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20 Facts about Apple's Business that are Downright Scary

There are people that love and hate Apple in equal measure but no one can deny that it is certainly one of the biggest companies in the world. It has not got to this point without knowing anything about how to operate in the world of business. However, there are some business practices that Apple use which are questionable, to say the least. Some of the scariest business practices and facts about Apple are described in more detail below.

1. Hiring Foxconn For Production

Foxconn is a controversial Chinese electronics manufacturer that Apple uses to produce some of its parts. It is the largest electronics company in the world but there has been concern over the working practices that it uses. In 2010 eighteen people attempted suicide by throwing themselves off the roof of the factory building where they worked.

Apple carried out an investigation themselves into working conditions at Foxconn factories and found that they were using underage workers which they referred to as 'student interns'. While Apple continues to work with Foxconn there will always be a degree of guilt by association.

2. Becoming Part Of The NSA's Prism Project

It was not so much the fact that Apple was involved in this project that people didn't like. If the NSA tell you that you need to be involved then you don't really have a great deal of choice. However, Apple was very vague when they were questioned by journalists about this involvement and this is what a lot of people were not happy with, especially as they had previously denied being connected with the project at all. Apple refused to give a straight answer about how far they were involved in this project and this instantly makes people suspicious.

3. Tax Avoidance

Although Apple does not use any tax avoidance schemes that are illegal, regular people do not like to hear about big businesses that are not paying a fair amount of tax on the billions that they are making. Apple, along with other companies were investigated by the Senate and it was found that they only pay 2% tax on their profits. This is mainly done by funneling money through a series of holding companies and subsidiaries which are based overseas where taxation is far lower. This is not illegal but there are questions about whether it is morally correct.

4. Raising Of Ebook Prices

A judge in Manhatten found Apple to be guilty of colluding with publishers to raise the price of ebooks. Amazon had recently promised that customers would pay no more than $9.99 for a book, even bestsellers. Publishers were not altogether happy with this and were approached by Apple with the suggestion that they could set the prices for any books that were sold by iBooks. Some of these publishers then went on to threaten to leave Amazon unless they rose their prices. Apple has denied any wrongdoing in this matter and it is expected that they will appeal against the court ruling.

5. Potential Use Of Blood Minerals In Their Products

Coltan is a mineral that is used often in electronics because it has several useful properties. It is extremely resistant to high temperatures and can also withhold an electrical charge for a long period of time. Most Coltan that is used in manufacturing is mined in Australia. However, it can also be found in the Congo where it has been mined by rebel groups for financial gain. It is known that these groups sell Coltan to manufacturing companies and there is no way for sure to know whether companies that supply Apple have purchased their Coltan in this way.

6. Employment Of Questionable Staff

It is perhaps to be expected that a company of Apple's size would have hired a few employees in their time that turned out to be the wrong choice. However, there have long been rumors that many of the staff that works in Apple Stores engage in practices that in some cases are illegal. It is apparently not uncommon for stock to disappear altogether with other merchandise being deliberately damaged. There are also reports of customers information being stolen from the genius bar and sales figures being incorrectly entered into Apple systems.

7. Location Data Is Logged Extensively

Every iPhone from the 4 onwards records the exact co-ordinates of its users several times a day along with a time stamp. The data from this is stored in a secret file which is then transferred from your phone to your computer when the device is synced. The real reason that this is an issue is that although the file is meant to be secret, the information is not encrypted. This means that anyone who is able to access this file on your phone will have detailed information about the places that you spend a lot of time.

8. The Problem Of Pollution

There have been several advertising campaigns which Apple have run which suggest that they are more environmentally friendly than most of their competitors. However, research has found that this is not actually the case and that they actually fall below the likes of Samsung and Dell in certain areas. Attention has also been drawn to the fact that some of the data centers that Apple use require vast amount of fossil fuels to keep them running and that Apple do not appear to be making any effort to introduce the use of renewable energy.

9. Getting Rid Of Google Maps

When an iOS update took Google Maps off the iPhones and replaced with Apple Maps instead a lot of people were unhappy. The main reason for this is that Apple did not have the detail and functionality in their maps that people had been used to previously when using the Google version. There have been numerous reports of people getting completely lost when following the directions that Apple Maps gave them. A lot of people have simply downloaded the Google Maps app and continue to use this as it is far more reliable.

