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9 Signs Apple Is Being Run By Supervillains

Morris M.

You’ve probably heard of Apple; hell, most of you are probably reading this on one of their products. The simple fact is they’re one of the world’s most recognizable brands—built on an image of sleekness, youth and black turtleneck sweaters. Plus more evil than a sackful of Rasputins. Yeah, ‘evil’—turns out there’s a reason Bond’s lamest nemesis was visually modeled on Steve Jobs, and that’s because Apple is almost-certainly being run by supervillains. How else do you explain…

9

Excessive Tax Avoidance

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As far as the law is concerned, tax avoidance is perfectly legal. Which is kind of a shame, as Apple is currently in the process of hoarding enough money offshore to literally end world poverty. I kid you not: according to the Guardian, Apple is hiding around $100bn—with charity Oxfam putting the figure needed to end global poverty at sixty percent of that. Even at our current low(ish) corporate tax rate of 35 percent, getting Apple to pay their dues would yield enough cash to completely eradicate poverty in South America.

But hey, it’s their money, right? If you used this ‘give to the poor’ logic, every business on Earth would be out of pocket; which they may well be, if Apple keep up their insane avoidance strategy. See, having the clout to skip out on taxes and then pull a John Galt before congress isn’t something most companies possess. By bending the rules, Apple gain a hugely unfair advantage over competitors—sort of like if an Olympic sprinter turned up to the starting line in a Ferrari. This screws over any business smaller than Apple (in other words, most of them), while creating fertile conditions for a monopoly. But even worse than running a monopoly is their current strategy of…

8

Blackmailing Congress

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Imagine for a second that the IRS came calling and you tried to broker a deal whereby you only paid tax if you set the rate. What do you think would happen? At best, everyone would laugh at you; at worst, they’d probably throw your ass in jail and seize your property. But not if you’re Apple CEO Tim Cook: a few days ago, Cook basically told congress they could tax his company only if they changed the rate to suit him. And, since his proposed rate is nine percent, congress should probably have just laughed then turned him upside down and shook him until $35bn came out his pockets. Instead, they spent hours cooing over how wonderful Apple products are, like those deluded Chris Brown fangirls who still defend his misogynistic butt. In short: Cook openly blackmailed congress, who responded by telling him how awesome he was.

7

Aggressive Litigation

Apple V Samsung

‘Aggressive litigation’ is when someone with a lot of money sues someone else as a way of censoring or damaging their business. And Apple files lawsuits like a professional road accident victim. Take their epic, global battle with Samsung: while both companies come out looking like belligerent, soulless multinationals, only Apple stands accused of using lawsuits to freeze out the competition. If you aren’t following the various cases, they basically amount to Apple attempting to make Samsung phones illegal by trying to patent the entire concept of ‘smartphones’. For example, they tried to patent the idea of unlocking your phone by swiping; the use of square icons to denote apps; the ability to enlarge documents by touching the screen and making the phones rectangular. In case you’ve never seen one before, that basically describes a smartphone. And Apple is trying to patent them faster than you can say ‘anti-competitive’.

6

Flouting Court Rulings

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On the subject of the Apple v Samsung case, did you know Apple lost their tablet-patent suit in the UK? Now, Samsung have lost elsewhere and—as I mentioned above—both companies ‘do evil’, but what makes this notable is the way Apple openly flouted a UK court order to apologize to their rival. And I mean ‘flouted’—forced by a judge to put an apology on their UK homepage, Apple first posted a notice so objectively unapologetic they were legally required to write another, which they then hid so nobody could read it.

Just think about that for a second: if you openly flouted a court order—twice—chances are you would get hauled in on contempt charges and carted off to the Tower of London. For all Apple’s actions here are essentially harmless (and also kinda funny—the apology is wrapped in a page element called “sosumi”), it more-or-less shows exactly how much respect they have for the laws you and I have to live by: none.

