Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 1st Aug 2017 00:35 UTC
Apple

Earlier today, John Gruber linked to this piece, and I couldn't help but roll my eyes at the superior orders defense. Gruber later followed up with a more detailed article, and wondered what I think Apple should do.

Too many people reacting to this story think that it's about Apple deciding to acquiesce to this particular demand regarding VPN apps. It's not. The real issues are two-fold:

  • Should Apple being doing business in China at all?
  • Should the App Store remain the only way to install apps on iOS devices?

Neither of these are simple topics, and I would (and am about to) argue that neither question has a clear-cut "this is the right thing to do" answer.

Nonsense. In both of these cases, it's very "clear-cut" what "the right thing to do" is.

  1. No.
  2. No.

Since the App Store question is obvious - my computer, my rules, my software, get out - let's move on to the China question. The only reason this issue is supposedly not "clear-cut" is because we live in a society that values money over people. People like John Gruber argue that Google's advertising practices and data collection are bad and evil, but in one breath argue that it's okay for Apple to buddy up to totalitarian regimes like the ones in China or Saudi-Arabia that have complete and utter disregard for human rights because it's good for Apple.

You can certainly make that argument - and each and every one of us uses products that either depend on or are made in totalitarian regimes - but don't try to justify it or claim there's no clear right and wrong here. Collaborating with such regimes is clearly wrong, period. No ifs, buts, or maybes, and by buying products made in China or by putting Saudi-Arabian oil in our cars we are all complicit, whether we like it or not.

We like to make it seem as if right and wrong are cloudy, nebulous concepts, but in reality, they rarely are. The only thing that's cloudy and nebulous is our own cognitive dissonance and the twisting, contorting, and justifying we - as a society - do to solve it.

Order by: Score:
Absolutely
by Poseidon on Tue 1st Aug 2017 01:59 UTC
Poseidon
Member since:
2009-10-31

I would love for all phone makers to open up their phones to install your own operating system and to standardize the systems, much like IBM computers way back in the day, but considering that IBM compatible computers are actually going the way of cellphones right now... I can only recommend everyone to get on board with the standardization, otherwise you'll all be basically having hardware as a service instead of hardware as general purpose computing devices.

Reply Score: 3

Passion of the Holwerda :)
by Alfman on Tue 1st Aug 2017 02:55 UTC
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

Thom Holwerda,

The only reason this issue is supposedly not "clear-cut" is because we live in a society that values money over people. People like John Gruber argue that Google's advertising practices and data collection are bad and evil, but in one breath argue that it's okay for Apple to buddy up to totalitarian regimes like the ones in China or Saudi-Arabia that have complete and utter disregard for human rights because it's good for Apple.


Yes, there's a lot of hypocrisy. I don't follow john gruber, but I'd agree with his conclusion here, this would be the best outcome even though apple's not going to do it for their usual business reasons.

Keep iOS App Store-only by default. Add a preference in Settings to allow apps to be downloaded from “identified developers” (those with an Apple developer certificate) in addition to the App Store. In that scenario, the App Store is no longer a single choke point for all native apps on the device.

The App Store was envisioned as a means for Apple to maintain strict control over the software running on iOS devices. But in a totalitarian state like China (or perhaps Russia, next), it becomes a source of control for the totalitarian regime.

I don’t expect Apple to do this. They’d rather deal with the negative consequences of the App Store as a choke point than give up the benefits (including the profits) of maintaining complete control over all software on the platform.1 But if you’re angry about Apple’s role in this VPN crackdown in China, I suggest you direct your anger at the App Store as the single source for third-party software.



However I think he may be over confident about the security of imessage in china:
The thing I keep thinking about is that iMessage and FaceTime are among the few protocols available inside China with end-to-end encryption. The Chinese just started blocking WhatsApp a few weeks ago. I don’t know why they allow iMessage and FaceTime to continue working, but they do, and both of those protocols are designed from the ground up to only work using end-to-end encryption. There is no “off switch” for iMessage encryption that Apple can flip inside China. If you’re using iMessage, it’s encrypted. It would surprise no one if China started blocking iMessage and FaceTime, but for now, their availability is a real benefit to the people of China that seems to go largely unrecognized.



Here's a link about the imessage privacy problems that lead to the possibility of wiretapping:

https://www.wired.com/2015/09/apple-fighting-privacy-imessage-still-...

Basically while the encryption is end to end, the encryption keys used are still actually supplied by apple's servers. Therefor china could make a government request to intercept the imessage communications of a user and apple could technically comply by instructing the client to use the government's encryption keys.

We could implicitly trust apple not to do this, but we don't know for sure and in theory a wiretapping deal may be why china banned whatsapp and not imessage. It would totally invalidate john gruber's claim that apple's staying in china provides better security for the people of china.


It would have made sense to include john gruber on this but he's on twitter and I'm not, oh well.

