Big Daddy had to Save Little Apple

4. August 2013

Date: 04-08-2013
Source: The Wall Street Journal
Subject: Obama Administration Vetoes Ban on Sale of Some Apple iPhones, iPads

Concern Cited Over Patent Holders Gaining ‘Undue Leverage’

The Obama administration on Saturday vetoed a U.S. trade body’s ban on the import and sale of some Apple Inc. iPhones and iPads, a rare move that upends a legal victory for smartphone rival Samsung Electronics Co.

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman made the decision to veto the ban on the Apple devices, citing concerns about patent holders gaining “undue leverage” as well as potential harm to consumers and competitive conditions in the U.S. economy.

He said Samsung could continue to pursue its patent rights through the courts.

The action marked the first time since 1987 that a presidential administration had vetoed an import ban ordered by the U.S. International Trade Commission.

The ITC in June had ordered the import ban and an accompanying cease-and-desist order affecting some older-model Apple iPhones and iPads after finding the products infringed a Samsung patent.

The ban raised concerns among U.S. antitrust enforcers and touched off intense lobbying of the Obama administration by technology companies with opposing positions on the issue.

Critics of the ITC order questioned whether companies should be able to block rival products in cases involving patents that have been deemed to be essential to creating products based on key technologies overseen by industry standard-setting groups. Read the rest of this entry »

The real cost of an iPhone 5: life in the Foxconn factory

13. September 2012

Date: 13-09-2012
Source: The Guardian

An undercover reporter joined thousands on the production line battling to meet deadlines for iPhone 5

Any committed foodie will wax lyrical about the value of provenance – the integrity of the food, the care and craft behind creating it. How long, then, before this middle-class preoccupation with quality, traceability and plain goodness of the things we buy extends into technology?

We suspend our ethics when Apple launches a new phone. That unboxing is a virgin moment, as if the phone morphed inside the box from the tiny sparkling seed implanted by Jonathan Ive. Slide your finger through the  Designed In California seal and your phone takes its first breath…

It’s a supreme piece of packaging design, but the reality is far from an immaculate conception. Foxconn, the Chinese manufacturer of iPhone, has faced a steady stream of criticism and concerns from poor working conditions to suicides.

Now the Shanghai Evening Post has published a detailed diary of working life at the Foxconn production plant by undercover journalist Wang Yu. He lasted 10 days in the plant, seven of which were in training, and three on shifts “marking placement points on the back plate”. Foxconn recruited 20,000 new workers in March to meet its production targets for iPhone 5, and has to produce 57m in one year, Wang’s report stated.

No doubt much of the nuance has been lost in this translation by, (who bafflingly signed off from this piece by saying how excited they were about seeing the new iPhone 5) but Wang complains of having to work on 3,000 phones during a 10-hour shift, paid only 27 yuan ($4.27) for two hours’ overtime. Read the rest of this entry »

Will Apple’s Focus on Profits Let Its Rivals Jump Ahead?

11. September 2012

Date: 11-09-2012
Source: Technology Review

Pocketing profits instead of investing in innovation is how market leaders turn into has-beens.

As golden geese go, it’s pretty hard to beat the iPhone. In the five years since Apple introduced the first model, the company has enjoyed booming sales and ever-increasing profit margins. Revenues this year will top $150 billion, six times what they were in 2007. Apple’s profit margin over the past nine months (the first three quarters in its 2012 fiscal year) was an astounding 28 percent, double its level in 2007.

But the real miracle is that Apple has kept growing, and widening its profit margins, even as it has been eclipsed by its biggest rival, Google’s Android system. In 2010, the two platforms were about even in terms of market share. But today Android held four times as much share as Apple. Read the rest of this entry »

Giant Apple : Will Apple become the first trillion-dollar company?

21. August 2012

Date: 21-08-2012
Source: The Economist

EARLIER this year, there was plenty of speculation that Apple’s stock had entered bubble territory. Investors apparently think otherwise: on August 20th the firm’s share price hit $665, giving it a market capitalisation of more than $623 billion—and making it the most valuable listed company of all time. This record was previously held by another tech behemoth, Microsoft, whose market capitalisation reached $616 billion in December 1999. Although in real terms Microsoft still holds the crown (in today’s dollars, its record market capitalisation would be around $850 billion), no other technology company has ever carried as much weight as Apple currently does in the global equity markets: it accounts for 4.8% of the S&P 500, 3.7% of America’s stockmarket and 1.3% of the global equity market. Some bank analysts have started to report America’s corporate earnings without Apple, because the firm’s inclusion skews results. Bulls reckon that the price could go even higher—and that Apple could become the world’s first public company with a trillion-dollar market capitalisation.

Apple becomes most valuable company of all time

20. August 2012

Date: 20-08-2012
Source: Reuters

Apple Inc became the most valuable public company of all time on Monday when the combined value of its shares exceeded a previous record set by Microsoft Corp.
Apple traded at $664.74 to give it a market value of $623.14 billion, above the record set by Microsoft of $620.58 billion reached in 1999 at the height of the tech bubble, according to data provided by S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Apple has been the biggest public company in the world since overtaking Exxon Mobil to reach the number one spot last year, but Monday’s move means that it has now entered the record books as the biggest company ever.

