Now that a respectable time has elapsed since the founder and leader of Apple Corp, Steve Jobs has died, and thousands of eulogies and obituaries have praised him for his genius, it may be time to look at the flip side. The most telling way to do that is to look at the company he founded and directed. The New York Times did just that a few days ago in a lengthy article (over 5200 words) that is well worth reading.
In short, the sensational ratio between turnover and profit* is achieved by squeezing the **** out of their suppliers' margins to the extent that they are forced to cut corners in terms of safety and squeeze the **** out of their workers in turn, while paying no more than lip service about the ordinary and extraordinary atrocities that ensue.
The view by one Apple executive, expressed in the last paragraph of the NYT's article, is absolutely chilling:
“You can either manufacture in comfortable, worker-friendly factories, or you can reinvent the product every year, and make it better and faster and cheaper, which requires factories that seem harsh by American standards,” said a current Apple executive. “And right now, customers care more about a new iPhone than working conditions in China.”
In other words, going by how Apple does what it does, Steve Jobs was (despite of, or perhaps with help of his buddhism) an utter ****, and we are his enablers.
*In the latest reported quarter $13.06 billion of a turnover of $46.3 billion in sales was posted as the profit. That is a rate of over 28%. CEOs and shareholders of almost all other companies would jizz in their pants if theirs exceeded 5%.