Edited 2017-08-01 03:13 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Jailbreak
by Soulbender on Tue 1st Aug 2017 03:07 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

my computer, my rules, my software, get out


So jailbreak it then. Apple is under no obligation to make this easy for you but neither can they forbid you from doing so. If you don't like their rules and obstacles, use something else.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Jailbreak
by Alfman on Tue 1st Aug 2017 04:42 UTC in reply to "Jailbreak"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Soulbender,

So jailbreak it then. Apple is under no obligation to make this easy for you but neither can they forbid you from doing so.


I'm against having to use security flaws to break into my own devices, and you should be too. If there are security flaws, then that puts us at risk. We need to encourage everyone to keep updated, yet if I allow an update that fixes vulnerabilities I depend on for access, then I'll have to contend with loosing my own access. This is an absolutely unfair position to put us in, it is a terrible mechanism for giving consumers more options, and we should be ashamed that this is where the industry's at.

What we really need is an official, documented process to unlock our own devices. It doesn't necessarily have to be too easy, but it's totally unacceptable to suggest device exploits are the way forward for consumers who want to make alternative choices.


If you don't like their rules and obstacles, use something else.


This is always the easy way out for companies that have objectionable practices: go somewhere else. But the argument falls flat when there's too little competition and the needs of the minority become completely marginalized by the dominant players. It's not good enough to have a right in theory if that right is effectively overridden in practice.


It is a bad and dangerous idea to allow the world's most powerful corporations to control what consumers can do on their own devices, and yet I know the people will keep embracing the shackles. They always do. The tragedy is that so many people who are indifferent to open computing are nevertheless playing such a large role in deciding it's fate through their inaction.

Edited 2017-08-01 04:55 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Jailbreak
by moondevil on Tue 1st Aug 2017 05:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Jailbreak"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

But the argument falls flat when there's too little competition and the needs of the minority become completely marginalized by the dominant players. It's not good enough to have a right in theory if that right is effectively overridden in practice.


The competition only becomes bigger if enough people care to join.

Same thing have been said about GNU/Linux 20 years ago, it was a tiny worthless competition to the UNIXes of the day.

So either pick conformism or fight for your rights.

Fighting is always the hardest path and victory is not a guarantee.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by leos
by leos on Tue 1st Aug 2017 03:23 UTC
leos
Member since:
2005-09-21

No ifs, buts, or maybes, and by buying products made in China or by putting Saudi-Arabian oil in our cars we are all complicit, whether we like it or not.


So you have one view and say that clearly that must be the one correct view. How original.

What is better for the Chinese people? To be prosperous and bring more people into the middle class by being the world's factory, or by being desperately poor because everyone in the world decided to refuse to trade with them?

How many desperately poor countries do you know that have excellent human rights records? Guess what, people start caring about human rights when their basic needs are met. No surprise that the rich countries start putting more emphasis on this stuff than the poor. But of course, according to you it's evil to buy stuff from China and everyone that disagrees is clearly wrong.

Edited 2017-08-01 03:24 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Comment by leos
by unclefester on Tue 1st Aug 2017 08:56 UTC in reply to "Comment by leos"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

How many desperately poor countries do you know that have excellent human rights records?




A modern Chinese person has far fewer human rights than a Roman citizen had 2000 years ago. The Roman would have earned the equivalent about $2/day.

Iceland has had a parliament since 930. That was over 1000 years of extreme poverty combined with human rights.

Switzerland was the poorest country in Europe in the mid-19th century. They had direct democracy.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by leos
by pwjazz on Tue 1st Aug 2017 11:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by leos"
pwjazz Member since:
2006-07-29

"Roman Citizen" was a fairly restricted category. For one thing, only Men could have full citizenship. For another thing, a significant portion of people living in Roman territory were slaves. If you had asked them, I bet they'd gladly have traded their position as slave for a job at Foxconn.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by leos
by unclefester on Tue 1st Aug 2017 09:10 UTC in reply to "Comment by leos"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Guess what, people start caring about human rights when their basic needs are met.


In practice the exact opposite happens. Despots try to "buy off" protests with generous welfare and gifts. This is readily apparent in places like China, Saudi Arabia and Chavez-era Venezuela. Eventually they run out of money and the system totally collapses.

Edited 2017-08-01 09:11 UTC

Reply Score: 2

kcorey
Member since:
2007-11-06

Being an American, I am watching with stunned horror as Trump drags the US ever closer to tyranny...wondering when, if ever, the cancer will be removed.

What country in the world these days isn't "totalitarian" to some degree? It was true under Obama, but Trump is actively telling his police to use violence.

If we stop doing business in totalitarian society...where would we do business?

I strongly agree that we should be able to do as we want with our devices without going through a security vulnerability.

Manufacturer lock-in is disgusting.

Reply Score: 1

3rd party sources
by nicubunu on Tue 1st Aug 2017 06:35 UTC
nicubunu
Member since:
2014-01-08

On one hand, is worrisome, now China and Russia are blocking VPNs, UK and USA will follow in line at some point, ultimately everyone will block them. On the other, Apple basically had no choice but comply, as they will have no choice when USA will ask the same.
The only way out would be a way to allow users to install software from 3-rd party sources, something Apple won't do in the foreseeable future.

