New York Times slams Apple Retail. Kinda.

Apple enjoys tremendous marketing benefits from the attention they attract as one of the most popular brands, and successful companies in the world. So it's only fair they also enjoy the equal and opposite results of that attention -- a burning spotlight on their every flaw, real and imagined. Once again, The New York Times turns that burning spotlight on Apple, this time examining Apple Retail.

Unfortunately, like the rest of their iEconomy series on Apple, the packaging continuously undermines the importance of its subject matter. Let's look at the headline:

Apple's Retail Army, Long on Loyalty but Short on Pay

Short on pay compared to what and whom? Compared to other retail employees in the U.S.? Well, no, at least not according to the very came article.

By the standards of retailing, Apple offers above average pay — well above the minimum wage of $7.25 and better than the Gap, though slightly less than Lululemon, the yoga and athletic apparel chain, where sales staff earn about $12 an hour. The company also offers very good benefits for a retailer, including health care, 401(k) contributions and the chance to buy company stock, as well as Apple products, at a discount.

So who then? Turns out, compared to Apple's gross earnings and the salary of Apple executives, including CEO Tim Cook.


They also cover the recent wage increases Apple has been rolling out to their staff as well.

But Cory Moll, a salesman in the San Francisco flagship store and a vocal labor activist, said that on Tuesday he was given a raise of $2.82 an hour, to $17.31, an increase of 19.5 percent and a big jump compared with the 49-cent raise he was given last year.

The criticism here, however, is that Apple doesn't offer commissions the way AT&T and Verizon do. Given the high price and margin of Apple's products, it's arguable they should be providing the same opportunity to the people that help them make those sales. An opportunity which, they say, can net the best of the best of the best of the salespeople 6 figure salaries.

At Apple, the decision not to offer commissions was made, Ms. Bruno said, before a store had opened. The idea was that such incentives would work against the company's primary goals — finding customers the right products, rather than the most expensive ones, and establishing long-term rapport with the brand. Commissions, it was also thought, would foster employee competition, which would undermine camaraderie.

The articles then turns, predictably and disappointingly, to cover the cult-like nature of Apple, their enthusiast base, and their potential employee pool, and the methods they use to train (indoctrinate) their staff.

This is where whatever editorial agenda the Times is pushing with Apple once again does them a disservice.

No doubt there is an incredibly important discussion to be had about compensation and career opportunities in a retail organization like Apple's. But the Times keeps dropping that thread just to be sensational. If Apple isn't at fault, it's nasty business. If they are, it gives them an easy out. Either way, it's bad for Apple, bad for the Times and bad for readers.

Instead of a debate about what fair wages are in a market economy, about the highest price the market will bear for goods and the lowest cost workers will accept for wages, of the relative distribution of wealth between executives and customer service staff, about Apple's responsibility as the most prominent company of the modern era and the Times responsibility as one of the most prominent reporting organizations in the world, we get something less than the sum of its parts.

So let's turn this over to you: Should Apple's profits be better shared with its retail staff? Should the profits of all major companies be better shared with the workers who sit at the front lines of the profit-making engines? Or is the goal of any good executive to maximize revenue and minimize costs? Should employees in this economy be thankful for the better-than-average Apple retail jobs they have, or should we be demanding that Apple offer the best jobs in the country, period?

Let's have that discussion.

