Apple Being Probed On Two Fronts
Apple is a Company who is tough on negotiating what price they pay manufacturers to make their products and in the past their suppliers have been accused of using child labour and other shortcuts to lower manufacturing costs.
Tonight the BBC will air a documentary on the working conditions in Apple’s extended supply chain. The Panorama piece, titled Apple’s Broken Promises, focuses initially on conditions at Chinese factories producing the iPhone 6.
It also goes into detail on the sources of materials for Apple products, bringing cameras to an Indonesian tin mine where children are digging out materials by hand.
Apple in the past has been accused of abuses at suppliers like Foxconn and Pegatron.
Complaints persist however, and relatively little attention has been paid to where the materials for Apple products come from.
Earlier this year the company did drop unaudited mineral suppliers, but in its 2014 supplier responsibility report it said only that its partner tantalum smelters had been verified as “conflict-free” — meaning they aren’t funding local wars in regions like the Congo.
The company could only add that it was “pushing” suppliers of tin, tungsten, and gold to use verified sources. There’s no indication that Apple is investigating whether mineral providers are violating labour standards.
Shortly after its Thursday TV airing, the documentary will become available online in the UK.
Meanwhile Canadian authorities are investigating Apple for allegations of price fixing.
Reuters claims that carriers in Canada who have three main suppliers similar to Australia may have been discouraged from selling rival phones
As A result the ACCC equivalent the Canadian Competition Bureau is investigating Apple’s carrier deals,
What they want to know is whether Apple has been discouraging carriers from offering discounts or other incentives for competing phones, or even offering those phones at all.
“The contractual obligations [with the carriers] may therefore increase the price Canadian consumers have paid, are paying or will pay for handset devices and wireless services,” reads an affidavit from Vincent Millette, the head of the Bureau’s probe.
Also revealed is that both Apple and the carriers have been asked to turn over documents stretching as far back as the launch of the iPhone 3G in the country, in July 2008. Apple has so far only delivered “some” documents, while the carriers have handed over more than 2,500. The Bureau actually made its first requests to Apple in April of this year, and the carriers between June and August.
There are three major iPhone carriers in Canada: Bell, Telus, and Rogers.