Reply Score: 3

Totally disagree.
by Alex Hitech on Tue 1st Aug 2017 08:15 UTC
Alex Hitech
Member since:
2005-12-29

In my opinion, hardware and software should be licensed, not sold. This is the only way the developer can prevent modification of its product, keep its know-hows intact, and yes, preventing modifications is good. If I create something, why should I let anyone modify it if I don't want to? (If I want to - no problem, I can publish it under a license that allows modifications to hardware and/or software, but this should be up to the creator). My product - my rules. Develop your own phone, your own OS, and modify it as much as you like, but why touch mine? Just because it's popular? Well, it's popular precisely because I forbid tinkering with it!

App store of any kind is the only way to guarantee that the only apps to be installed onto my product are the ones I approve. And again, if you want to install whatever you want, develop your own platform and do what you like. But on my platform I set the rules.

This is called capitalism. And success of fully proprietary companies like Apple shows that people actually support it. Being closed platform allows better testing, higher quality and overall better user experience. You may argue as much as you like, but facts speak for themselves: apps developed by large companies are of better quality and have bigger number of users than their homemade analogs.

Naturally, companies must ensure their revenues; they have to pay their workers. And they can afford higher numbers of better developers. It's a circle: they can pay more, therefore they hire more of high-quality developers and perform more thorough testing, therefore their software is just better than freeware open-source community-driven competitors which are being developed on a basis of a free time. Since people want to earn, and being high-paid developer is better than being low-paid or community-financed (how many community-supported developers make gross salaries of 8000 US$ per month, which is an average salary of a mid-grade developer in just about any SW company? Sure you can name some, but almost every developer in a SW company earns that much), people are totally good with this circle. Well, whatever is supported by majority is good, this is the foundation stone of democracy. Let's not argue about the argumentum ad populum here.

Socialism (as in "let's everyone cooperate to achieve mutual progress") does not work, because of lack of competition. I was born in a country that tried to build socialism for 74 years. There was no competition for customer's money at all. Guess what, capitalism, where everybody is encouraged to fight, guards their interests and defends their property, is just plain better. It has better quality of life, it has higher rate of progress and it is much better in stimulating people to create, improve and develop, — precisely because anyone that wants to modify something high-level is driven to create it first. Now, capitalism allows the creator to decide what to do with his products, and it's perfectly acceptable to say "I don't want you to look inside, to modify or to change the thing I've created, thank you very much; if you want anything to play with, go and build your own toys. Either you take my product as is and use it as I allow you to, or go and create something of your own". License, don't sell. It's good, because it pays my bills, while opening the guts to the whole world usually doesn't.

Now, don't get me wrong, all software I write outside of my work I publish under CC license with open source. It's because I don't depend on it to make my living. If I were, believe me it would be as non-free as I could make it.

I won't even enter the human rights problem here, but be assured I totally disagree on this matter as well.

Obviously, you may click "Dislike" on this comment, or even ban me out of this site, and I foresee lots of dislikes to this comment because the entire site is totally utterely socialistic, but some things should be said even if it may hurt afterwards. Socialism does not work, period. Been there, tried that, fled out.

Reply Score: 0

RE: Totally disagree.
by unclefester on Tue 1st Aug 2017 09:03 UTC in reply to "Totally disagree."
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Socialism does not work, period.


Except in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France and at least a dozen other countries.

New Zealand managed to combine the world's highest standard of living with socialism for over a century. This didn't come to an end until Britain joined the EU and severely limited food imports from NZ.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Totally disagree.
by Athlander on Tue 1st Aug 2017 22:34 UTC in reply to "RE: Totally disagree."
Athlander Member since:
2008-03-10

He's one of those people who has confused socialism with communism - your examples won't make sense to him.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Totally disagree.
by loic on Tue 1st Aug 2017 09:04 UTC in reply to "Totally disagree."
loic Member since:
2012-09-23

The final state of capitalism is either the profitable equilibrium (inflated prices, of course), or collusion between companies which is even more profitable. If you want a clear picture of capitalism at play, look at Google, Apple, Facebook, AT&T, Time Warner (internet access provider), Microsoft and think for a while.
Those companies are behemoths which are big enough to influence countries to create and modify laws to get more profit and crush competition. Or they can at least slow down competition enough to get boatloads of money.
And man, the consumer is treated as a cash cow and does not really benefit of all of this stuff. Do you think that all those US consumers which are still stuck with a flaky 1MB/s xDSL line and only one available service provider benefits from capitalism? Do you think that all of those European countries crushed by the debts of these countries, because they saved the too big to fail banks, and these people which are basically slaved by banks do profit from capitalism?
You have got a bad case of Stockholm syndrome.

Capitalism does not work. Or worse it works as intended: the rich get richer and the others get poorer.

Edited 2017-08-01 09:05 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Totally disagree.
by Alex Hitech on Tue 1st Aug 2017 09:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Totally disagree."
Alex Hitech Member since:
2005-12-29

If you want a clear picture of capitalism at play, look at Google, Apple, Facebook, AT&T, Time Warner (internet access provider), Microsoft and think for a while.


