Apple CEO Tim Cook calls New York Times supplier report ‘patently false and offensive’

Apple CEO Tim Cook, who has not been shy on the emailing as of late, has sent out a lengthy letter to all of his employees that is a direct response to these recent reports of factory worker mistreatment. Cook’s opening:

As a company and as individuals, we are defined by our values. Unfortunately some people are questioning Apple’s values today, and I’d like to address this with you directly. We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain. Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don’t care is patently false and offensive to us. As you know better than anyone, accusations like these are contrary to our values. It’s not who we are. For the many hundreds of you who are based at our suppliers’ manufacturing sites around the world, or spend long stretches working there away from your families, I know you are as outraged by this as I am. For the people who aren’t as close to the supply chain, you have a right to know the facts.

Some key points from the email:
• Every year we inspect more factories, raising the bar for our partners and going deeper into the supply chain. As we reported earlier this month, we’ve made a great deal of progress and improved conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers. We know of no one in our industry doing as much as we are, in as many places, touching as many people.

• We are focused on educating workers about their rights, so they are empowered to speak up when they see unsafe conditions or unfair treatment. As you know, more than a million people have been trained by our program.

• We will continue to dig deeper, and we will undoubtedly find more issues. What we will not do — and never have done — is stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain. On this you have my word. You can follow our progress at

Read more, including Cook’s full letter, at 9to5Mac here.

MacDailyNews Take: Overheard at FUD, Inc.:

Well, boys, those were some $%&@!# earnings. WTF are we going to do now? Apple’s isn’t just taking a bigger slice, they’re taking the whole $%&@!# pie!

There’s no new iPhone yet, so we can’t take something like attenuation and blow it all the $%&@!# out of proportion. There’s no new iPad, yet, so we can’t say that it’s so thin it cut off a little old lady’s arm in Sheboygan. We need something to give the public a least a little pause or we’re $%&@!# dead.

Hey, what about the old “Chinese slave labor” angle? Make those $%&@!# Jobsian perfectionists look like greedy $%&@!# evil overlords. Use their money and success against them. Ooh, I like it. I really like it.

Yeah, yeah, dummy, I know we all use the same Chinese company for assembly. And, yes, my little $%&@!#, I know they’re the best paid factory workers in China, because of Apple, no less. Don’t ever say that aloud again, you $%&@!#. Nobody cares about the facts. This is $%&@!# FUD, Inc.! All of our $%&@!# phones attenuate, too, you $%&@!# moron!

Perception is everything. Repeat it enough times and the $%&@!# suckers of the world lap it up like candy and start repeating it like parrots.

Quick, call up our friends at the paper!

Related article:
In China, human costs are built into iPads and tens of thousands of other non-Apple products – January 26, 2012


  1. I would be outraged, too.

    The company which does by far the most extensive audit and the only company that joined fair labour association, is attacked, systematically, by these two authors of NYT.

    This is obviously corrupt reporting, probably even motivated by additional non-journalistic interested — because this is so blatantly off the wall attack.

        1. Yes. The actual article does name other electronics manufacturers and does note that Apple has ramped up the auditing process and demanded changes. However, Apple was clearly chosen as the focus of the article due to their success and popularity.

          I love Apple, but I did not hate the article. These problems exist and though I do believe they are trying to make changes as quickly as possible, this is not a transformation that can be made quickly. Apple have a chance to use this to illustrate their industry leadership in this area. Tim Cook’s email indicates that they are taking such leadership role very seriously.

  2. Not sure why anyone is surprised, this is exactly the kind of propaganda that the NY Times has been known for now for many years. They wouldn’t know actual journalism if it slapped them in the face.

    1. It’s a sign of the NYT’s success that both the left and the right hate them. The left because their columnists beat the drum for the war in Iraq, and the right because… well, I guess because they sometimes say things conservatives don’t want to hear.


