Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Last week, Apple admitted that some workers putting together iPods were working in conditions that didn't live up to the company's standards:

We did find violations to our Code of Conduct, as well as other areas for improvement that we are working with the supplier to address.

Apple had only gone looking at the conditions because of the original reports which suggested workers were being exploited at the plant in China.

Today comes news of a twist: The manufacturers have had a court freeze the assets of the Chinese tech journalists who broke the story. Their paper, China Business News, has said it will stand fully behind the pair, who are apparently being sued for about two million pounds by the company.

We're wondering if Apple might suggest to the company that this is a bullying act which might be better dropped; not least because a court case could look a bit more closely at the factory than Apple's own internal investigation did. It might well be that a more granular, independent investigation turns up nothing else. But with Apple's admission, for example, that 25% of the time, employees were working six or more days without a break, putting all the details into the public domain would only prolong the scrutiny.