Apple’s Steve Jobs Should Do An Episode of Undercover Boss

I used to be  a big fan of Steve Jobs and Apple. But lately he’s been acting like a bully and a tyrant. Apple’s unashamed embrace of greed and it’s insatiable need to dominate the universe is troubling. Someone should film an expose on him. Where are Oliver Stone and Michael Moore when you need them?

It’s now clear there’s something rotten to the core at Apple. There’s the glaring disconnect between their actual behavior and carefully crafted public image of Apple being a socially conscious, artsy fartsy, “cool” company. Apple used to be fighting against the man; now Apple is the man.

The list of Apple’s shenanigans is legendary and far too numerous to catalog but here are a few that deserve special mention:

Job’s decision to not allow the iPad to run any Adobe Flash is misguided and not in the best interests of the consumer. Never mind that a host of Adobe anchor applications such as Photoshop and Illustrator helped Apple ingratiate themselves with the liberal arts community that have always been traditional supporters of the Mac.

Then there’s restrictive nature of Apple having to approve all apps for the iPhone and iPad. You can create an app and submit it to Apple and there is no guarantee whatsoever that your app will ever get approved. It’s just another example of how Jobs and company is going against the grain in a consumer culture that has thrived in a free and open marketplace of ideas.

Lately there have been rumblings that the U.S. Justice Department is conducting a preliminary investigations on Apple’s questionable business practices. I think this would be a good way to shake up the insect riddled tree at Apple.

Apple’s overzealous and heavy handed reaction to the person that found that new iPhone and the Gizmodo blog that published the story is more evidence that this is not a nice company.

In a March 2008 Wired Magazine article from entitled How Apple Got Everything Right By Doing Everything Wrong the author made this observation:

…Apple is irredeemably evil, behaving more like an old-fashioned industrial titan than a different-thinking business of the future. Apple operates with a level of secrecy that makes Thomas Pynchon look like Paris Hilton. It locks consumers into a proprietary ecosystem. And as for treating employees like gods? Yeah, Apple doesn’t do that either.

Which brings us to the latest tragic story of the workers at Apple’s Chinese factory committing suicide. Here’s what Steve Jobs doing his best Marie “Let them eat cake…” Antoinette had to say about it in piece by the Guardian:

You go in this place and it’s a factory but, my gosh, they’ve got restaurants and movie theatres and hospitals and swimming pools. For a factory, it’s pretty nice,’ he said.

What would Steve Jobs ever know about what it’s like to work in a factory? Is this man for real? He seems to lack even the most basic comprehension of the average life of a Chinese factory worker. These workers don’t have the time to use all these amenities — they are too busy working their asses off on the production floor to make Steve Jobs and his rock-star buddies rich.

These facilities are there for one reason: to make the factory look appealing to potentially new employees. Many companies employ similar deceptions with so-called amenities that the average worker never gets to use because they are working 16 hours a day.

I’d like to see the out of touch Jobs spend a day in that factory doing the job of a worker that makes iPhones. He or any of his precious executive team would not last 10 minutes on the shop floor. You’d think that a man who recently had a liver transplant and claims to be a Buddhist would have a more enlightened understanding and respect for humanity by ensuring that the people that make his plastic toys have better working conditions.

But maybe there is a way to rehabilitate Mr. Jobs. I’d like to see Steve find the courage to sign up for an episode of Undercover Boss, a popular TV show were you guessed it — bosses go undercover and see what life is really like in the trenches as an employee. It would be the perfect way for Steve to begin to repair his tattered image and in the process give him some much needed compassion and perspective.


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