I would place a wager–similar to the one that the banks placed on subprime loans in the last decade–on a bet that the public in general doesn’t realize how much money banks are making off of student loans.
I’ve been doing some thinking about the future of computing and I think it is safe to say that the PC and server will eventually end up being niche markets. This process has been underway since the introduction of the first really powerful smartphones and tablets were introduced to the market accompanied by the universal adoption of cloud computing infrastructure.
With Microsoft now allowing iOS users to fully utilize all of their Office apps for free; this will only hasten the shift in personal computing from PC’s to smaller devices. The reason I really started thinking about this was because I was entertaining the thought of getting a Mac Book Pro but then realized the computer I currently have allows me to do everything I need to do already.
The reason I still need a PC is because I do a lot of coding and graphic design. I also need a PC to administer the network where I work which is a Windows Server environment that also runs Microsoft Exchange for e-mail. My current laptop PC is a 64–bit, Intel Core i7 class computer with 8GB of RAM. The Mac Book Pro is a gorgeous machine and has 24GB of RAM but what would I really gain from using it over the PC and iPad combination I’m using now?
More and more I’m happy just to use my iPad for personal computing–leaving the laptop PC at home or in the office. The other thing to realize is that you don’t even have to upgrade your tablet that often. The iPad Air does everything that the newer iPad Air 2 can do. If you look at the numbers one would see that the old iPad 2 has the most market share.
So what’s happening is the fact that we’re upgrading our hardware less. The future appears to be one that will be focused on software running in the cloud and the Internet of Things. Which does present some security issues of course, but then there’s the private cloud or dedicated server hosting options to explore too.
Apple Computers Inc. and a bunch of other corporations received illegal state aid from European countries in avoiding their tax obligations.
On Monday, the European Commission released a 21-page letter in which it alleges that Ireland and corporate giant Apple have been benefiting from a special tax deal for decades. Tax agreements, signed in 1990 and 2007 between the Irish government and US-headquartered Apple, constitute illegal “state aid”, according to the Commission.
Keep in mind that Apple is one of the U.S. corporations that have been advocating for a tax holiday in the states so that they may bring their profits back here untaxed. Last year it is said that that Apple didn’t pay taxes to any national government whatsoever. This company generates tremendous profit. It is based in California who at one time had serious budget issues. Imagine if they actually paid their taxes ?
Harvard researchers are seeing that the 1 percent will finally have to relent on their greed and addiction to profit maximization; or else the United States will have fallen too far.
Porter said this week that three forces will drive business leaders to change: They need skilled workers. They need American workers to earn enough money to buy what they’re selling. And they need workers to support “pro-business” policies in government, which, he says, is less and less the case (emphasis added by me – J.G.).
You can’t possibly continue to outsource labor to other countries, eradicate job growth stateside, avoid investing in the workforce and then expect people to be able to afford your smartphones, tablets, computers and telecom bills. Also, if they’re not buying anything, then advertising to them on Google and Facebook would also seem pointless. The American market is huge and if its purchasing power continues to erode that could spell trouble for many of these firms.
There’s also been plenty written to refute the so-called “skills gap” in the United States. Honestly, there is a lot driving this race to the bottom that if reversed will show positive gains for the nation. Besides what’s been stated above, if the price of oil increases and remains that way, it would force some companies back to the U.S.
What we also have to watch out for is the importation of labor at the expense of U.S. workers. Silicon Valley has been clamoring for the ability to import more people here but there are many qualified Americans they’re ignoring. It’s simply because they can pay these imported workers less and get away with it.
It’s a shame that every time I pick up my Samsung Galaxy Note 3 or Samsung Galaxy Tab Pro 10.1 that I have to see the blood on my hands as a consumer. Samsung and Apple may compete on a lot of things, but when it comes to labor repression and workers’ rights on the Asian continent, they might be equals.