At Monday’s close of trade, Apple shares need to settle at $657.50 for the record to be set on a closing basis as well, according to S&P Dow Jones indices. The shares were trading 2 percent higher to $661.15 at around 1.19 p.m. EDT (1719 GMT). Read the rest of this entry »

U.S. Sues Apple, Publishers Over E-Book Pricing

12. April 2012

Date: 11-04-2012
Source: The Wall Street Journal

NEW YORK—The U.S. filed an antitrust lawsuit Wednesday against Apple Inc. and five of the nation’s largest publishers, alleging they conspired to limit competition for the pricing of e-books.

The lawsuit, filed in Manhattan federal court by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, alleges Apple and the publishers reached an agreement where retail price competition would cease, retail e-books prices would increase significantly and Apple would be guarantee a 30% “commission” on each e-book sold.

Three of the publishers have agreed to settle, according to court documents. Those are Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins Publishers Inc. Under the settlement, those publishers will terminate any agreement they have with Apple regarding electronic books. Read the rest of this entry »

Isaacson on Jobs: Should He Have Been a Nicer CEO?

26. January 2012

Date: 26-01-2012

Source: TIME

During Tuesday evening’s State of the Union address, President Obama honored the memory of Steve Jobs by underscoring the creative and technological engines that drive America. He also called attention to one of the necessary evils of progress: risk. “We should support … every risk-taker and entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs,” said the president. “After all, innovation is what America has always been about.”

By embracing risks, Steve Jobs inspired his employees, his competition, and most of all his customers, who developed a cultish attachment to his products. So it was appropriate that even as Congress was applauding Jobs’ impact on the business world, the man who arguably knew the Apple founder best – his biographer, Walter Isaacson – was at the 92nd Street Y on Manhattan’s Upper East Side telling a standing-room-only audience of 600 of insights gained during the two years he spent interviewing Jobs.

In this case, the questions were being asked by TIME managing editor Richard Stengel. Isaacson preceded Stengel as head of TIME – and had been Stengel’s boss – so the conversation included moments of nostalgia as well as some frank discussion about managerial styles. As a boss, of course, Jobs was famously prone to extreme bluntness, which was often construed as intentional meanness. Isaacson saw it a little differently. “He intuitively did not have that filter,” he explained, pointing to an example he witnessed first hand. “When the person at Whole Foods is making his smoothie and she’s taking too long, [most people] have a filter that says, ‘Don’t jump on her.’ But Steve was brutally honest.”  Read the rest of this entry »

How U.S. Lost Out on iPhone Work

25. January 2012

Date: 22-01-2012

Source: The New York Times
 People flooded Foxconn Technology with résumés at a 2010 job fair in Henan Province, China.

When Barack Obama joined Silicon Valley’s top luminaries for dinner in California last February, each guest was asked to come with a question for the president.

But as Steven P. Jobs of Apple spoke, President Obama interrupted with an inquiry of his own: what would it take to make iPhones in the United States?

Not long ago, Apple boasted that its products were made in America. Today, few are. Almost all of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products Apple sold last year were manufactured overseas.

Why can’t that work come home? Mr. Obama asked.

Mr. Jobs’s reply was unambiguous. “Those jobs aren’t coming back,” he said, according to another dinner guest.
The president’s question touched upon a central conviction at Apple. It isn’t just that workers are cheaper abroad. Rather, Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that “Made in the U.S.A.” is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.

Apple has become one of the best-known, most admired and most imitated companies on earth, in part through an unrelenting mastery of global operations. Last year, it earned over $400,000 in profit per employee, more than Goldman Sachs, Exxon Mobil or Google.

However, what has vexed Mr. Obama as well as economists and policy makers is that Apple — and many of its high-technology peers — are not nearly as avid in creating American jobs as other famous companies were in their heydays. Read the rest of this entry »

Steve Jobs: ‘I Loved What I Did’

12. October 2011

Date: 12-10-2011
Source: Technology Review By Jason Pontin
Subject: ‘I Loved What I Did’

What we can learn from the legacy and life of Steve Jobs.

Visionary: Apple chief executive Steve Jobs is silhouetted in the Apple logo at the Moscone Center in San Francisco in June 2004.

It’s tolerably well known that newspapers and magazines bank the obituaries of the ailing famous. When Steve Jobs died last Wednesday, the encomia appeared with unsurprising haste. But I had nothing prepared. Ever since Jobs announced in 2004 that he had had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his pancreas, editors had urged me to get something down. (Only last week, an editor at Technology Review proposed that I might review Jobs’s life as if it were a book or a tablet computer.) But I always demurred. It seemed ghoulish. Besides, I wanted Steve to live forever, because I loved him.

I had grown to love him even though our relationship (such as it was) had always been chilly. On at least two occasions, I know I pissed him off. Read the rest of this entry »

Why No Apple in Europe?

12. October 2011

Date: 12-10-2011

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Why doesn’t Europe have its own Apple? 

European leaders are relying on up-and-coming entrepreneurs to stimulate job creation and economic growth they desperately need to solve the debt crisis and cool social tensions, but industry watchers say rules, red tape and financial conditions are stifling the emergence of top-notch, high-growth businesses. 

The European Union’s leaders have launched programs and tax breaks to tackle these problems, but some industry experts say they fall short:

too often they focus broadly across traditional Mom-and-Pop shops and fail to hone in on young, high-growth businesses that hold the key to job creation. 

“If you’re looking for breaking new innovation and fast employment growth, which is high on the agenda now, it’s these young firms that are particularly promising,” said Andrew Wyckoff , director of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s industry directorate. There should be “a difference in policy between young firms and small firms.”  Read the rest of this entry »