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • The New York Times isn't a good source of information. If you need to wipe your ass if you're out of toilet paper, then it's fine. But that's one huge bleeding heart liberal "publication" who derides everything and everyone that doesn't agree with their liberal agenda or the world in which the New York Times believes it should be.
  • I agree Wayne, just more crap coming from the failing Lame Stream Media.
  • Well said!
  • Agreed the NYT is no more than an agenda driven yellow journalism filled rag.
  • I'm curious as what this has to do with the story. Go spout your political beliefs elsewhere.
  • Maybe if you got your head out of your ass, you'd see validity of his comment as it relates to the story.
  • The mainstream media is about as liberal as the corporations that own them.
    The new "liberal" is the old center-right and the new right is off the charts.
    The ratio of executive pay (whether salary or other compensation) to the income of the average worker has continued to increase in the past 50 years or so and this is as true of Apple as almost every large company.
    The NY Times et al. will examine a few companies from time to time when the zeitgeist changes a bit (e.g., the recession/depression and Occupy), but they will not sustain any major structural and class-based analysis on an in-depth or consistent basis because, well, it's just not in their DNA.
  • Right - we should as watch news for dumb fux ... er ... I mean fux news ... er ... I mean fox news.
    Only idiots inject political rhetoric when there is none.
  • "Only idiots inject political rhetoric when there is none."
    Only the unintentionally ironic attempt to claim politics are absent a macroeconomic issue with such idiotic political rhetoric.
    But quite par for the course these days with so many reactionaries and ditto-heads lurking around blogs.
  • Or idiots who believe that Fox News lies about everything, when they in fact do not watch Fox News, or realize that Fox News actually employs liberal commentators? Or that MSNBC and CNN do not?
  • Keep the stupidity and nastiness of politics out of fields like technology which deserve better, which are actually fact based and deserve the respect not to be lowered into the political cesspool. Stick to insulting candidates, who at least asked for that life and knew what they were signing up for.
  • Uh, in a country where people would kill for jobs, only the NYT would criticize a parent company for not paying its employees what IT thinks that parent company should pay them. This is the standard NYT matra, Do What We Say Is Right.
  • This is simply another example of poorly directed reporting and editing that capitalizes on over generalization to drive sales. The very first paragraph starts with a moralizing tone regarding the implied gulf of between the gross sales of the product and the hourly employee’s income. It later devolves into apples and oranges comparisons and other fallacies, while also including factual statements. This immediately invites the politically warped and inarticulate from all sides to spew forth party slogans like dogs marking trees. Instead of calling out this article and all the others like it spamming the bulk of US media (liberal & conservative) because of its misrepresentations or factual inaccuracies we simply get regurgitated political bile.....the long form equivalent of "+1".
    Instead of picking up a torch and mobbing the village because you don’t like or understand what you read why not try a bit of critical, independent thinking? You can make a much stronger case by sorting out the details of the article than just banging on about your religious devotion to the party mantra….argumentum ad populum. Next time try dragging your knuckles over the keyboard to address the facts and not your prejudices; and in the process you and those around you may learn something.
  • Ok, so the Times shares advertising revenue with their staff? I doubt it. Other than the sales staff that sell the ads.
  • Ill say this. I couldn't live the lifestyle I live today working for Apple. I'm used to a $45k+ yearly income, which isn't terrible for being 25, but a front line sales rep at Apple doesn't touch that here in Denver.
  • But they should? Retail sales requires nothing more than an outgoing personality and familiarity with the product. It is an entry level job for people with limited skills and an unproven work ethic. A healthy economy needs bottom level jobs where people who are otherwise unprofitable can gain skills/experience to make themselves more marketable. Trying to artificially inflate salaries completely removes the bottom rungs of the job market ladder; in this case self checkout is the inevitable end game.
  • As much free, and paid advertising Apple gave the Times, you think they would be a little nicer. Everytime Apple showed a product, there was the NY Times app just shining away.