5

Destroying the Environment

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Condensed to three little words like that, Apple’s practice of allowing their suppliers to dump toxic sludge into rivers perhaps doesn’t sound so bad—especially if you consider ‘environmentalism’ code for ‘wishy-washy liberalism’. So let’s break it down into something we can all understand: in taking advantage of Chinese environmental loopholes, Apple allowed its suppliers to release giant clouds of toxic gas over nearby villages. In those villages, people are now dying at a phenomenal rate from cancer. In other words, entire families are being wiped out just so Apple can save a few bucks. On top of that, in 2011, a factory making Apple products managed to poison 137 of its workers when a cheap chemical used in making iPads gave off a cloud of nerve gas. Apple’s response? The corporate equivalent of ‘meh’.

4

Using Sweatshop Labor

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In 2006, it came to light that Apple’s Chinese plants were using sweatshop labour—a practice so vastly immoral it ranks right up there with stealing Christmas. Workers at the Longhua plant near Hong Kong were forced to work 15 hour days with no breaks for as little as $40 a month, a wage that would have been low in the slums of Victorian Britain. And guess what? The conditions were much the same: employees were found to be sleeping in crowded dormitories, forbidden to have contact with the outside world and forced to do army-style training in the morning. In other words, the place was less a factory than a prison camp—and it was far from a one-off. Five years later, another Apple supplier was discovered forcing students to work on assembly lines in return for nothing but a chance to graduate. For the record, that’s as unethical in China as it is over here. And that’s before we even get onto Apple’s use of…

3

Child Labor

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Child labor is one of the few universally agreed-upon evils in the world. So it should come as no surprise that Apple’s Chinese suppliers are all in favor of it.

In 2010, the company uncovered 91 children working at its factories, up from eleven the year before. Because their suppliers are clinical psychopaths, these same juveniles were often put to work lifting heavy goods with zero training, which doubtless went about as well as you’d expect. As an additional bit of awfulness, the report also found evidence of mandatory pregnancy checks being conducted—a step so far back on women’s rights it effectively pretends feminism never happened. But hey, all that was two years ago, they’ve probably cleared up their act by now right? Think again: the most-recent audit found the number of child workers had risen to 106—suggesting either those in charge are incompetent or that nobody gives a damn.

2

Employee Abuse

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Quick, hands up who’s heard of bonded labour? Basically, it’s a practice often used in human trafficking, whereby foreign workers are made to pay so many agency and transport fees they start work deeply in debt—meaning they have to work for free until the balance is paid off. Since this is an article about Apple, you can probably guess whose Chinese suppliers use bonded labour (clue: it’s Apple). And guess what happens to these modern-day serfs while they’re working for free? That’s right: they get beaten and forced to live in cockroach infested warehouses ripped straight from an Orwellian nightmare.

How Orwellian? Well, this report found a factory where workers are forced to stand for the company song, propaganda is pumped through speakers day and night, 34 hour shifts are compulsory and yawning is punished by having wages docked. In other words, it’s the sort of place Kim Jong-Un would dismiss as ‘needlessly cruel’—and that’s before we get to the workers who’ve died of exhaustion or been forced to sign a contract eliminating anything but minimum compensation for their families if they commit suicide. Want to guess what Steve Jobs’ take on this totalitarian hell-hole was? “It’s a nice place”.

1

They Hate Their Customers

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No-one, if they have even the barest technical know-how, can resist ‘jail breaking’ their iProduct. Although it sounds kinda illegal, it’s not: all jail breaking does is ensure you can escape Apple’s rigid app store and use the device to host third party programs or move to another carrier. Sounds innocent enough: unless you happen to work for Apple. Time and again, Apple has sent out ‘updates’ designed to kill modified devices. Meaning that Apple will happily take your hard-earned money—thereby completing the consumer transaction—and then stop your new toy from functioning for no damn reason. Can you imagine if masked Swedish mechanics turned up every time you modified your Volvo and took the engine out? They’d go out of business within a day. Yet we still keep buying Apple products, because—in the end—what’s stuff like ‘ethics’ and ‘self-respect’ compared to having a really shiny phone?

Morris M.

Morris is a freelance writer and newly-qualified teacher, still naively hoping to make a difference in his students' lives. You can send your helpful and less-than-helpful comments to his email, or visit some of the other websites that inexplicably hire him.

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