Looking very closely. I started working for Microsoft eight years ago.

Those companies are behemoths which are big enough to influence countries to create and modify laws to get more profit and crush competition.


I personally see it as a natural selection: the strongest survives. If a competitor is not strong enough to overcome whatever is thrown at it, it's rightfully ought to be crushed.

Capitalism does not work. Or worse it works as intended: the rich get richer and the others get poorer.


Nothing wrong with it either. I once wrote a rather lengthy essay supporting social inequality. I think rich should be rich unless they are extremely dumb, in which case they will soon become poor (see Barbara Hutton), and poor should be poor except they are extremely brilliant, and in that case they will eventually become rich (see Mark Zuckerberg). Anyone who is poor and stays poor is by definition not brilliant enough. And don't get me wrong, I supported these claims even when I was an unemployed student, long before arriving to the 6% of people with highest salaries in my country.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Totally disagree.
by unclefester on Tue 1st Aug 2017 09:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Totally disagree."
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Nothing wrong with it either. I once wrote a rather lengthy essay supporting social inequality. I think rich should be rich unless they are extremely dumb, in which case they will soon become poor (see Barbara Hutton), and poor should be poor except they are extremely brilliant, and in that case they will eventually become rich (see Mark Zuckerberg). Anyone who is poor and stays poor is by definition not brilliant enough. And don't get me wrong, I supported these claims even when I was an unemployed student, long before arriving to the 6% of people with highest salaries in my country.


Barbara Hutton was never poor. Mark Zuckerberg is the son of a dentist and psychiatrist. He was born a 1%er.

Edited 2017-08-01 09:42 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Totally disagree.
by Alex Hitech on Tue 1st Aug 2017 09:56 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Totally disagree."
Alex Hitech Member since:
2005-12-29

Barbara Hutton was never poor. Mark Zuckerberg is the son of a dentist and psychiatrist. He was born a 1%er.

Well, in my opinion, reduction in funds from US$ 50M to 3000 is obvious fall into poverty. And rising from being son of a dentist and a psychiatrist to US$ 33,6B is obviously enrichment.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Totally disagree.
by kwan_e on Tue 1st Aug 2017 12:44 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Totally disagree."
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

You're hoping your little bait and switch will distract people from the fact that your original argument has been bollocked.

Reply Score: 3

RE[6]: Totally disagree.
by Alex Hitech on Tue 1st Aug 2017 13:32 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Totally disagree."
Alex Hitech Member since:
2005-12-29

You're hoping your little bait and switch will distract people from the fact that your original argument has been bollocked.

Not at all. See, there are lots of dentists and psychiatrists, but very few of their children invent anything comparable to Facebook. Mark succeeded to build his riches entirely by himself, he did not use powers of his parents (what power does a dentist have, anyway?) And if it is not enough, take the case of Sergey Brin, who is a child of immigrants, — immigrants from a socialistic country, BTW. His parents were never wealthy. Now he owns Google.

I just want to show that those who are brilliant will make their way up no matter what was their starting point. I can literally drown you with examples: Mao Zedong was a peasant, Twyford was a potter, Henry Ford was a farmer worker. Social inequality does not prevent poor people from becoming rich, if they are good enough. Social inequality does not prevent rich people from becoming poor, if they are dumb enough. The whole argument about equality or lack of is, therefore, irrelevant.

Reply Score: 1

RE[7]: Totally disagree.
by Alfman on Tue 1st Aug 2017 15:24 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Totally disagree."
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

Alex Hitech,

Not at all. See, there are lots of dentists and psychiatrists, but very few of their children invent anything comparable to Facebook. Mark succeeded to build his riches entirely by himself, he did not use powers of his parents (what power does a dentist have, anyway?) And if it is not enough, take the case of Sergey Brin, who is a child of immigrants, — immigrants from a socialistic country, BTW. His parents were never wealthy. Now he owns Google.


You seem to be unfamiliar with zuckerberg's origins. He was actually contracted to build the social networking site and then walked off the job keeping it for himself. The original inventors sued and won $65million for their loss, although they didn't get their baby back. That's not to say there aren't much more ethical examples to make your point, but even so that doesn't make it statistically representative.

We need to address the elephant in the room: inequality is problematic regardless of how we got here. You can't justify policies that hurt the poor and middle classes just because you can point out some minorities that managed to escape. It's still wrong.

I like the idea of all boats rising, but in many parts of the world we've been taken over by a very nasty elite ruling class seeking to increase their own billions even when it comes at the expense of middle class families below them. That's indescribably selfish.

Reply Score: 3

RE[7]: Totally disagree.
by galvanash on Tue 1st Aug 2017 15:38 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Totally disagree."
galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Not at all. See, there are lots of dentists and psychiatrists, but very few of their children invent anything comparable to Facebook.


Very few of their children attend Harvard either (or another other top 10 school). The ones that do though, for the most part, usually end up having opportunities that others do not.