    As far as the questions brought up, Apple pays well compared to just a minimum wage job, with no benifites. A company like Apple is always creating. Research does not come cheap. Commissions can be good, or bad. If it is done right, it can be the typical win win situation. If done wrong, the company makes the money, the customer is screwed, and in the end, the employee will also be screwed. Lately the media is like vultures, circling for the next victim. When a victim does not come along, they create one with bias stories.
  • The important metric - which you conveniently omit from your summary - is revenue per employee, in which Apple lags badly.
    But hey, why face facts when you can continue to wrap yourself in a persecution complex?
  • What are you talking about? Apple's revenue per employee is the highest there is .
  • Um, yes...that's the point -- retail pay is tied to revenue per employee. Apple's revenue per employee FAR exceeds that of all other such businesses, and their pay does not.
  • No omission was convenient, and I'd argue the gist of Apple rich, employees not was well served.
    Apple isn't a traditional retailer. Amazon doesn't have a large retail staff, do they? Walmart does manufacture large amounts of their own product, do they? Tiffany isn't an electronics company, are they?
    This is part of the problem with articles like the Times': It's hard to give context within the given inches of the column.
    I don't know what the proper metric is. Traditionally you charge what the market will bear, and you pay what the market will bear. What happens when those number start to diverge? How is that divided between retail, manufacturing, product, admin, etc?
    These are fairly lengthy arguments to be had.
  • And yet, you begin the "lengthy conversation" by shutting it down completely, painting it as a packaged slam on the "iEconomy" and dismissing it offhand as sensationalist. That is not the tone of somebody willing even to entertain a conversation.
  • "No doubt there is an incredibly important discussion to be had about compensation and career opportunities in a retail organization like Apple's."
    "So let's turn this over to you: Should Apple's profits be better shared with its retail staff? Should the profits of all major companies be better shared with the workers who sit at the front lines of the profit-making engines? Or is the goal of any good executive to maximize revenue and minimize costs? Should employees in this economy be thankful for the better-than-average Apple retail jobs they have, or should we be demanding that Apple offer the best jobs in the country, period?"
    Read moron READ!!!
  • I personally cancelled my subscription to their iPad app when they started with this vendetta against Apple. I think they are deliberately trying to undermine Apple. May be a large number of cancellations by Apple fans will send them a message that a respectable newspaper should not engage their bully pulpit in personal campaigns.
  • All bc they sorta made negative comments about a product & company that could give two f*cks about you (not just apple, thats any big company), u showed them!!!!! Way to take a stand against something!!!!!
  • The attack on apple is another example of the lunatic fringe left wing attack on capitalism. Whether it's the obama administration, occupy wall street,hollywood,or the left wing media; it's always the same. Success in business has to be bad for the collective. IDIOTS!
  • Don't you have a tea bagger rally to be at? Sad to think you people want everyone to make 8 bucks an hour with no benefits.
  • And shouldn't you be occupying something somewhere? I read his post twice and didn't see anything about anybody making $8 an hour. You people give yourselves away so easy. Big bad corps that rape their workers. Hasn't that koolaid gotten stale yet?
  • Might as well open your closet now and expose your brown shirt. This conversation is going to end like this anyway. Here goes; to all you reich wing totem kopfs, Mussillinni would be proud. Keep bowing to your corpo-fascist masters you puerile sociopaths. Go pleasure yourselves to your US Marines stomping on brown babies for the empire you kneel to You are a sick group of morons. Your beloved system is a heartbeat away from collapsing but are too hillbilly stupid to know. Go kiss your .01% masters asses you groveling imbeciles. This of course for you neo-con zombie lemmings trolling your drivel against all things just and good for society as a whole. Seek help you egocetrist maggots.
  • Oh, cmon. I get that some people thrive off the whole "Brand Loyalty" thing, but when it comes to the livelihood of human beings then lets take off the blinders.
    Im not talking specifically about the Apple Store here but retail in general. Regardless of how people negatively view retail workers, they are a HUGE part of our nations economy and they have terrible jobs. They need to fight for hours, they get swindled out of full shifts in order to make them ineligible for health insurance or certain benefits, they deal with customers who look down on them and they work for absolutely terrible managers. Its not a fun life and its also not a life that only occupied by college kids.
