Apple’s rivals are quick to say how much better, faster, cheaper or more popular their smartphones, computers and tablets are.
Yet when it comes to working conditions in the Chinese factories that build these competing products, Apple’s electronics rivals go silent.
In the last week I have asked Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, Microsoft and others about their reports on labor conditions. Most responded with a boilerplate public relations message. Some didn’t even respond.
Lenovo & Samsung:
Lenovo e-mailed a general report on sustainability. Samsung, which sells more cellphones than Apple, gave no response.
Microsoft, which says it works with the Fair Labor Association to perform worker surveys, says it conducts regular audits of its supplier factories and takes “corrective action” where necessary. The reports are made public, but they are summarized.
Amazon declined to comment specifically about worker conditions in the factories of its suppliers, which include Foxconn, but pointed to a section of its site that mentions audits by a third party, which are not made public.
David Frink, a senior public affairs manager at Dell, said the company was assisting Foxconn to “improve the wages and reduce overtime hours” of its factory workers.
A report on Hewlett-Packard’s Web site details working conditions from 2010 but has not been updated since.
In the detailed report, the company notes that more than 51 percent of the factories it works with were in violation of working hour labor laws.