Being brilliant is not all there is to it, or even most of it. The real key to success for such people are the opportunities they were afforded and the people they meet along the way.

There are thousands of brilliant kids that don't get noticed for one reason or another. They don't get to go to Harvard or Yale, not because they are not smart enough, they are simply not afforded opportunities to demonstrate and grow their abilities and no one notices them early enough. They do not have parents wealthy enough to pay Harvard tuition. They go to community/state college, get a job, and lead a normal life. Some are happy, some are not, just like everyone else. They never got a chance to reach their potential, having never met the right people at the right time. They are not failures, many are arguably happy and successful, but they never reached their true potential.

Mark succeeded to build his riches entirely by himself, he did not use powers of his parents (what power does a dentist have, anyway?)


The power to pay Harvard tuition...

Imo, Mark Zuckerberg, brilliant or not, owes a great debt to his parents affluence - because that enabled him to explore opportunities most people never get. He met people that shaped his future there, and he was there because his parents were rich.

I'm not saying he wasn't smart enough to go to Harvard, by all accounts he is a very smart man. However, he didn't get to go to Harvard because he was smart. He got to go because his parents could pay for it. He possibly could have reached his potential without such assistance and connections, but we won't know because he didn't have to.

And if it is not enough, take the case of Sergey Brin, who is a child of immigrants, — immigrants from a socialistic country, BTW. His parents were never wealthy. Now he owns Google.


Much better example to make your case, but I would argue that there are far fewer examples such as him...

I just want to show that those who are brilliant will make their way up no matter what was their starting point.


That is horseshit. I believe that if you work hard enough you can make your way up, but that isn't the same thing. Brilliance is not in and of itself all that uncommon - it goes untapped far too often and is never recognized.

Saying you can make it if you work hard is not the same thing as saying affluence doesn't matter. If definitely matters.

I can literally drown you with examples: Mao Zedong was a peasant, Twyford was a potter, Henry Ford was a farmer worker. Social inequality does not prevent poor people from becoming rich


No, it doesn't. It just makes it much harder is all.

Social inequality does not prevent rich people from becoming poor, if they are dumb enough.


No, it doesn't. It just makes it much harder is all.

The whole argument about equality or lack of is, therefore, irrelevant.


If you truly believe that I hope when your children turn 18 you put them out and let them find their own way. Your entitled to your own philosophy on life, but please don't be a hypocrite...

All I'm saying is if Mark Zuckerberg's parents held your beliefs he probably would be working a mid level programming job in White Plains right now for an insurance agency or something. Not a failure by any stretch, but Facebook certainly would have never happened...

For every Sergey Brin you can name there are hundreds of Mark Zuckerbergs...

Reply Score: 4

RE[7]: Totally disagree.
by unclefester on Wed 2nd Aug 2017 04:12 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Totally disagree."
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

I've got two friends who were in the top 0.01% of STEM students in Iran (far smarter than Gates, Musk, Zuckerberg or Brin). They never got higher than middle management in Iran. They now work as graduate level data analysts in Australia.

I went to university with the top science student in Australia - 35 years later he has a one person law practice. Another friend who was in the top 0.1% of science students is a self-employed developer currently seeking work.
.
I also have a friend of extremely modest IQ who went to a top private school and probably the worst university in Australia. He is now now worth over AUD100 million mostly due to his connections.

Edited 2017-08-02 04:14 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Totally disagree.
by Kochise on Tue 1st Aug 2017 09:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Totally disagree."
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

Capitalism does not work. Or worse it works as intended: the rich get richer and the others get poorer.


Maybe that was the initial motive to get it accepted. Who promoted it in the first place ?

Reply Score: 2

No.
by The123king on Tue 1st Aug 2017 09:22 UTC
The123king
Member since:
2009-05-28

You want to do business in a foriegn country, you follow their rules.

You don't follow their rules, you don't do business. Therefore you lose out on potential profit from a market you are not participating in.

If Apple was to stop doing business in china, saudi arabia, their left with an Android monopoly. And with the way i've seen you post about monopolies, thom, i'm sure that's an outcome you wouldn't like to see too ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE: No.
by Kochise on Tue 1st Aug 2017 13:23 UTC in reply to "No."
Kochise Member since:
2006-03-03

There is less incentive to get Android monopoly since there are many OEM doing Android stuff (phones, tablets, netbooks) than only Apple doing iOS stuff. The Android ecosystem is sure Google driven, but is more open than you think ie. (custom roms).

Reply Score: 2

Comment Title
by Dr.Cyber on Tue 1st Aug 2017 09:37 UTC
Dr.Cyber
Member since:
2017-06-17

Most large American companies buddy up with the American government which is just as bad. Forced taxes, lots of lobbying, no meaningfull way to vote, lots of victimless crimes in the law, etc. The USA keeps getting more totalitarian. But it goes slowly over the generations so almost no one notices it.

Apple has had the power to dictate what people can and cannot do with their own devices for years and it is obviously by design. People who care about this have had plenty of time to abandon Apple.