    So, when one does find a job at a profitable company, it does stink to know that they're not taken care of. I like that Apple is finally addressing the issue by offering some pay raises and discount programs but it's a shame that company profits tend to always get skimmed by the top layer and rarely trickles downward.
  • this isn't true at all. ive worked at home depot and now currently work for verizon wireless. yes at home depot you werent really allowed overtime but they didnt cut your hours either. you got your 40 hours and for some people who did go over on hours cutting it during the weekend to stay at 40 and be home early worked out great. And now working for verizon, i get more hours than i need. They dont frown on overtime as the stores are usually so busy that people will need to stay to help out and take care of the overflow. the benefits are great and from working with different people from all over the country that have moved to our area and worked with us, it seems that the team enviornment they promote works. and just so you know, the majority of our sales people in this harsh retail enviornment only meant for college kids, drive bmws and mercedez and acuras. some of them make close to if not over 100k. and this isnt in a city like NY or any other major metropolitan city. its in NC in a not so large city that no one thinks much of lol. just like anything in life.. some places and people are better than others.. i love working at verizon and im not a sales person so im not on commissions but i make enough to be able to pay my bills and enjoy life just a bit.
  • Here is my rebuttal to your rebuttal.
    Why should I care? I wasted my time reading this and you wasted your writing this. Report the story, not a rebuttal. Or if you think the story isn't credible, then don't. But don't hog up my RSS reader with petty arguing. Thanks!
  • Hey buddy... if you don't like the "petty arguing" of an Apple-centric blog against an editorial company that is clearly writing a blindly biased article about the before-mentioned company, THEN DON'T SUBSCRIBE TO THIS RSS FEED! Have a great day, and kindly move on to the next article, or next feed.
  • You do know that it's fairly easy to skip over/not read articles in your rss feed.
  • Ive always been a fan of profit sharing. It incentivses employees to work hard without them complaining of stolen commissions or competing with each other.
  • i think the times has some valid points...i mean when you see articles about the billions upon billions of dollars that apple sees, would it be such a hit to them to pay the average retail employee 50k a year? i think not. as far as commission goes, i work for verion wireless and have for the last 6 years as a commissioned sales rep. yes we do see competition between employees but it has always been in a friendly way every location i have worked in (i dont work in small town usa either...i work in one of the largest citys in the country) the reps treat sales like there own business not worrying so much about what the other reps are doing but more focused on there own money. I was 22 as a rep making 60k a year, do you think a few kids at apple that really loved tech and got commission when they made a sale would really put a dent in apples pocket? probably not
    retail is the face of apple...why not pay your employees more? the employees are very knowledgeable always have a great attitude and work just as hard as thoes big wigs in cupertino...they should feel like there apart of the biggest tech giant in the world..and should be paid like it too
  • It's supply & demand. It doesn't exactly take a lot of skills to work at Apple retail and sell iphones. I'm not sure why Apple is getting criticized for already paying above starter wages for a basic skill set.
    The Times knows it'll get some attention by writing about Apple whether it's warranted or not. That's all there is to it.
  • actually its not a BASIC skill set that these retail employees need to work in these stores. they have to know all about every product in that store. not just specs on the devices but actually how to use them. trouble shoot them and be able to give advice on recommending the best solution for the customer. yes Apple has a world renowned name but doesnt mean it sells itself. People selling the products still have to know what they are selling and how to use it and not to mention knowing about what the other guy is selling to sell against it.
  • It does take quite a skillset madame! People come in to an Apple store not to just buy iPhones, they come in to be EDUCATED about there devices they interact with EVERYDAY. Those guys take emense pride in LEARNING and SHARING their KNOWLEDGE about how to use Apples amazing technology. Not just "sell" iPhones. And it is obvious you dont own an iPhone, or have never been in a store. I think its cool that they have taken pride in their job for meger wages and finally are being compensated for what they love and are passionate about.
  • Honestly, i think iMore should draw a line at political posts. It goes beyond their scope of being an Apple enthusiast site. I do understand the NYT article and where it's coming from. Apple makes obscene profit and is sitting on a lot of cash.