10. It Is Not A Nurturing Work Environment

Employees of Apple have been known to say that it is not a place where you feel relaxed when at work. You feel under pressure to perform all of the time rather than being encouraged to do your best. Line managers are often experiencing a great deal of pressure themselves and this gets passed to the people that work under them. There is a chance to progress within the company but this is not an easy task and requires complete dedication. A good balance between work and the rest of your life is not easy to achieve.

11. Employees With Children Are Not Always Treated Fairly

If you are a working parent then you will understand that sometimes your responsibilities as a parent can conflict with your job. Employees that work for Apple know more than most how difficult this can be. They have stated that if they have had to leave work due to a genuine family emergency they have been made to feel really bad about it. It is also not easy for them to work out the flexible working that they sometimes need as parents and it is difficult for them to get the hours that will fit around childcare.

12. The Salary Looks Good But This Is Not Always The Case

Even though Apple employees are paid very well, they certainly have to work hard to earn their money and work a lot of hours. It is not unusual for employees to be required to work overtime several times a week. In some cases they are also required to come into work at the weekends. If you were to add up all the hours that an employee were to spend at work on an average week and convert their salary to an hourly rate, then the pay may not be as impressive as it first seems.

13. Apple Has More Money Than The US Treasury

At any one time Apple has more available cash than the US Treasury. It's made up of cash in the bank and assets that can be easily accessed if needed. Response to this fact has included the fact that the Treasury could just print more money if they wanted to, which is something that Apple are unable to. With so much spare cash to hand, Apple have a great deal of choice about what projects that they want to get involved in next.

14. Your Warranty Will Be Voided If You Smoke Around Your Computer

Apple as a company are strongly against smoking and there is no smoking anywhere in any of their company buildings. It is also a condition of their warranty that you do not smoke around your computer or the warranty will be voided. If you take your computer to an Apple Store, or get an Apple engineer to come out then they will not help you if they can smell smoke on the device. If cigarette smoke does get inside your machine then it can cause damage to the components so it is always a good idea to move away if you do want a cigarette.

15. Apple Does Not Accept Money For Product Placement

Apple does not have anything in place where producers of films and TV shows can request an Apple product to be used in the show. Normally if companies are approached in this way they agree a sum of money that they will be paid to allow their products to be used. The only way to get an Apple product in your film or TV show is if you are approached by Apple directly. They will loan you the product but they do not charge for it.

16. All iPhones In Advertisements Show The Same Time

Whenever you see the iPhone in an advertisement it will always show the time as 9:41. It doesn't matter what model of phone it is or whether the advertisement is online or in print. The reason that this time is shown is that this was the time that the very first iPhone was launched by Steve Jobs back in 2007. This time has been used in every advert for the iPhone for the last ten years and it is unlikely that this will change in the next ten years beyond.

17. If The iPhone Was Made 6 Years Earlier It Would Cost $3 Million

The cost of the technology that was used to develop the first iPhone fell so much in much in the mid 2000s that a single handset would have cost $3 million if it had been made just six years earlier. Developing a phone is likely to have been something that Apple had been thinking of for many years but the cost would have severely limited these plans. As soon as the price of some of the components began to fall then Apple saw the opportunity and the rest is history as they say.

18. Carpenters Are Always On Hand To Build Walls

When Apple starts to work on a new project, it is top secret with only the employees that are working on the project allowed to know anything about it. To this end, it is not uncommon for completely new rooms to be built overnight when a new project is due to start. There are a team of carpenters that are always on hand in case a wall needs to go up quickly. If you do not have access to these areas you will be completely in the dark about what is going on.

19. New Employees Are Often Put On Fake Projects

Just because you have got a job at Apple, doesn't mean that you are going to be trusted immediately. It is not uncommon for new employees to be put on projects that are completely fake. If news of this project gets out, then Apple will know exactly where it has come from. Employees have to prove their loyalty and their discretion before they will be asked to contribute to any real projects. This is the reason that virtually no details of any product are released without Apple wanting you to know about it.

20. Steve Jobs Was Only Paid $1 Per Year As CEO

You should not feel too sorry for him as he had a fortune of over $10 billion, but Steve Jobs was only paid a token amount of $1 per year. The fact that he was paid by the company meant that he had access to the health care package that Apple provides to all its employees. This is something that other top executives do at other companies as well such as Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook. Most of Jobs fortune came from the shares that he owned in Apple and also Disney Pixar.

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Garrett Parker

Written by Garrett Parker

Garrett by trade is a personal finance freelance writer and journalist. With over 10 years experience he's covered businesses, CEOs, and investments. However he does like to take on other topics involving some of his personal interests like automobiles, future technologies, and anything else that could change the world.

Read more posts by Garrett Parker

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