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A question for owners of Apple products in light of their profits results today. Watch

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    I have a genuine question for owners of Apple products, especially those who seem themselves as activists, left wing, anti-capitalist etc.

    And I'm asking it here not to play devil's advocate, but because I perceive students as particularly likely to own Apple products. And those Apple products will often be used to read articles about tax avoidance or worker exploitation, or sign and forward petitions from Avaaz on similar matters.

    As you'll have heard, Apple is the world's most profitable company, taking over £1bn PER WEEK, selling extremely profitable stuff with massive markups, by far the biggest in the industry (Apple makes 50% of all available profit in the consumer electronics industry). Apple makes $8.3 million dollars PER HOUR in clear PROFIT, mostly from the 34,000 China-made iPhones it sells every hour.

    Apple's cash reserves would clear the entire UK debt in one go. Their profits are greater than Denmark's GDP.

    Now, in a way, this could be seen as a good thing. If people and the economy are doing so well they're happy to pay 5x over the odds just for a brand name, then that's quite rightly their choice.

    But here's what I find odd: They were trying to explain Apple's incredibly complex tax-avoidance structure on the radio this morning. It involves, amongst other things, a complex offshore system, involving some kind of share buy-back scheme that I didn't fully understand and a lot of other stuff. All legal; however, if this were ANY other company, there'd be angry throngs of activists occupying Apple stores to protest, rather than buy their stuff, and professional whinge companies like Avaaz and 38 Degrees would be alight with campaigns.

    And yet when you speak to Apple fans, they're very often worthy lefties who appear to think that each and every product is lovingly hand-woven out of hemp by Hipsters in San Francisco organic coffee-shops wearing tofu kaftans, rather than made by 16 year olds working 12 hour shifts for $1.78 an hour, living on-site in huge dorms.

    I know people who want to boycott Amazon for not paying enough corporation tax, but are a 100% Apple household.

    Well, Amazon has made $1.5 billion since it was founded in 2003 and have paid exactly the amount of corporation tax that should attract.
    Apple make more than twice that profit that every single month and have avoided far more tax than Amazon.

    I see people complaining that they buy Apple because they "don't like Android" (a free, open operating system) because it's developed by Google, and, you know... taxes.
    Preferring to buy into a closed source, tightly controlled system with an incredibly short built-in obsolescence.

    Well, annually, Google give $1 billion in products for non-profits and charities and have invested $1.5 billion in renewable energy development so far. Apple... doesn't.

    Perhaps it's because they hate Microsoft?

    Well, Steve Jobs shut down ALL of Apple's charity programmes when he took over again, while Bill Gates gave away $38 billion and has saved hundreds of thousands of lives through his vaccination programme.

    Activists will happily occupy Vodafone and Top Shop stores because they don't perceive that these companies are paying enough tax, but the only time they'll ever occupy an Apple store will be to queue at midnight to spend another £700 on £50 worth of consumer electronics because it's 1 micron thinner than that last thing they bought. Then they'll go to Starbucks to blog about the evils of capitalism on their iPads, or perhaps book tickets to Glastonbury to pay £250 for 2 days at a place where you can buy a tray of chips for £5 from a van which has paid £10,000 for a pitch while watching a headline act which is paid £75,000 for a two hour set. Yeah, you really showed it to the man!

    So how DOES Apple get away with it, while companies with tiny margins like Amazon, or loss-making companies like Vodafone, attract all the ire?

    How come some people want to boycott Amazon, who give employment to people in the UK at £2.50/hour above the average warehouse wage, but will happily write emails about it from their sweatshop made tax-avoiding Apple products?

    I just don't get it. What am I missing here?
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    (Original post by digitaltoast)
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    You have a very good point. I own an iPhone 4, iPod touch (same generation) and ipod shuffle. i only use my phone. I was thinking today when i askef for help online but had to pay for support.

    And I also heard how much they made and the fact they couldn't even help me.

    There was a Panorama about Apple and their working conditions on the TV the other week. They pressurize people when applying for jobs to pick their answers or they will automatically be sacked, rejected, put in bad conditions or other sanctions.

    They also receive metal from offshore drills which are basically floating in the ocean (obviously illegal) and half sunk. They destroy the land, pollute the ocean and work in dangerous conditions.

    You will be very interested in this: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04vs348
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    I don't understand the obsession either. You're paying far more than you would have to if you had bought a normal PC but with the same specifications.

    They are good for those in graphic design, music production, etc. but for everyday purposes they are certainly no better.
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    (Original post by The_Mighty_Bush)
    I don't understand the obsession either. You're paying far more than you would have to if you had bought a normal PC but with the same specifications.

    They are good for those in graphic design, music production, etc. but for everyday purposes they are certainly no better.
    My humble Toshiba laptop has the exact same performance (if not better) as the Apple equivalent, at a third of the price lol

    Its all just genius marketing.
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    (Original post by digitaltoast)
    Apple's cash reserves would clear the entire UK debt in one go. Their profits are greater than Denmark's GDP.
    I'm not sure where you get those figures from? Apple's cash reserves are said to be $178 B - a lot less than the UK national debt of £1.5 Trillion and Denmark's $330 B GDP.