    It would be easy to point out that other companies pay their employees less. But then again, Apple is no "other" company. I would definitely, and do, take care of my employees first. We even strive to overcompensate our professional staff vs the industry.
    But on the other end of things, you have to remember that these are basic jobs no matter what you think. You can go in an Apple store and qualify for a job just by being familiar with their products just as you could do at McDonalds. What's the labor supply? It's a giant pool. What's the labor supply on the other hand for say..a registered nurse? A teacher with teaching certificate? A lawyer? A CPA? If you want more pay, you need to focus on your skills, know what's in demand, learn to network, and have initiative.
    And finally there's this issue. Newspapers are the last ones who should be handing out advice on how to manage money or criticizing how businesses are run. Many newspapers aren't even around to do that anymore. Others are certainly headed to the newspaper grave and have slimmed down to a former shadow of what they once were. They're throwing up paywalls in desperation.
  • Given that Apple is essentially a retail operation that makes billons of dollars annually, the people who are making those sales and essentially making Apple rich, should indeed receive a larger piece of the pie, in my opinion. The management team aren't the ones who are making Apple rich.
    But the other side of it is this- What does the New York Times have to gain by dumping on Apple? That is the question.
  • My issues is with this section: "At Apple, the decision not to offer commissions was made, Ms. Bruno said, before a store had opened. The idea was that such incentives would work against the company’s primary goals — finding customers the right products, rather than the most expensive ones, and establishing long-term rapport with the brand. Commissions, it was also thought, would foster employee competition, which would undermine camaraderie."
    Apple has it right. They want you to be happy with your purchase, not buyers remorse. It costs them for every return. My mom went in a couple of months ago, fully intending to buy the most expensive MacBook Pro she could buy. The guy at the store started asking questions, getting to know her needs.
    "Is this your primary computer?" No, I have a 24" iMac for that.
    "What to you intend to do with it?" Check email, facebook, browse the internet, Netflix, maybe. Use it when I fly to visit the grandkids
    "So iPhoto, iTunes, sync your iPhone, etc?" No, that will stay with the iMac
    "Well, I'd be happy to sell you the most expensive one we have, but YOUR NEEDS indicate the MacBook Air is more intended to do"
    That is what sales should be, not, "Who can I sucker into something they don't need today?"
    Also, having worked at Lechmere in college (a New England chain that no longer exists, a lot like a Best Buy) in the audio department, and paid on commission - you know what I sold the most of? What ever had the highest incentive. For example, if Onkyo was offering me a free receiver if I sold 10 of their products in a month? Guess what was I was likely to sell more of? Bingo.
    This is also why each of us is likely (if you are in a similar situation as I am) getting weekly calls about upgrade eligibility from AT&T/Verizon - and wouldn't I like to upgrade to the latest {Insert Android 4G phone} device now? They don't like my answer of "I'll wait until the new iPhone comes out in the fall" They try to pressure me into an android - likely because they get a better commission on them. Which is fine for them to do, but not really in the best interest of the customer.
    I asked one of the people calling why they pushed so hard when I clearly am sticking with iOS. I got the "It's 4G!" Well, the next iPhone is likely to be. "Bigger screen!" I like the screen size I have, but, again, the new iPhone is likely to be bigger. "You can get it now" True, but I can wait a few months. I waited 4 generations for you to get the iPhone. When I asked if they were going to subsidize the replacement of all my paid apps? "There are a lot of free apps in the marketplace"
  • The problem is without sales incentives you could easily end up like Best Buy with a bunch of unmotivated, uneducated reps. Not good.
  • Fair enough. Though I think the culture of Apple, as well as the fact they only sell their own products, will minimize that effect.
  • There's a difference, though. Verizon and places like that MAKE THEIR PROFIT from upselling. Apple's profits are built in so it's not a fair comparison. Some cell phone retailers don't do this (T-Mobile) but look at their financial state. They upsell you to get you to take advantage of things you didn't think of before .There's not a lot of cheap sh** @Apple. It's essentially a high-end store. That's like saying 'oh, I bought a Lamborhghini and the guy didn't try to upsell me like the Ford guy!'.. NO DUH! Apple gets money regardless.
  • According to Bloomberg, the NYT was seeking Eric Schmidt to become their CEO.
    I wonder it it's related...
