Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 5th Dec 2017 20:10 UTC
Apple

Reading headlines from the World Internet Conference in China, the casual reader might have come away a little confused. China was opening its doors to the global Internet, some media outlets optimistically declared, while others said Beijing was defending its system of censorship and state control.

And perhaps most confusing of all, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook stood up and celebrated China’s vision of an open Internet.

Say what?

Hardly surprising. This may come as a shock, but with publicly traded companies, you're not the customer; you're the product.

Shareholders are their real customers.

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No
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 5th Dec 2017 20:39 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

Shareholders aren't their customers. Shareholders are their owners. Theoretically, everything they do should be in service of their shareholders. The things they do for their customers are only done on the expectation that they will produce positive returns for their shareholders.

Its the shareholders, not the customers that ultimately should be controlling a company and how it governs its business. Now as customers, we of course can send a message to those shareholders on how we think the management is doing by deciding how to interact or not interact with the company.

But no, large corporations will not just do what customers tell them, absent some financial motivation.

Reply Score: 2

RE: No
by FlyingJester on Tue 5th Dec 2017 22:11 UTC in reply to "No"
FlyingJester Member since:
2016-05-11

Unfortunately, people are lazy, and creatures of habit. And the immediate victims of this act are all in China, where they were already under explicit mass surveillance and censorship. This is a very low-risk move for Apple.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: No
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 6th Dec 2017 16:19 UTC in reply to "RE: No"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Absolutely. Power is disproportionately held in the hands of a few, disinclined to make disruptive changes.

Reply Score: 2

Fundamentally incorrect
by CaptainN- on Tue 5th Dec 2017 22:24 UTC
CaptainN-
Member since:
2005-07-07

That's such a bad understanding of what a company even is, let alone how it works.

The owners of the company are by definition not the company's customers. Share holders are the owners of the company, and are interested in that one reason anyone owns a company, that it generates profits. Who the companies sells to to earn that profit is the customer (Google sells to advertisers, and Apple sells to widget consumers). Companies may raise capital by selling stock, but they don't earn profit from selling shares. The difference is important (unless you think all publically traded companies are basically ponzi schemes, but that's a whole other thing).

There's no need to muddy the water though, or to redefine the terms. An owner does what and owners do, and that's enough to understand it all. Why redefine the terms?

Edited 2017-12-05 22:29 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Fundamentally incorrect
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 5th Dec 2017 22:37 UTC in reply to "Fundamentally incorrect"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

Clearly, my play on the usual “you’re not the customer, you’re the product” has fallen completely flat due to terrible delivery on my end.

...I... I’m going to leave it like this to remind myself to uh, not try and be funny like this. Sorry guys.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Fundamentally incorrect
by CaptainN- on Wed 6th Dec 2017 16:20 UTC in reply to "RE: Fundamentally incorrect"
CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

oh it was a joke! Yeah, I didn't read that at all lol. Some times the wink and nod is hard to convey in text

Reply Score: 2

This is one biased article
by CaptainN- on Tue 5th Dec 2017 22:42 UTC
CaptainN-
Member since:
2005-07-07

The author of this article reads exactly what he wants from Cook's words, and then uses other quotes (who appear to have more finely parsed Cook's participation and words) to bolster a forgone conclusion.

What Cook said ("developing a digital economy for openness and shared benefits") clearly indicates an agenda of his own, and while his presence may, as one interviewee said "Cook’s appearance lends credibility to [Chinese censors]" what he said doesn't really rise to the level of having "endorsed" any Chinese authority's position, outside of some absolutist or hardline perspective that he be either all for China, or all against China.

I'm not sure what the value of this either/or, zero-sum kind of reasoning is. It's almost as if someone has an anti-Apple agenda.

Reply Score: 5

RE: This is one biased article
by cranfordio on Wed 6th Dec 2017 06:03 UTC in reply to "This is one biased article"
cranfordio Member since:
2005-11-10

I was coming here to say the same thing. His statements sounded more like looking towards the future and what they are trying to accomplish. There was no mention of supporting China’s censorship.

Though only somewhat related to this. I often read articles, even here, about Apple supporting China’s censorship and it makes me think of my father-in-law. My FIL was born and raised in Beijing and left in his early twenties and came to the US. He later became a Christian and decided to return to China as a missionary. China doesn’t allow missionaries so he found a way to do it within their laws.

He has often been critized for being in China and not actively evangelizing, and actually working through the Three-Self Church (the State sanctioned Protestant church). His response has always been that if we want the Government of China to see that Christianity is not a threat (opinions on whether or not this is true is not the point of this comment) then one needs to respect the government and their laws and work within those laws. Over time they will come to see that they are not a threat. But, if you choose to disrespect the government by trying to enforce your own beliefs and opinions on how things should be done, then you not only present yourself as a threat to the government, but it only makes them dig in deeper.

