some of those gains… California’s corporate tax rate is 8.84 percent. Nevada’s? Zero… Setting up an office in Reno is just one of many legal methods Apple uses to reduce its worldwide tax bill by billions of dollars each year… Apple’s accountants have found legal ways to allocate about 70 percent of its profits overseas, where tax rates are often much lower… Apple has created subsidiaries in low-tax places like Ireland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and the British Virgin Islands – some little more than a letterbox or an anonymous office – that help cut the taxes it pays around the world.”
5. Locking in vendors and customers.
“Many consider Apple to be the most vertically integrated company in the world: All Apple hardware and software are designed in-house, and Apple also runs its own digital content store, iTunes, along with the App Store and iBooks store… Apple has consistently [conspired] to limit consumer choice, creating a situation known as “lock in”. As soon as you start buying stuff from Apple, you’ll find it difficult to move to products made by someone else without losing everything you’ve already paid for… [For example, if] you switch to an Android device from an iPhone with iMessage activated, anyone who’s previously been sending you iMessages will no longer be able to send you texts.”
6. Obstructing Open Web development.
“The dominance of Apple and Google mobile browsers is leading to a situation that’s even worse for Web programming than the former dominance of Internet Explorer, a standards group leader warned… Daniel Glazman, co-chairman of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) group overseeing the formatting and effects standard called Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), said that programmers are overlooking other browsers when they use newer CSS features – even when those other browsers support the features. The result is that those other browsers – Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera, chiefly – might have to essentially masquerade themselves as other browsers. When that happens, the ‘Open Web’ – a programming foundation based on cooperatively created standards rather than proprietary features – is being thrown under the bus.”
7. Exploiting and accelerating technological dehumanization.
“Apple is an American success story… At one point this year, Apple had more money in the bank than the United States itself. It is a literal titan of industry… [Apple co-founder Steve Jobs] had no problem conceiving of himself as a counter-culture hero even as he became a cultural titan and business icon. Jobs’ success at presenting the company as counter-cultural, as much as any design intuition, is one of the most enduring and powerful of Apple’s assets. Apple’s success in retail is owed, ostensibly, to the fact that its products create emotional attachments to users. People (sometimes literally) love their iPhones and iPads. This relationship to technology seems dangerous. It’s dangerous because Apple is not in the love business; it’s in the business business. Apple’s goal is to make money – and lots of it… Apple is not run by a group of longhaired hippies, and it’s primary directive is not to save the world.”