Apple introduced a business code to solidify the four main principles of the company’s integrity: honesty, respect, confidentiality and compliance. Their corporate culture relies heavily on the guidelines introduced by Steve Jobs, such as being open to discussion and disputes. Apple faced multiple ethical issues, including those of privacy, intellectual property and ecology, and strives to answer those concerns according to the principle of honesty. Thus, they responded to the “green” concerns with admitting that majority of emissions comes from their products. Further steps on the higher level were taken too: switching to the 100% alternative renewable energy in order to reduce the emission levels. As a way of addressing concerns about work conditions, Apple claimed to have educated 6 million workers on their rights, keeping true to the principle of respect. The current CEO, Tim Kook, personally examines labor conditions firsthand, adhering to Apple’s philosophy introduced by Steve Jobs – cutting through the layers of managerial line to resolve the issue directly.
Apple presents their production as “innovative and high-quality”. The 2007 introduction of iPhone has shifted the market and Apple since tries to maintain the level by introducing new products each year. The smartphone boom on the market and fluctuation between PC and Mac make it difficult to predict the company’s future sale rates, therefore Apple tries to compensate by implementing the top technological innovations and carefully presenting them in the revolutionary light. This objective of quick innovations, however, raises concerns about working conditions. Cases of suicide, underage labor and inappropriate work environment resulted in stains on Apple’s reputation and drops in sales. Apple addressed the issue by implementing work hour limits. Another controversy is the company’s response to rioting at the 2012 Beijing sales of iPhone 4S. The crowd of about 2,000 people waiting for the phone release outside the store alarmed the police, resulting in postponing the shop’s opening. The masses attacked the mall property manager, mistaken for an Apple employee, and after were encouraged by the company to purchase iPhone online or via authorized sellers.
I assume that Apple has yet to enhance the level of addressing ethical concerns. Effective decisions, as well as ignorance, have both taken place throughout the company’s history. The latter is, for instance, Apple’s privacy issue, which manifests in tracking consumers’ information. Besides, the infamous leaking celebrities’ nude pictures from iCloud in 2014 also lacked proper response. In both cases, the company blamed technological issues, later introducing stringent passwords and adding a few more levels of encryption to the infrastructure of iPhone and iCloud. To my mind, justifying such information leaks with mere glitches in the system is lack of sufficient problem solving. Apple fails to address the issue on the whole, e.g. to change the information storage policy. As for the positive example of responding to the ethical concerns, Apple reorganized their working environment to match the “green” standards. Apart from offering transit subsidies to the employees who use public transportation, powering free buses with biodiesel, the company also invested $850 million in switching to solar power as a way of balancing out their overall negative environmental impact. Apple has shown conscious efforts to properly address the existing issues, yet further improvements in the company’s policy are needed.