        1. But the NY Times felt compelled in 2004 to publish a lengthy apology for biased and incomplete coverage in general on the leadup to the invasion of Iraq: (recommended)


          Accounts of Iraqi defectors were not always weighed against their strong desire to have Saddam Hussein ousted. Articles based on dire claims about Iraq tended to get prominent display, while follow-up articles that called the original ones into question were sometimes buried. In some cases, there was no follow-up at all.

    2. the NY Times . . . wouldn’t know actual journalism if it slapped them in the face.

      Same goes with Fux News.

      It’s called being Shot By Both Sides. And in the end the wars are all about some greedy Fracker making money by way of exploiting someone else. Which leads back to the Slave Wage Labor Movement, which leads back to the article, which spins around inside your head until you SUBMIT! 😉

      It’s a shitey world out there. That’s why I wear boots!

      BS aside, you have to hand it to Apple for being sincere. Anti-Apple FUD is a dime-a-dozen and extremely little of it is factual. I personally insist that Apple get the hell out of criminal China. Tim Cook disagrees. But at least he is insistent that life be better than slavery for supply chain employees. What other company bothers? Go on, name one!

  3. “Overheard at FUD, Inc.:” There’s an easy way to put FUD, Inc out of business: Make it illegal to agree to sell shares of a stock you don’t actually own. Or require all stock transactions take 24 hours to execute. Or place a sliding scale tax on stock sale transactions, starting at 50% of the gain for less stocks held than one hour, moving on to 15% for 30 days or more, no offset for losses.

    1. For earnings on stock transactions to be qualified at the 15% long term capital gains tax rate, they have to be held longer than 1 year. Otherwise the earnings are short term capital gains and are taxed as normal income.

      1. @ Tim Brown: and therein lies the problem. To qualify for “capital gains” tax reductions, an investment should be held for at least as long as it takes the average student to graduate college. While seemingly unrelated, the point is this: investing for the short term is driving unnecessary market volatility. If it takes 4-5 years for a human investment to mature, then that’s about how long it should take an investor to mature his cash hoard. The markets are supposed to serve humanity, not the other way around.

        as long as i’m on the soap box, i’d say that income taxes and payroll taxes could be significantly reduced, perhaps to zero if replaced by simple-to-implement resource consumption taxes that would incentivize innovation and efficiency rather than to punish labor and incentivize offshoring of wealth.

        This would probably have to be realized in the form of some national sales tax or VAT. But who are we fooling — as long as corporations hold the vast majority of the wealth on the planet, and those corporations have no interest in national health, the gold will always remain on tropical island tax shelters or Alpine banks.

        Just like a catholic schoolgirl’s credit card on her 21st birthday, what fiscal responsibility does the US congress display? Spending records show that both parties are equally corrupt and equally to blame for fiscal mismanagement. Only after citizens reign in the crony capitalists and their lobbyists, pay off its generations of accumulated debts, gotten its out-of-control military and entitlement spending under control, and implemented a flexible balanced budget amendment to keep all future budgets under control should we even consider cutting nominal tax rates. The only tax reform on the table this year needs to be loophole closures.

        now back to Jerry Springer and Gears of War, average US voters. Sorry to wake you up from your distractions.

  4. How convenient of NYT to leave out the other major companies that uses Foxconn:

    From Wikipedia, Foxconn manufactures products for companies including:

    (country of headquarters in parentheses)

    Acer Inc. (Taiwan) (United States)[27]
    Apple Inc. (United States)[28]
    ASRock (Taiwan)
    Asus (Taiwan)
    Barnes & Noble (United States)
    Cisco (United States)
    Dell (United States)
    EVGA Corporation (United States)
    Hewlett-Packard (United States)[29]
    Intel (United States)
    IBM (United States)
    Lenovo (China)
    Logitech (Switzerland)
    Microsoft (United States)
    MSI (Taiwan)
    Motorola (United States)
    Netgear (United States)
    Nintendo (Japan)
    Nokia (Finland)[28]
    Panasonic (Japan)
    Philips (Netherlands)
    Sharp (Japan)
    Sony Ericsson (Japan/Sweden)[30]
    Toshiba (Japan)
    Vizio (United States)

  5. Folks, like it or not, perception is reality, even for our beloved Apple. You can try and shoot messenger, but the bad news won’t just go away. The supply chain problems are real for all western electronics manufacturers, but Apple benefits the most and consequently, has the most responsibility to correct any problems.

