by ANN VANG
On October 23, 2001 Apple released the iPod; on June 29, 2007 Apple released the revolutionary iPhone; on January 23, 2010, Apple released the iPad, and just last year on September 21, 2012, Apple released the iPhone 5. As we are all subjected to hearing on commercials, talk shows, radio shows, movies, etc. anyone who owns an Apple product is said to be “cool” and has one of the most “high tech” products available. Apple is considered to be one of the wealthiest companies around the world. They are known to produce software and products that are satisfying and reliable. They have sewn their image with the projection of being an everyday, people friendly company, but is Apple really what they portray themselves to be? What exactly did Apple do to achieve this image and how did they do it?
Apple Inc. was created on April 1, 1976 by three intelligent men, Steve Wozniak, Ronald Wayne, and Steve Jobs. Together, they introduced the world to their first product, a personal computer. They decided to continue producing more computers to compete with IBM and Microsoft, the other two big computer companies at the time. To bolster sales, Steve Jobs created an iconic commercial in 1984, which is still one of the best commercial to date. The commercial involved people in a zombie-like state walking in single file into an auditorium that plays a man on screen who is telling them what they ought to do. Then a woman carrying a hammer throws the hammer at the screen releasing the people from their trance. This commercial suggests that Apple could and would release people from the monopoly that Microsoft and IBM had on the people. Though the commercial was a success, Apple failed to capture any customers from Microsoft and IBM.
The years of 86-97 was considered a decade of decline for Apple. Many of their products on the market had little to no success even though they focused their agenda on providing customers with cheap and easy to use products and software. It was only until the release of the iPod that Apple destined itself to be one of the world’s wealthiest companies. With the success of the iPod, Apple was able to launch the iPhone and later iPad. Product after product, and today Apple users continue demanding for more.
Indeed, Apple is one of the world’s best technology companies; they gained the reputation of being a customer friendly business, but are they as friendly as we think? One of the most evident occurrences that highlights the monopoly of Apple took place on April 2010. As an associate of Apple Inc. left a bar, he also left his iPhone 5 prototype behind; later that night, a person took the device and sold it to an online tech blog. As the tech blog was revealing features of the new phone, Apple discovered his actions and demanded for the product back. Subsequently, Apple’s missing prototype was returned, but Apple proceeded in gathering a couple “tech securities” and obtained a warrant to search the tech blogger’s house for further files that had anything to do with the iPhone 5. Apple then threatened the person who sold the iPhone to the tech blogger. After all this, Apple still got away with their actions.
Not only has Apple become a monopoly but has been numerous times, reported on the news in relation to incidents such as violating human rights, having incredibly strict product secrets, having private deals, and much more. Furthermore, recently last year, Apple’s factory in China was reported by the media to be one of the worst factories to work in. They subjected their workers to horrible hours, incredibly low pay, and they employed underage workers. Not only did it consist of those violations, but there were also many suicides that occurred at the factory. It was so terrible that the company eventually had to install nets to prevent anyone from attempting suicide.
Apple has gone from a company that suggested they were a customer friendly company who would dissolve a monopoly, to becoming a monopoly themselves. They went from a spiraling decline to the wealthiest company in the world. Their products may have revolutionized the world, but that does not exclude them from violating human rights. Apple Inc. has become the product that they set out to destroy. With their 1984 commercial, Apple instilled in their audience that Apple was a company that would release the people from the monopoly of Microsoft, the software that was invading people’s privacy. Twenty-nine years since the commercial’s release, we find ourselves in the monopoly of, not Microsoft, but Apple.