Reply Score: 1

Comment by nrlz
by nrlz on Tue 1st Aug 2017 10:06 UTC
nrlz
Member since:
2006-01-27

> ... argue that it's okay for Apple to buddy up to totalitarian regimes like the ones in China or Saudi-Arabia that have complete and utter disregard for human rights

I think you are exaggerating the "utter disregard" part. China has more human rights and freedoms than you may imagine.

Many of those rights and freedoms arose because of the information age, due to governments not being able to hide in anonymity and the spread of legal advise online.

Most people in China's foray with the internet started on a smartphone, so it can be said that the smartphone age made freedom and human rights more "accessible" to the layman.

Reply Score: 1

if only it was so clear cut
by codifies on Tue 1st Aug 2017 10:47 UTC
codifies
Member since:
2014-02-14

"...and by buying products made in China "

the alternative is not buying products from China, if that were to happen, would it be expectable to wait while how many people starve ?

While there are certainly poor employment issues (to say the least) people are only working in these desperate conditions because they have no other avenue, remove even that and their life could easily be even bleaker

There are very rarely YES/NO answers in life, computers and programming are so much simpler than real life... (which is probably why I derive so much pleasure from them!)

Reply Score: 1

Not so clear cut
by jessesmith on Tue 1st Aug 2017 12:33 UTC
jessesmith
Member since:
2010-03-11

Thom claims the issue is clear cut, that Apple should not sell phones in China. I don't see why not. I'm all in favour of Apple making it easier to install third-party apps, but I don't see any reason for them to pull out of the Chinese market. Why shouldn't they sell their wares there, like any other company?

The USA has horrible, draconian laws compared to many other countries of the world, and a history of spying on its citizens. Does that mean Apple should stop selling devices there too?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Not so clear cut
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 1st Aug 2017 13:51 UTC in reply to "Not so clear cut"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

that Apple should not sell phones in China.


I never actually argued this at all. I only argued that dealing with totalitarian regimes is morally wrong, and that no amount of mental gymnastics can make it morally right.

I deliberately did not answer the actual question about whether or not companies should be active in totalitarian regimes.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Not so clear cut
by Wondercool on Tue 1st Aug 2017 19:30 UTC in reply to "RE: Not so clear cut"
Wondercool Member since:
2005-07-08

May I ask you a personal question Thom? Not long ago you proudly announced on Twitter that you bought an iPad Pro (for a lot of money - my addition).

Do you regret that decision in the light of this development?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Not so clear cut
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 1st Aug 2017 19:42 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Not so clear cut"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

May I ask you a personal question Thom? Not long ago you proudly announced on Twitter that you bought an iPad Pro (for a lot of money - my addition).

Do you regret that decision in the light of this development?


The answer to that question is actually in this article: "...and each and every one of us uses products that either depend on or are made in totalitarian regimes...".

The point of this whole article is not to condemn us or companies or governments buddying up to totalitarian regimes - the point is to condemn trying to use mental gymnastics to pretend that it is morally right. None of us can avoid it, unless you live naked in the woods somewhere. The point is to be mindful that your actions have consequences, and that each and every one of us plays a (possibly unavoidable) role in maintaining and propping up really, really bad people.

Edited 2017-08-01 19:43 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Not so clear cut
by Wondercool on Tue 1st Aug 2017 19:51 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Not so clear cut"
Wondercool Member since:
2005-07-08

Well, the way I see it is that Apple keeps doing business in China because it makes them money. A normal principle of (unrestrained) capitalism.

If consumers of Apple products disapprove of that, there is only one thing that will speak to Apple (if enough people do it): don't buy Apple products.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Not so clear cut
by Sabon on Tue 1st Aug 2017 22:10 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Not so clear cut"
Sabon Member since:
2005-07-06

Read my post above. There are few if any countries that have the skilled work force grouped in a small area (a city or nearby that city) that could be employed in mass by a company to make Apple's products.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Not so clear cut
by leos on Wed 2nd Aug 2017 04:37 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Not so clear cut"
leos Member since:
2005-09-21

The point of this whole article is not to condemn us or companies or governments buddying up to totalitarian regimes - the point is to condemn trying to use mental gymnastics to pretend that it is morally right. None of us can avoid it, unless you live naked in the woods somewhere. The point is to be mindful that your actions have consequences, and that each and every one of us plays a (possibly unavoidable) role in maintaining and propping up really, really bad people.


Great, so your advice is to recognize it is wrong (debatable) and not change any behaviour in response to that. And the point is? A person that believes killing animals is wrong but eats meat anyway is functionally no different than a person who believes there is nothing wrong with killing animals for food.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Not so clear cut
by mkone on Fri 4th Aug 2017 22:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Not so clear cut"
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

"that Apple should not sell phones in China.


I never actually argued this at all. I only argued that dealing with totalitarian regimes is morally wrong, and that no amount of mental gymnastics can make it morally right.