    This is Tim Cook’s first big crisis as CEO. He’s the supply chain guru who put this system together. He needs to own this and fix it.

    Clearly, improving supply chain wages and working conditions is one thing Apple needs to do with some of that $97 billion cash hoard.

    Apple is better than this, and I’m sure Cook will rise to the occasion.

    1. Bullshit!

      Apple has fixed the major problems with the working conditions.

      As for the wages, you couldn’t live with those wages in North America but you sure ass hell could live with the wages and benefits in China. You unionists always ignore the fact that China severly undervalues it’s currency compared to the US dollar. What that means is that $400.00 US plus free room and board a month goes a hell of a long way in central China.

    2. Oh look, another champagne socialist.
      BTW last time I checked Apple does not own Foxconn. Why would Apple NEED to spend some of its $97B fixing another company`s problems? In a foreign country no less!

      1. Maybe they don’t Foxconn them but they have them as suppliers. So same supply chain.
        Therefore, it is SHARED RESPONSIBILITY. Guys, you need to wake up!
        With $97B in cash and a leader position, Apple is THE king. They can impose their rules.
        They benefit from Foxconn crapy system so they should help fix it or drop them.

      1. AK I am with you too. oops, that should read HD I am with you…..NOOOOOOOOo, I should have posted as HD not AK, awww what the heck…..alright alright you caught me HD is AK.

    3. Yeah you are a boy… An idiot boy with stupid logic.

      When’s the last time you pointed your perception at the reality of Apple’s products and user experience?

      All of Apple’s customers and user do just that.

  6. althegeo: No one said anything about unions, though with lesser companies, that is what it takes, sometimes. That said (and even if what you say is true and Apple already has taken adequate steps to fix this), Apple still has perception problems and a letter from Tim Cook isn’t going to solve these.

    1. If the only real problem is perception, then a letter from CEO Tim Cook is exactly what is needed to change perceptions.

      As for those false perceptions, the left wing journalists and their unionist buddies have their fingerprints all over those false perceptions.

    2. You didn’t read Cook’s letter! If you had, you would have slunk away in embarrassment after realizing Cook has been proactive in meeting any weaknesses in his supply chain.

      I have no doubt there are still weak links in the supply chain and won’t appear until a load is applied and when a link does break it’s achingly disingenuous for anyone to suggest Cook chose to ignore it.

      Your perception is your reality, not mine, or his, or hers. So, think before you attempt to characterize the world beyond your imagination.

  7. MDN take is funny as usual but also true. Just look at the title of the article… All you remember is human costs iPad and Apple. Slimy way of telling the electronics industry story….

  8. Apple needs to sue the NYT, not so much to win but to change perceptions, or at least call for a retraction.
    A better idea would be to set up a new Apple branded tv network, or buy one that’s already in place, because there will be no end of attacks in view of its size and success. Even the U.S. government is attacking industry, and its “justice” department is an oxymoron.

    1. Change perceptions by suing? Are you insane? Apple suing a newspaper is THE LAST THING they should be doing. Thanks to the internet echo chamber there’s already a lot of people hating on Apple for suing other companies, legitimate reasons or not.

      Sue a newspaper over, what, an opinion piece with misleading spin? Precedent has already been set: Fox news already won a case saying they don’t need to report facts, claiming free speech.