    Edit: sorry, noticed that you said their profits were greater than Denmark's GDP, not their cash reserves.

    But I don't see how that's true either - their Q4 profits were $18B. Even taking their profits from the last 12 quarters you couldn't reach Denmark's GDP.

    Well, Steve Jobs shut down ALL of Apple's charity programmes when he took over again, while Bill Gates gave away $38 billion and has saved hundreds of thousands of lives through his vaccination programme.
    Apple's not been a charitable example to other companies, but it's worth remembering that when Jobs came back to Apple, they were very nearly bankrupt.

    Also, there aren't many people out there who check the charitable record of the companies that they patronise. How much does my bank, my chocolate bar manufacturer, my car maker, my estate agent, my energy provider give to charity? Don't know, don't care.

    ...
    I'm not sure that I agree that Apple get a free pass on the company's ethics. There are plenty of people out there who are upset and the conditions in Foxconn - and as you point out, there's been a programme on Panorama entirely about this. Sure, I don't doubt that there are some people who are hypocritical and selectively direct righteous indignation towards companies like Amazon when Apple are just as culpable, but I think you're using a rather broad brush to paint owners of Apple products as champagne socialists.

    Activists will happily occupy Vodafone and Top Shop stores because they don't perceive that these companies are paying enough tax, but the only time they'll ever occupy an Apple store will be to queue at midnight to spend another £700 on £50 worth of consumer electronics because it's 1 micron thinner than that last thing they bought. Then they'll go to Starbucks to blog about the evils of capitalism on their iPads, or perhaps book tickets to Glastonbury to pay £250 for 2 days at a place where you can buy a tray of chips for £5 from a van which has paid £10,000 for a pitch while watching a headline act which is paid £75,000 for a two hour set. Yeah, you really showed it to the man!
    Does this actually apply to many people? Perhaps there are some who might do this, but frankly the number of people who would actively occupy Vodaphone / Top Shop is so tiny that I can't help but think this is a disingenuous picture. In my experience, most people who buy Apple products are pretty representative of the rest of society. Pricing means that there's a skew towards the middle class, but Apple wouldn't have published their record profits if they relied on "worthy lefties" to buy their stuff at a midnight launch.

    Most people care in the abstract about companies behaving ethically and have a concept of how much tax they think that those companies ought to pay, but very few will see that as the most important factor when they're making a purchasing decision. Peer pressure, perceived quality and fashion are far more important for most people.

    (Original post by ImNotMe)
    My humble Toshiba laptop has the exact same performance (if not better) as the Apple equivalent, at a third of the price lol
    And if CPU performance is the most important quality for a laptop, you're sorted :yy:

    Disclaimer: I make a living in the Apple ecosystem
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    Meh, I like the feel and design of their products, much like some people pay quite a lot of money for designer clothing because they like the design... Each to their own I suppose, but I like my Apple products and don't mind (too much) the price I'm paying
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    Yup. Western consumers are stupid. The thing is the act of walking down to a shop and buying a special phone is so detached from the reality of workers making the phones committing suicide. Plus to complete absolve yourself of any economic responsibility from this kind of **** you would have to be a hermit living off the land. By just using energy you are contributing to the **** conditions in say Chinese coal mines.
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    Free marketeer who loves his apple products and doesn't begrudge apple its profits one little bit checking in.

    I rather agree with you, OP, on the general hypocrisy of the lefties you mention.
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    (Original post by ImNotMe)
    My humble Toshiba laptop has the exact same performance (if not better) as the Apple equivalent, at a third of the price lol

    Its all just genius marketing.
    How does your humble Toshiba laptop perform after you've been using it on battery for 10 hours?

    How do you feel when you've carried your humble Toshiba laptop around on your back for a few hours?
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    (Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
    Yup. Western consumers are stupid. The thing is the act of walking down to a shop and buying a special phone is so detached from the reality of workers making the phones committing suicide. Plus to complete absolve yourself of any economic responsibility from this kind of **** you would have to be a hermit living off the land. By just using energy you are contributing to the **** conditions in say Chinese coal mines.
    Isn't the Foxconn suicide rate lower than the average suicide rate in the rest of China and the US?

    Our reality is definitely incredibly removed from the reality of the people who work to make these electronics, but on the other hand it's not exactly clear what the best option is to promote the well-being of them either. I don't absolve myself of economic responsibility, but the cause-and-effect is murky enough in this world of global trade that I don't actually know what I'm responsible for.
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    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    How does your humble Toshiba laptop perform after you've been using it on battery for 10 hours?

    How do you feel when you've carried your humble Toshiba laptop around on your back for a few hours?
    The battery is ok really, has been replaced once, as they have a certain lifetime. When i'm gaming on it (Minecraft or Battlefield 3), the battery does deplete pretty quick (an hour or so).