  • At the end of the day Apple pays its employees what it decides is right for their business. If retail staff dont like the pay, or the perks, there's one easy option......the door. Nobody forces them to work there, they work there because they want to and presumably feel the pay and perks are reflective of the job. NYT .......look at your own practices before continually battering Aplle just for the sake of sensationalism and because you think it will sell your paper!!!!!
  • There is absolutely nothing wrong with the story. People really need to chill.
  • Boy, the NYT must have been low on stories and had to drum something up.
  • Anybody who puts ANY stock into ANYTHING spewed by the NYTimes deserves to think what they are told to think.
  • just curious but hasnt the NYT let go of several "journalist" for fabricating stories? im just saying
  • If we are taking the consumer side, then retailers being paid at a flat rate is the lesser of two evils.
    Below is a quote from a book I'm reading that illustrates my point. This is a conversation between a man of our time and a woman of a future era:
    *"It was the principal business of clerks to help people to make their selections in my day," I replied.
    "What! To tell people what they wanted?"
    "Yes; and oftener to induce them to buy what they didn't want. "
    "But did not ladies find that very impertinent?" Edith asked, wonderingly. "What concern could it possibly be to the clerks whether people bought or not?"
    "It was their sole concern," I answered. "They were hired for the purpose of getting rid of the goods, and were expected to do their utmost, short of the use of force, to compass that end."
    "Ah, yes! How stupid I am to forget!" said Edith. "The storekeeper and his clerks depended for their livelihood on selling the goods in your day."*
    Source: Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy
  • Being someone who works in a large Australian electrical retailer, gets paid commission, and stocks Apple products, I can certainly tell you that it is never our intention to "just sell the most expensive product".
    Customers are more likely to return if you find them something appropriate to their personal needs, and build trust on that basis. That is how customer service works.
    On more than one occasion, I've sold someone a 16Gb iPad WiFi, where they had no idea what they need - $500 is a reasonable, but not huge sale. The bonus is when they come back because they're happy with the product, and trust that you found the best product for them, and choose to buy a $4000 TV, or a $2000 MacBook Pro.
    Apple has little rationale for not sharing their profits with retail staff.
  • I appreciate the NYT article and the question posed by Rene, one that deserves more light of day.
    I am convinced that Jony Ive and the other Apple execs would happily do what they do at 1/10th their current remuneration packages. Executive pay especially in the US has run amok and there ought to be a legislated cap on it.
    Let's arbitrarily say any executive, entertainer or athlete can probably eke out a half decent living even on a measly $ 10 mio annually. That can finance a few Ferraries, vacation houses and even a cocaine-snorting lifestyle if that's your poison. $ 5 mio would probably suffice for most. Concentrating greater amounts of wealth (power) in any individual is unfair and potentially dangerous. So I am for capping executive pay packages incl options. The world already has too many billionaires where there ought to be none. It is the economics equivalent of a Dictator who stands above all law and reproach!
    The funds such an executive cap would free up cannot just be distributed among all other staff. The salary increase percentages quoted earlier in this discussion are alarming. Apple are doing well now but if they keep doling out generous double-digit annual increases to retail staff they will put on a long-term unsustainable cost burden that will lead to mass layoffs or bring the company to its knees.
    More equality should come from not letting executives get away with 2 or more personal lear jets, not by creating millionaires out of average rank and file employees. "Excess funds" therefore should go to the owners (shareholders), war chest for worse times and continued R&D.
    I'm a Scandinavian who lived 4 years in the US and I know this will sound almost Marxist to a great many people. I am very much a capitalist but a "capitalist for a cap"! Capitalism with humanism and slightly more equality without the blind, misguided idealism of so many past revolutions. Something has got to change as we increasingly become one world and not just individual nations.
  • like Albert implied I am dazzled that some people can make $5031 in a few weeks on the internet. have you seen this link makecash16com
