Apple … “ it can still keep its ideals, its élan vital, its founding character, its spirit of rebellion” … I’m sorry, Umair, but what Apple stuff have you been smoking? I enjoy your articles as much as any left-leaning bloke that tries to reserve some time for thinking but this is … surreal.
Apple has been on China Labor Watch lists for poor employee conditions since forever. Yeah, it doesn’t exploit its low level workers directly like Amazon does but it rarely makes a move and only when confronted by public opinion, as if it somehow has no idea what its assembly line managers are doing.
Apple has long lost its founding character and spirit of rebellion not long before Steve Jobs died. From a tech point of view this came with pluses and minuses but from a business perspective its been hell. In the last two iterations of its Macbook/Pro lines, Apple lost its affordability and usability (and some say, even design). Add to that the fact that it still lives in its own universe totally parallel to reality (not to mention it’s clamped down on participants in its app ecosystem in a way that slightly reminds me of what Amazon is doing).
If it comes down to dystopian exploitative enterprises, my top comes like this:
- Facebook (tracking, exploiting data, studies on increasing social media addiction, building a monopoly though that’s hardly their fault — it’s mostly down to political regulators, workplace misogyny and so on … mostly down to the last 4 years) => plus side: really nothing
- Amazon (exploiting workers, exploiting sellers, its own parallel justice system within Marketplace, the whole “next headquarters and storage nexus” competition and so on) => plus side: brings home automation in the affordable zone (for me at least), lowers the entry bar in the cloud area for a lot of tech (stimulates innovation for less)
- Apple (exploiting workers, exploiting customers with lower quality and higher price, its universe is incompatible with everything else, poor security for its services, totally lost its Fronde spirit from the old Jobs days) => plus side: strong defender of privacy and net neutrality
- Google (quasy-monopoly on advertising, Google+ debacle, nowadays Dragonfly debacle but there’s a chance that won’t come to anything under public scrutiny, exploitation of phone makers under its mobile OS, workplace misogyny) => plus side: strong defender of net neutrality, provides competition vs Apple on cloud, doesn’t lock app makers in its universe (see Fortnite success)