Image from Wired Magazine
I was interviewed by MacNews last week for their article The iPhone and Social Networks: Fast Friends?
Read it and you might think I’m an Apple fanboy.
Apple has introduced some game-changing, highly usable, extremely cool products. But the company has a less than sterling reputation regarding the way they treat their employees, partners, customers and the environment.
Wired Magazine tackled the Apple conundrum in Evil/Genius: How Apple Got Everything Right by Doing Everything Wrong:
Everybody is familiar with Google’s famous catchphrase, “Don’t be evil.” It has become a shorthand mission statement for Silicon Valley, encompassing a variety of ideals that — proponents say — are good for business and good for the world: Embrace open platforms. Trust decisions to the wisdom of crowds. Treat your employees like gods.
It’s ironic, then, that one of the Valley’s most successful companies ignored all of these tenets. Google and Apple may have a friendly relationship — Google CEO Eric Schmidt sits on Apple’s board, after all — but by Google’s definition, Apple is irredeemably evil, behaving more like an old-fashioned industrial titan than a different-thinking business of the future. Apple operates with a level of secrecy that makes Thomas Pynchon look like Paris Hilton. It locks consumers into a proprietary ecosystem. And as for treating employees like gods? Yeah, Apple doesn’t do that either.
Wired torched the company for some of its business practices, but gives Apple some credit for making hard decisions and doing what’s necessary to create highly usable products that create loyal users and, ultimately, a highly profitable company.
Apple is among the most message responsible companies around. Their marketing is smart and respectful. Since they build the hardware and software, everything just plain works and their products are easier to use.
Apple’s Greener Apple initiative touts their environmentally responsible business practices. But the fact is, the company lagged HP and Dell for years and the change only came after significant pressure from environmental groups.
And yet, Apple continues to thrive:
For all the protests, consumers don’t seem to mind Apple’s walled garden. In fact, they’re clamoring to get in. Yes, the iPod hardware and the iTunes software are inextricably linked — that’s why they work so well together. And now, PC-based iPod users, impressed with the experience, have started converting to Macs, further investing themselves in the Apple ecosystem.
So many good things. So many bad. Apple raises questions aplenty:
Does might make right?
Apple has avid fans. Would they have more if their Apple was greener?
Will their business practices bite them in the ass as consumer confidence continues to wane?
Ultimately, is Apple responsible or not?
Weigh in by commenting below.