    Funny you ask, I've just carried it for a few hours travelling and I feel fine really; It's not that heavy or bulky and never overheats. I've dropped it a few times in the past and thank God nothing has broken yet!

    I know Apple also has it's many advantages but for me the price-tag is far from justified.
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    (Original post by estel)
    I'm not sure where you get those figures from? Apple's cash reserves are said to be $178 B - a lot less than the UK national debt of £1.5 Trillion and Denmark's $330 B GDP.
    OK, first of all, have a point, as you made some good points, and also called me out on a fairly substantial error. My excuse is that I was concentrating on driving when I heard it! I've listened again to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0507lgw - start at 02h:10m

    "If this was a country, it would come in above Greece and below Denmark - it would certainly get rid of the UK deficit in a stroke."

    So, below Denmark, and deficit, not debt. As I'd normally be the first to call people out on errors like that, well... I feel humbled and ashamed!

    (Original post by estel)
    Also, there aren't many people out there who check the charitable record of the companies that they patronise. [...]

    I'm not sure that I agree that Apple get a free pass on the company's ethics. [...] Apple wouldn't have published their record profits if they relied on "worthy lefties" to buy their stuff at a midnight launch.
    Well, Apple don't have a choice - as a company, they must publish their profits. Again, you're quite right on most of your points. But MY point, perhaps not very clearly made, was that it seems to me that groups like Occupy only occupy an Apple store when it's product launch time. And anecdotally, of the "lefties" I encounter in my work and volunteering, by far the majority of them own iPhones, and yet are very vocal about things like Vodafone and Amazon etc.

    (Original post by estel)
    Peer pressure, perceived quality and fashion are far more important for most people.
    ... and some clever marketing gurus, too
    I'd be interested to ask 10 bubbly enthusiastic young students coming out of a midnight Apple launch the following question:
    "Quickly, and without looking, where was your new iPhone made?".
    I'd guess that at least a third would say USA, California, the UK or somewhere.
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    (Original post by digitaltoast)
    OK, first of all, have a point, as you made some good points, and also called me out on a fairly substantial error. My excuse is that I was concentrating on driving when I heard it! I've listened again to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0507lgw - start at 02h:10m
    Thanks I've done that plenty of times myself, and regardless, it wasn't really the gist of your point!

    Well, Apple don't have a choice - as a company, they must publish their profits.
    Sorry, I meant: they wouldn't have /had/ record profits if they relied on that demographic.

    Again, you're quite right on most of your points. But MY point, perhaps not very clearly made, was that it seems to me that groups like Occupy only occupy an Apple store when it's product launch time. And anecdotally, of the "lefties" I encounter in my work and volunteering, by far the majority of them own iPhones, and yet are very vocal about things like Vodafone and Amazon etc.
    Which is a perfectly valid point! Though I do disagree about whether it matters at all, and whether that even applies to very many people.
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    The only Apple products I purchase are Macbook Pro's and they are investments rather than luxury purchases. I buy them for development work and therefore it is a justified expense when you factor in the increase in productivity. The operating system alone is well worth the investment because I use several of the applications available on the app store to get work done. The work I obtain usually helps me pay off the cost of the money invested in the first instance anyway.
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    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    How does your humble Toshiba laptop perform after you've been using it on battery for 10 hours?

    How do you feel when you've carried your humble Toshiba laptop around on your back for a few hours?
    l do love how this is basically the only thing apple fanboys have left. I would have to ask for the latter: have you heard of these things called "muscles"?
    And given how all their other products are going, I'm surprised the battery isn't down to a few hours get so they can shave another meaningless micron and gram off

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    (Original post by Jammy Duel)
    l do love how this is basically the only thing apple fanboys have left. I would have to ask for the latter: have you heard of these things called "muscles"?
    And given how all their other products are going, I'm surprised the battery isn't down to a few hours get so they can shave another meaningless micron and gram off

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    I don't really see your point. I'd rather be comfortable if I'm walking with my laptop. I'd also rather take up less space in my bag, since I have other things to carry around, too.

    Well, you can be surprised. That doesn't detract from the fact that the battery life is very useful.

    Anyway, there are many things I prefer about my MBA over other laptops. Those are just two solid, objective advantages.
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    (Original post by TimmonaPortella)
    I don't really see your point. I'd rather be comfortable if I'm walking with my laptop. I'd also rather take up less space in my bag, since I have other things to carry around, too.

    Well, you can be surprised. That doesn't detract from the fact that the battery life is very useful.

    Anyway, there are many things I prefer about my MBA over other laptops. Those are just two solid, objective advantages.
    Is it true that MBA have the best battery life on the market? What if you compare similarly priced PC laptops?
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    (Original post by The_Mighty_Bush)
    Is it true that MBA have the best battery life on the market? What if you compare similarly priced PC laptops?
    I don't recall there being any the same when I looked and bought mine (Oct 2013). The highest end Lenovo was close, though not quite the same, but it was more expensive and I preferred the MBA on other grounds anyway.
 
 
 
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