“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,” Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher report for The New York Times. “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? 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,” Duhigg and Bradsher report. “By 2004, Apple had largely turned to foreign manufacturing. Guiding that decision was Apple’s operations expert, Timothy D. Cook, who replaced Mr. Jobs as chief executive last August, six weeks before Mr. Jobs’s death… For Mr. Cook, the focus on Asia ‘came down to two things,’ said one former high-ranking Apple executive. Factories in Asia ‘can scale up and down faster’ and ‘Asian supply chains have surpassed what’s in the U.S.’ The result is that ‘we can’t compete at this point,’ the executive said.”

“Another critical advantage for Apple was that China provided engineers at a scale the United States could not match. Apple’s executives had estimated that about 8,700 industrial engineers were needed to oversee and guide the 200,000 assembly-line workers eventually involved in manufacturing iPhones. The company’s analysts had forecast it would take as long as nine months to find that many qualified engineers in the United States,” Duhigg and Bradsher report. “In China, it took 15 days.”

Tons more in the extensive full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Many make their living from Apple who do not work for Apple, ourselves included. Mac developers and iOS developers, for one example. iOS device accessory makers, for another. The impact Apple Inc. has is enormous and the amount of employees on Apple’s payroll, regardless of country, pales in comparison to the number of jobs and economic activity the company actually generates around the world.

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