Apple: A rotten core under a polished brand image
While many people eagerly await Apple Inc.’s next generation iPhones, the company’s public relations team works overtime on damage control to hide the tech giant’s blatant and appalling anti-privacy and anti-social-responsibility practices.
Some of Apple’s ongoing shady business tactics (click each for details) include:
• Consistently disregarding consumer privacy
• Leading the opposition of a CFC-sponsored credit card privacy rights restoration bill
• Exploiting sweatshop labor in China
• Avoiding paying $billions in taxes ($44 billion in the US alone)
• Paying poverty-level wages to store employees
• Fixing e-book prices and fostering an uncompetitive environment
• Using secret police as personal patent enforcers
• Providing customers’ private data to the NSA
• Earning the title of “least green” tech company
Despite a barrage of media reports about its egregious business ethics, Apple keeps riding high. Its stock price soared again in August 2013, bringing the $415 billion multinational corporation into the top spot as the world’s most valuable company.
So how has Apple maintained economic dominance – in light of its negative record toward consumers and employees alike – which should undermine its bottom line?
Apple’s reliance on years of carefully programmed consumer perception could be one reason, even when, for example, its inhumane sweatshop working conditions in China and its devious skirting of tax liabilities here at home grate against our progressive sensibilities and our sense of morals and acceptable business practices.
With its iconic logo, sleek aesthetics, and a promise of creativity, excitement, and greatness embedded in its products, Apple’s slick branding, for many, has become as influential as religion. It has developed a humanistic, beyond-business relationship with some users – even a cult-like relationship – selling a mix of hopes, dreams, and aspirations.
Its flock of devotees even support and defend the company out of blind faith despite its blatant acquiescence of worker mistreatment and rampant financial manipulations.
Consumers have been duped by Apple’s cunning marketing strategy, but as unmistakable facts of its business conduct emerge and its polished veneer wears thin, the stench of its rotten interior wafts to the surface along with a growing awareness of its less-than-stellar character.
Our highest value as consumers is not to worship the shiny Apple brand. Instead, we need to get informed and stop buying into Apple’s vision, and become tech agnostics.
Until this poster child of anti-privacy and anti-social responsibility implements real, verifiable change, we are supporting its deplorable behaviors and its burgeoning bottom line every time we purchase and use Apple products. It’s time consumers hold Apple accountable, demand more stringent legal oversight, and stop supporting it with our hard-earned dollars.