In my opinion this is similar to companies like Apple allowing the censorship. They can either respect China’s government and do what is asked of them while keeping an open dialog with those in control and try to influence change through respect. Or, they can decide to ignore their wishes and lose any opportunity to influence change within China, and most likely cause the government to hold onto their beliefs of censorship even tighter.

Not every government in this world works like the US or most of Western Europe. If we choose to try to enforce our beliefs on other governments through disrespect of their laws then we could be doing the people of those countries more harm than we realize. Instead of open, respectful dialog with the governments we end up insulting them, and causing them to dig in and refuse to change.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: This is one biased article
by kwan_e on Wed 6th Dec 2017 11:26 UTC in reply to "RE: This is one biased article"
kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

His response has always been that if we want the Government of China to see that Christianity is not a threat (opinions on whether or not this is true is not the point of this comment) then one needs to respect the government and their laws and work within those laws. Over time they will come to see that they are not a threat. But, if you choose to disrespect the government by trying to enforce your own beliefs and opinions on how things should be done, then you not only present yourself as a threat to the government, but it only makes them dig in deeper.


It doesn't really work with China. Historically, China always absorbs and assimilates. It changes any foreign influence into something friendly, rather than the other way around. Even the Chinese government today resembles the old imperial government more than any Marxist or Socialist vision.

Reply Score: 4

CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

Soviet style communism (which China emulates) isn't really socialist or marxist either - it's more like state capitalism.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: This is one biased article
by Megol on Wed 6th Dec 2017 16:59 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: This is one biased article"
Megol Member since:
2011-04-11

Soviet style communism (which China emulates) isn't really socialist or marxist either - it's more like state capitalism.


China does not have Soviet style communism. The differences are many and fundamental. Calling either state capitalism is wrong or at best meaningless.

And Thom did once more post something obviously false but fitting his biases. One could rightly (IMO) complain about what Tim Cook said _but_ he did't say what is claimed here.

Reply Score: 1

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Soviet style communism (which China emulates) isn't really socialist or marxist either - it's more like state capitalism.


What started off as probably an earnest attempt to introduce Marxism inevitably morphed into something else more Chinese than Western. State capitalism goes right back to the Imperial government.

State capitalism isn't a modern Western invention. Chinese imperial governments have always had their fingers in things like mining, steel production, construction (and the requisite corruption to boot) and foreign trade.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: This is one biased article
by ksec on Wed 6th Dec 2017 12:35 UTC in reply to "RE: This is one biased article"
ksec Member since:
2013-04-04

It doesnt matter any more.

Even, IF the article Print out Tim's Word in the EXACT manner as he said in the speech, people will still, Interpret it as supporting the China's Vision of the Internet.

We dont have a media bias problem, we have a people's bias problem.

Reply Score: 0

Good business or treason
by MadRat on Wed 6th Dec 2017 05:09 UTC
MadRat
Member since:
2006-02-17

So just how does Apple sate China without tripping the Logan Act?

Reply Score: 3

v Not backing it at all
by cranfordio on Wed 6th Dec 2017 12:26 UTC
RE: Not backing it at all
by franksands on Wed 6th Dec 2017 14:29 UTC in reply to "Not backing it at all"
franksands Member since:
2009-08-18

Where in your article does Cook goes against China's censorship? He said he could not be happier with the iPhone's demand there. He also said that he prefers to participate than to complain from outside.
What action is he taking against censorship?

Reply Score: 3

this could have been a good post
by kristoph on Wed 6th Dec 2017 13:11 UTC
kristoph
Member since:
2006-01-01

Thom,

You ruined this post by throwing out your anti-corporate narrative in a clearly biased, generally uninformed, and factually incorrect manner.

Instead, you could have taken a little more time and made the argument that Apple - in it's pursuit of the Chinese market - places more emphasis on appeasing the Chinese governments sensibilities then it does on espousing individual freedoms.

Cook is towing a fine line by effectively endorsing the Chinese governments agenda by participating ( and also getting lots of props from Chinese nationalist social media ) while not actually verbally endorsing any objectionable policy.

]{

Reply Score: 1

Comment by Licaon_Kter
by Licaon_Kter on Wed 6th Dec 2017 22:10 UTC
Licaon_Kter
Member since:
2010-03-19

Funny that Google’s Sundar Pichai (head of Android) was there too... you know, Google, the company that can't have internet services in that country.

Reply Score: 2