  • It appears that people forget that money isnt the only motivator. I live in Chicago and have had the opportunity to go into several Apple stores, and no matter what they are paid (yes, it should be more) they have been genuinely thrilled to answer any question that I have thrown at them. In most cases, I get the answer I was looking for and then they proceed to show me some hidden feature, which almost always delights me. Where Apple has it right, is the way they handle this interaction with their customer. Other retailers, just arent willing to put in the time and effort (or investment) to develop their work force to this level and it shows by the quality of the service that they provide.
  • They stand in a room handing out packages of products that essentially sell themselves.. They get paid very well to do that. They get great benefits to do that.. Nuff said
  • Yep, how to handle a repair. Hold down buttons, if it don't come on, swap it out. This is technical stuff..
    Would you like an Applecare plan with that?
    Nope, it just isn't right. These guys deserve more.
  • Well I guess I'll jump into this fray. Why not it's been a while since I posted here & suffered the withering attacks of the iMore/Apple faithful. So here goes...
    I have a well known history here of challenging & wanting Apple to do better in their business practices. From the way they manufacture their goods to where they manufacture them. I guess I can include their workers in this as well. By the way to thwart an early attack from some here. If HP were the big dog of tech, or SONY, or Dell, or Microsoft etc etc etc... I'd want them to do more as well. Apple has achieved amazing success & with that success, & indeed their finacial liquidity, they should be doing more on a host of matters whether they be in tech or just improving the human condition around the world in my view. Apple has a historically poor track record in this regard. That is undisputable. Steve Jobs famously rebutted Bill Gates challenge of philanthropy with the notion that, "Apple was not financially stable enough to contribute." I believe that excuse has passed.
    Look at Apples stance on dividends to stock holders. Steve Jobs refused to give out dividends & only wanted to hoarde cash. That effectively marked him as exceptionally greedy (in the eyes of many humanitarian types)& it put Apple in the uncomfortable position of having an expensive stock that essentially was worthless. It may be uncomfortable hearing that but it's true none the less. Tim Cook has changed that ever so slightly & I view this as a step in the right direction. But there are many more to go.
    The same can be said for Apples manufacturing & labor relations in China. They are the big dog of tech once again so they get the lions share of the headlines. I want to see actual change for the better in this regard as well. Not just for the benefit of Chinese workers but how about American workers or African workers or European workers. I've argued on here that I'd like to see Apple put more of their production back into a semi regional model of say 5-6 territories that produce Apple's goods for that region. I've also been heavily attacked & called a troll for that reasoning too. They have the money & can easily afford to. Woukd it mean less profits? Probably. But why should that matter if the consumer continues to choose Apple & sales continue unabated? They have over $100 billion in the bank & sheltered in accts around the world to keep it safe from taxes in the US (another issue entirely). In my view Apple could be at the forefront of a renaissance of new productivity & customer appreciation if they truly gave back to the communities & countries they reap big profits from. It would only take the market leader to make others follow suit. The positive headlines in the press alone would be so uncomfortable for others in the tech space, & indeed many other industries to make it a point to reinvest in their workers & communities/countries. While I see Apple trying to make changes in these policies in China, to use a trade group that is way too comfortable with Apple themselves to verify the progress they've made rings a bit shallow & disingenuous.
    And what to make of this negative press Apple keeps getting? There is one unassailable fact that must be established & agreed to first. Apple is historically a very liberal minded company. Indeed most companies in the tech sector are quite liberal in the outlooks & behind the scenes utopinanism they advocate for. So don't think I'm naive & making a blanket statement about Apple here. Furthermore, the news media, by & large, is at it's core liberal minded as well. This isn't news either. Or at the least it shouldn't be. The very nature of journalism is to get at the story & uncover the facts. This stands in diametric opposition to Apples historical & public stance of keeping quiet & advocating more & more secrecy. I've seen a few commentors above refer to Fox News as bad or in some way implied as evil. Yes they are opposed to the more liberal elements of the media as a whole. And like it or not that is one of the single greatest appeals of Fox to the other side of the political deabte that sees the New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS etc etc etc as the openly liberal purveyors of that slant. This all by the way is coming from someone who is a registered Democrat & Clinton supporter. When Microsoft was the big dog & Bill Gates was the name on everybody's tongue in the 90's they were the first target to be attacked. It is now Apple that is facing that scrutiny & that is just indictive of the changing times. Should another company replace Apple as the most valuable on earth (highly likely as tech adoption goes through cycles & will reach another saturation point), they will be target #1. Don't believe it? Ask Exxon Mobile or Coke or Microsoft or Wal-Mart.