I deliberately did not answer the actual question about whether or not companies should be active in totalitarian regimes.
"

Maybe I am missing something Thom, but right in the original post, you repeat Gruber's question "Should Apple being doing business in China at all?", and you answer pretty unequivocally "No".

How would Apple sell phone in China without doing business there? And you are accusing others of mental gymnastics!

Reply Score: 2

Sabon
Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't think you are this stupid. I don't.

The only other alternative is that you are purposely trying to get people angry so they will post.

So you think Apple should be out of China? This means that they should pull all their manufacturing out of China.

Keep in mind that in most countries, the government does tell you what kind of job you are going to have. Such as manufacturing which is mostly gone from the United States.

Even if the Unites States was at it's height with manufacturing where a significant percentage of the US population had a technical enough background to do the jobs as precisely as they are being done in China, there wouldn't be enough people to fill all the jobs. In fact, there would be millions of jobs that would be left unfilled unless the US imported a whole lot of people with the technical skills to do this.

And where exactly would the United States import all these people from? And what would happen to the companies that depended on these people to manufacturing in their country that is suddenly without these employees.

It does not take 1 month or 6 months to train people to have the technical skills to precisely build something like an iPhone. And there is only a certain percentage of the population that has the mind (attention span and intelligence), motor skills, and eye site to do this type of job. The latter even if they were using microscopes mounted on glasses to try to see what they were doing.

Only a small percentage of people in China work in manufacturing jobs. Even then that is millions of people that work in that field.

Only India has nearly the same amount of people in their country. But India has not made it a priority, like China did, to train young people in technical skills. So the amount of people in India that could do this kind of job is not nearly enough to build a factory to build iPhones for the world. They will have a big enough problem building enough iPhones for their own country, assuming they have enough people that can do this.

What other country has over 500 million people? Zero
Population 2017 - Expected pop 2050
1 China 1,388,232,693 - 1,301,627,048
2 India. 1,342,512,706 - 1,656,553,632
3 United States. 326,474,013 - 398,328,349
4 Indonesia. 263,510,146 - 300,183,166
5 Brazil. 211,243,220 - 232,304,177

The United States has the 3rd highest population of the world. And we, the United States of America, do not have enough technically trained people to build all the iPhones, let alone all the other Apple products, in the United States.

And even if we did, you can't have this spread all around the country because it takes billions of dollars for each building so that it has the technology to be able to build all the parts for every iPhone.

It is way past practical. Let's say the United States suddenly decided that this is critical to the United States to move all of just Apple's manufacturing to the United States. Suddenly there would be millions of people needing to move. And then there would be millions of jobs open with nobody that is trained to do these jobs. Plus the support infrastructure, like grocery stores, restaurants, electronic stores, malls in general, just aren't there to support that big of a population in one place. There just aren't enough people to do this.

Unless...

Unless Apple was able to convert all human manufacturing to robot manufacturing. Apple probably couldn't do this either. Because there currently aren't enough robots, not counting the ones that they need, but all robots of any kind added together as a number to do all the manufacturing by robots. It would take years to build all the robots that they need. And they would all have to be calibrated and maintained to work at a very high level in order to supply just the United States, let alone the rest of the world, with iPhones.

So, if the United States, which has only 23% of the population for China, could use robots to build all the iPhones, assuming that all the parts that are made in China are taken into account and everything is mined, processed, and built into products either inside the United States or in another country outside of China and Russia, the numbers for people just aren't there.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_cities

Just so you know, the largest cities by population in the world are:
1 - Shanghia, China with 24 million people
2 - Karachi, Pakistan with 23.5 million people (don't think we want the products built there either)
3 - Beijing, China with 21.5 million people
4 - Delhi, India with with 16.7 million people
5 - Legos, Nigeria with 16 million people, not enough technically trained
6 - Dhaka, Bangladesh with 14.5 million people
7 - Guangzhou, China with 14 million people
8 - Instanbull, Turkey with 14 million people

And so on down the line until you finally come to

24 - NY City, NY, USA with 8.5 million people.
61 - Los Angeles, CA, USA with 3.8 million people.

NY and LA are literally on opposite corners of the United States. Not near each other. Combined they would only make up 12.3 million people would be around the 10th largest city. But they can't be combined because they are on opposite sides of the US.

All the "biggest" cities in the United States are spread out around the country. Most of the cities in the US are well below the 100 largest cities in the world.

Again I ask, where would the United States build factories and who would be employed to work in them. You can't just take people that have YouTube sites or work in most jobs in the United States and put them in a factory building iPhones. There just aren't enough people --capable-- of doing this. Let alone people that would --want-- to do this kind of job.

Which leaves robots. And all that would do is move all the production from China to the US and that would take YEARS to do. In the meantime, the United States has borrowed a lot of money from China.

China could stop all exports to the United States. Yes their economy would crash along with the United States. We buy more from them than any other country. But they would be in a far better place than the United States as our banker would suddenly demand full payment of all loans.

Let's say we don't pay China. They demand full payment and we say no. Who would loan us money? If we had money we wouldn't need to borrow it. Idiots in Washington DC have put us in a VERY bad situation where we owe lots of money to countries.