  9. Fkem. I’m in it for the money and odd not give a shit about Chinese workers or anybody else. Work em to death, coddle them, I don’t care. More interested in the new Porche models this year and finding a Wallstreet occupier to wash and wax it for me ans clean my toilet.

  10. Apple, Inc. is also a member of the GRI, Global Reporting Initiative; an independently monitored body that establishes sustainability metrics for the member companies to abide.

  11. if your a NYT Sub and you still have not unsubscribed, do yourself a favor and save your money.. If enough people get tired of biased BS reporting, and stop spending money on that propaganda rag, then it will either go bankrupt and disappear, or change and actually start reporting less biased news, bias will never go away, but the NY Times is so far left now, Pravda might be to the right ..

  12. NYT has been getting more sensationalistic in a desperate attempt to cling to readership.
    This is one example. Another classic example of misinformation/disinformation is an article on hazards of dental/medical imaging, which was rife with inaccuracies – and misconstruing the comments of the experts they sought out.
    A once proud bastion of journalism has succumbed to the “sound byte” mentality of the E! Talk generation.

  13. Its obvious from the article that their motive was to trash apple after their big earnings win against all other competitors and secondly a backhanded call to move the manufacturing back to the US where the labor laws and environmental requirements are higher.
    It was obvious after reading it to be a targeted agenda piece.

  14. So, this guy or what ever he is from NYT, does he ask if the cows producing his milk are receiving a fear deal for their milk? Is he asking Wall mart how is its merchandise produced? How was his car built? His pants (if he has any)?

  15. The NYT doesn’t permit iMacs or MacBooks in any of their facilities. Employees have to leave their MacBooks out of the building and use an MS OS product while at work. Lots of employee complaints and even suicide threats have not helped.

  16. You know what’s hilarious about the reaction to Chinese labor stories here? MDN is full of right wing loons and right wing loons are supposed to hate communism. Hate it , hate it, hate it. A loathed political/economic system where people have no rights, where people are slaves to the state, where the economy is centrally planned, where individuality stamped out and where ordinary people lack control over their lives and live to serve the state.

    Except in China, the world’s largest communist country. In China right wing loons love communism because the populace–you know, the populace where people mysteriously disappear for dissenting, the populace whose email the government regularly hacks into for spying purposes, who then get arrested for things the government has found in their hacked email–well, in China that enslaved populace of a totalitarian communist regime is busy making low-labor-cost gadgets and communism is just frikkin’ ***AWESOME***.

    1. China`s not a very communist state anymore, in case you haven`t noticed. Probably leaning more toward being “soft fascist”.
      I guess it`s time you burn all your gadgets and underwear in your yard and head for the hills with nothing but a smile and a sharpened stick to get you by.

      (Please don`t use any knives made in China to sharpen said stick.)


  17. @ Tim Cook: We all know that Apple is no worse than the average corporation. The world is too lazy to reject the ethically-lacking business standards of the modern world.

    “Free market” would imply that both ends of the bargain are fulfilled by people with complete knowledge and equal opportunity. Workers in China have neither complete disclosure of working risks, nor educational opportunity to rise the economic ladder, nor freedom to relocate to a Democratic nation where they can choose their working conditions. Western corporations prey on this to avoid paying decent wages.

    Tim Cook, when you find a Foxconn worker who has earned enough money to buy an Apple product, please let me know.

    And no, “everyone else is doing it” is not moral justification for economic servitude. America abolished slavery on its shores in 1865, and in 1866, outsourcing began in earnest to substitute free labor for the next least reprehensible thing. As long as the top 1% of the global economic elites (a figure which includes almost ALL Americans) can ignore the poverty problem directly cause by our own greed, then everything is fine, right?

    Everyone who uses a computer should feel some guilt for the 6+ billion people on the planet who, directly or indirectly, are prevented from the freedom of living-wage employment such that he too can enjoy all the economic freedoms that we take for granted.

    Tim, you’re no worse than the next company. But you sure as hell aren’t lily white either.

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