Apple CEO Interview Leads to Twitter Dispute

Apple CEO Tim Cook was interviewed by All Things Digital's Kara Swisher and journalist Walt Mossberg May 29 during the D: All Things Digital conference. The interview later led to a dispute on Twitter between Swisher, Mossberg and Apple critic and monologist Mike Daisey.

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  1. Apple has come under fire for reports of labor violations at Foxconn, its largest supplier in China.
  2. A Daisey account of a visit to Foxconn was found to have false elements earlier this year. He admitted portions of the monologue were not true when he was confronted on the public radio program This American Life.
  3. Tuesday's Twitter dispute seemed to start with this question from Swisher to Cook, as it was reported on the All Things D live blog:
  4. "6:43 pm: On China, Kara notes, you have many critics, and not just fictional ones (a reference to Mike Daisey). Why doesn’t Apple have its own factories in China?"
  5. That led to this post and Tweet from Daisey, starting the dispute:
  6. Here's how Cook responded to Swisher's question at the conference, as reported on the All Things D live blog:
  7. "Cook: We decided a decade ago there were things Apple could do best, and that there were other things that somebody else can do as well or better.

    "'Manufacturing was one of those,' Cook says, adding later, 'I think that’s still true.'

    "As for China, Cook notes that Apple has been working to reduce overtime. That, he says, is tricky.

    “'Some people want to work a lot. They want to move and work for a year or two, and then move back to their village and bring back as much money as they can.'

    "Apple, he says, now has 95 percent compliance, and is tracking 700,000 workers in China.

    “'I don’t know anyone else [that] is doing this,' Cook says. 'We’re micromanaging this.'

  8. After admitting portions of the monologue were not true on This American Life, Daisey expressed anger over how his falsehoods had impacted criticism of Apple.
  9. “Especially galling is how many are gleefully eager to dance on my grave expressly so they can return to ignoring everything about the circumstances under which their devices are made,” he said.

  10. What do you think? Does Daisey have credibility as a critic of Apple? Did the false elements in his monologue call into question criticisms by others of the labor practices of Apple manufacturers in China? Leave a comment on KQED's News Fix blog and let us know.
  11. Curated by Ian Hill, KQED News online community engagement specialist.
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