Ethical Issues in Apple Inc.
Apple success is based on “creating innovative, high-quality products and services and on demonstrating integrity in every business interaction.” According to Apple, four main principles contribute to integrity: honesty, respect, confidentiality, and compliance. Although Apple has consistently won first place as the World’s Most Admired Company, it has experienced several ethical issues within recent years. Among are privacy, sustainability, product quality, intellectual property and patents. Product Quality
Apple’s product quality problem started when the company introduced the iphone 4, customers began to complain of reception problems. The problems were caused by antenna interference that occurred when users held the phone a certain way. Privacy
In 2011 Apple and Google disclosed that certain features on the cell phones they sell collect data on the phones’ locations. Consumers and government officials saw this as an infringement on user privacy. The companies announced that users have the option to disable these features on their phones. This was not entirely true for Apple as some of its phones continued to collect location information even after users had disabled the feature. Apple attributed this to a glitch that it remedied with new software. Both Google and Apple defend their data-collection mechanisms, but many government officials disagree. The government is considering passing legislation on mobile privacy, actions which could have profound effects on Apple and other electronic companies. Sustainability
Apple has taken steps to become a greener company, such as reducing its environmental impact at its facilities. However, the company admits that the majority of its emissions come from its products. In 2009 Apple stated that its operations contributed to 9.6 million metric tons of metric gases being released. While 3 percent came from its facilities, 97 percent came from the life cycle of its products. Since Apple’s success hinges on constantly developing and launching new products, the environmental impact of its products is a serious issue. “Apple Supplier Responsibility: 2011 Progress Report,” offers an insight into its awareness of such issues. The report documents audits conducted at 127 manufacturers’ facilities and details breaches of its Supplier Code of Conduct. Violations included cases of worker endangerment and health impairment from exposure to hazardous chemicals, 91 child workers, which was 9 times as many as reported in the previous year, as well as incidents of bribery, violations of local labor laws, and discriminatory employment practices. In addition, 37 facilities reportedly failed to monitor and control air emissions, and 80 facilities were found not to store or handle hazardous waste properly. The report further addressed Apple’s response to the worker suicides at Foxconn's Shenzhen factory last year. To encourage its customers to recycle, Apple has created a recycling program at its stores for old iPods, mobile phones, and Macs. Consumers that trade in their old iPods can receive a ten percent discount on a newer version. Consumers recycling old Macs that still have value can receive gift cards. Apple partners with regional recyclers that comply with related laws. Despite this recycling program, many consumers feel that tossing out their old products is more convenient, particularly if they have no value. E-waste will remain a significant issue as long as consumers continue to throw away their old electronics. Intellectual property
In 1982 Apple filed a lawsuit against Franklin Computer Corporation that highly impacted intellectual property laws. Apple alleged that Franklin was illegally formatting copies of Apple II’s operating system and ROM so that they would run on Franklin computers. Another notable case was Apple’s lawsuit against Microsoft after Apple had licensed technology to Microsoft. When Microsoft released Windows...