Spoiled Rotten Apple
Lyons, Dan, Newsweek
Byline: Dan Lyons
The company's hypocrisy on U.S. jobs.
"Those jobs aren't coming back." They weren't Steve Jobs's last words, but you could be forgiven for thinking they were. Jobs made the comment to President Obama months before he died, but it's mostly since his death that they've set off a debate. Can the world's richest corporation really not afford to build iPhones and iPads in the United States?
Apple says no, but of course it can: American workers build BMWs and Boeings, and they certainly could build all of an iPad's components. The real question isn't whether Apple can make products here, but whether it should.
Some people think so, and not just Occupy Wall Street types. "Apple has benefited enormously by dint of being an American company, and they do have some responsibilities to the United States," says Clyde Prestowitz, a top U.S. trade negotiator under Ronald Reagan.
Back in the 1980s, Apple was having trouble getting Japan to open its market to Apple products, and it wanted the U.S. trade negotiators' help. At the time, Apple espoused "the funny notion that the U.S. government had an obligation to help them," Prestowitz recalls. In the 1990s, when Apple was hurting, it sought tax breaks from the city of Cupertino and the state of California.
Even now, the company gets help from the U.S. in the form of protection of its intellectual property from cloners in other countries. Apple and other U.S. firms often find their products being counterfeited overseas and ask the U.S. government to press other countries to crack down on the copycats. …