Take a look inside Korea:
The first ever large-scale trade union in Samsung Group, the Korean Metal Workers’ Union (KMWU) Samsung Electronics Service Workers’ Local (around 2000 members), is on indefinite strike. The workers have asked Samsung to stop labour repression and recognize the union, for employment security at the 3 centers with concentrated union membership, to pay a living wage and to bargain a first collective agreement.
Things got worse however:
During the strike, on May 17, the KMWU Samsung local chapter chair committed self-immolation in protest against Samsung’s continuing labour repression. 300 police forces stormed his funeral wake, arrested 25 mourners, and absconded with the labour martyr’s body. He was cremated under police protection against his dying wishes that his sacrifice be used to win labour rights at Samsung, which adheres to a “No Union” corporate policy. Police and public prosecutors have imprisoned KMWU Samsung union local Chair WI, Young-il and First Vice-Chair LA, Du-shik for protesting the raid at the funeral wake when the body was taken amid this clampdown on democratic and trade union rights.
As much as we may love our electronics we have to be reminded of the other side of the coin, and that is the horrible exploitation of labor in Asia as well as Africa to bring us these products. In Africa people are killed for the minerals that go into our gadgets and in Asia they are violently repressed and face horrible working conditions with low pay to manufacture and assemble those gadgets. As consumers we can demand better from these corporations.
I saw the Apple as most valuable headline come across Twitter a few times today. Personally, I didn’t really think much of it. So what if they are? It would not change much about how I view them. They are still a corporation who subcontracts with companies like Foxconn in China, who have had workers there commit suicide. While a recent New York Times investigative piece has had the effect of making Apple more attuned to its supply chain and ensuring workers are paid more and treated better; they are still a company that seeks a tax holiday to repatriate profits without paying taxes to the United States. Basically, like all corporations you have to keep an eye on them.
Apple’s $622 billion market cap is a nominal record, which means “in name only,” or alternatively, not really. That’s because it’s a record only if you don’t adjust Microsoft’s 1999 market cap for inflation (ADDING: Microsoft doesn’t even hold the record, apparently. IBM in 1967 was worth at least $1.3 trillion in today’s money. I’ve updated my subhead to correct that MSFT’s isn’t a record). Sorry, but you have to adjust any number like this that’s that old for inflation—it’s comparing apples to oranges not to do so.
It was kind of sad to see how media outlets were willing to run with a story just to get page views. I mean you had institutions such as the Associated Press and Reuters spreading these semi-truths. It doesn’t seem that anyone but the Columbia Journalism Review did any fact checking.
It’s sort of sickening to see corporatized protest taking shape. In the days of Occupy Wall Street where real protest is going on, we also see these sorts of fake protests that are ginned up by one corporation to go after another corporation. Some are saying this “wake up” protest was orchestrated by Samsung. I’ve also heard that Research in Motion might be behind this as well.
Whoever is behind this demonstration is doing an injustice to those who really have a beef with Apple. Like those who have issues with worker’s safety and rights at manufacturing plants in China that make things for Apple. Or those who have issues with Apple’s environmental record.
It would seem from a poll that the National Consumers League conducted; that people would be willing to wait for new electronics if it meant that workers had better working conditions.
After Apple made headlines over working conditions at factories in China, a survey commissioned by the National Consumers League, a nonprofit advocacy group, found that consumers were willing to endure a delay in the release of new devices if it meant better working conditions for employees. Conducted by ORC International in March, the survey tallied more than 1,000 responses.
The results showed that 73 percent of respondents would be willing to wait. One in 10 said they would not be willing to wait, while 13 percent were undecided.
Trexta, the corporation in Turkey that manufactures devices for Apple, Nokia, RIM and Samsung; has issues with workers wanting a safe workplace.
The scalding hot manufacturing iron fell on her hand and stuck for several minutes before someone pulled it from her burning skin. Help could have come sooner but management had removed an emergency button, claiming that workers would “play” with it.
When corporations offshore manufacturing to these countries you have to wonder: are they all sociopaths who put cost above basic human rights?