What could the United States do? Apple has 250 billion dollars in the bank and so do quite a few tech companies. They could seize them and take all their money but the companies themselves, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Facebook, etc., would cease to be. Not because the United States took their money. But because all the products these companies make, are made in China. And if China stops all exports to the United States then all these companies would have to start from scratch to rebuild themselves. Except that the United States took all their money so they could keep the country afloat.

Would they then use the few billions they have left to make loans to the tech companies they stole all their profits from?

Note: They wouldn't just take 100% profits from all the big companies. They would also have to raise taxes on all the citizens of the U.S. causing a depression of major proportions.

Is this what you want? For the U.S. to be destroyed?

Reply Score: 1

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

So you think Apple should be out of China?


I never said any such thing.

But the fact that you felt the urge to so write such a long, borderline frustrated comment based on this premise is the absolute best illustration of my point so far in the comments. Bravo.

Reply Score: 2

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Do you seriously believe that a country (USA) that can design and build the F22 Raptor can't glue a few bits of plastic, glass and metal together to assemble an iPhone?

There is nothing (except greed) stopping Apple from setting up multiple factories in countries other than China. Foxconn is using high school kids - not MIT graduates - to assemble phones.

If Toyota can manage dozens of factories all over the world then Apple can manage dozens of factories in the USA.

Car companies frequently set up new manufacturing plants in other countries. They manage to operate supply chains (many) orders of magnitude more complex than anything Apple is doing.

Edited 2017-08-02 03:39 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Saudi Arabian oil?
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 1st Aug 2017 22:09 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

What decade is this? My automobile petroleum comes from North Dakota.

Reply Score: 2

The greater good of society
by jerkofalltrades on Tue 1st Aug 2017 22:25 UTC
jerkofalltrades
Member since:
2012-12-11

China justifies this as keeping order and for the greater good of their society. It's the problems with collectivization and the end result of socialization and government control of everything. Our moral position is that people have freedom of information and freedom of speech. Their moral position is that some speech and some information is dangerous to the minds and attitudes of their citizens therefor they shouldn't have it. But you are correct Thom, Apple and other corporations are wrong for seeking profits by capitulating to these regimes demands.

Reply Score: 1

Ah America
by Darkmage on Wed 2nd Aug 2017 03:14 UTC
Darkmage
Member since:
2006-10-20

This is why Western civilisation is in free fall collapse and why American leadership is pathetic and stupid. Just look at the Chinese. Right now they are trying to build the largest infrastructure project the world has ever seen to connect 3 continents together. They're prioritising climate change and environmental policy as a matter of urgency and positioning it as necessary for the people. The rest of the world is trying to get on board the Silk Road or at the very least avoid being squashed by it. If America had spent the last half century building up South America into being the manufacturing hub of the world. With shared values to American civilisation of entrepreneurship, commitment to democracy and human rights. Most importantly treating them as an equal partner, instead of trying to lazily outsource everything to third world despots for a quick buck. America would still be making tons of stuff, South America wouldn't be as much of a basket case, and China wouldn't have leverage over anyone. Instead the USA has basically given away control of the whole world to a kleptocratic, authoritarian regime. And Western civilisation is in free fall with no idea of it's place in the world and howto go forward. Extremism and authoritarianism are rapidly gaining ground at the expense of democracy and freedom. Principles matter. Where you buy your stuff from matters. How you yourself conduct your business matters. Things we too quickly threw out which we are going to have to deal with in the next few decades.

Edited 2017-08-02 03:19 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Ah America
by unclefester on Wed 2nd Aug 2017 03:41 UTC in reply to "Ah America"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

China is a Potemkin Village - all show and no substance. It is environmentally, economically and morally bankrupt. The new Silk Road is just old-style colonialism and mercantilism with a new name.

Edited 2017-08-02 03:42 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Suggestions.
by ksec on Wed 2nd Aug 2017 19:04 UTC
ksec
Member since:
2013-04-04

After all this years, I have one simple conclusion / Starting Point / Suggestion for every American on issues with China.

Go and Visit China. Come back and think, let things sink in, go and Visit again in 6 months time, before you make any conclusion.

Few Facts / Stats:
Properly 90%, or even 99% of the Chinese dont give a damn about VPN. And they knew they were Internet censored AND being watched.

Apple knew how many of those VPN Software were installed.

VPN is still available on iOS.

Test Pilot "suddenly" increased its testing limits to 10,000 users.

Reply Score: 1

DrJohnnyFever
Member since:
2012-03-07

The entire argument presupposes that whatever happens to be good for Apple, Inc. is necessarily bad for humanity. Where do you get off to say that people in China would be better off without access to any Apple products than to have access to curated, censored, Apple products. You make about as much sense as those who want sanctions against 'Cuba' (As if Cuba is a single person I guess). Only you are much more intellectually dishonest. Its now your rich, white, cultured and morally superior European decision what people in China should and should not be able to have, buy, sell etc? Get off it.

Reply Score: 1