    I still hold the opinion that Apple needs to do better in regards to not only sharing the massive wealth they've aquired with employees at all levels of the chain, but share holders of their stock & communities they do business in. This is where Apple truly has a lot of catching up to do. The continued mantra of "What would Steve do?" is going to effectively become kryptonite to Apple as tech evolves & changes. Steve is gone & he won't be replaced in the minds of the Apple faithful. Microsft has struggled with this reality too once Bill Gates left. I'd argue they are starting to come around to the changing face of tech with Windows 8 & the Surface Tablet but that's for another day. ButSteve Jobs'legacy is less than the perfection many hold it up to. His greed with Apple is one shining example of that. If Tim Cook can change that perception you'll see less & less of these stories that so easily offend the Apple follower. A good start would be to invest not in the lives of Communist China, they can handle their own affairs quite well, but in the very places that made you the world's most valuable company like North & South America & Europe.
    Right now with the continued stories of patent lawsuits & gov't investigations of price fixing, the wealth of upper management vs retail employees, labor practices in China vs jobs lost elsewhere, Occupy Wal Street frauds (who use lots of expensive Apple products to promote themselves, & other brands too) vs political favoritism... I could go on but you get the point. Apple is involved in any number of these stories. The media smells blood in the water. And one of the old sayings in TV journalism is 'If it bleeds it leads,' is just as applicable to print or the internet.
    Apple is in a position to do a lot of bleeding. Until they change the story with the media & the public that likes to look at crash scenes & read about the blood, these stories will continue.
  • Higher wages benefit everyone, including the companies that pay them. If an Apple store employee gets a good wage, they will spend more money buying goods and services. This boosts the profits of the companies they are buying these things from, and assuming those companies are also paying their employees a decent wage (big assumption here, I know), those employees, too, can afford to spend more -- perhaps at Apple. Keeping wages low and outsourcing jobs overseas seem like good short-term cost-cutting measures, but if you want Americans to buy your products, paying them something more than barely enough to survive on is a good start.
    Of course, a lot of companies no longer care whether Americans buy their stuff -- in the emerging global economy, markets as well as jobs are shifting overseas. But as "developing" nations catch up to the industrialized ones, their standards of living will rise just as those in the US have, and they'll also start demanding better compensation just like we do here. Then where will the companies go to find people who are willing to work insane hours for pittance?
  • Higher wages drives up prices. The more a company has to pay its employees the more it has to charge for its products to make the billions they do. Simple economics really. If we were all still making 2 bucks an hour an iPad wouldn't cost 700 bucks. It would however be in direct relation to what wages are.
  • It's not that simple. Apple is essentially a high-end retailer. They purely have profit. Nearly 100% profit. It wouldn't necessarily drive the prices up. Not when you have those profits.
  • 100% profit?!? Who makes that? That doesn't even make sense to me. I want a company that has no expenses and actually makes close to 100% (who doesn't?).
    People do breakdowns on products (like iPhones) all the time and come up with estimates for the hardware involved and those quality parts cost money. Those numbers don't even include research and development and salaries. Google "what does it cost to build an iPhone?"
  • Commissions are one thing but a small bonus for actually making a sale is another. How about $10 for every computer or iOS device sold. I suggest such straightforward numbers so that it's the right device for the customer.
    It's a nice extra, and it's not enough to force competition for employees.
    It could even be bonuses in the form of Apple or iTunes gift cards.
    Plus, they just started giving additional discounts on computers and iPads for employees recently too.
  • Only union minds would talk about "sharing in the profits of corporations" you want to share in the profits? Buy stock.
  • If you want to be harassed and fed false information every time you walk into an Apple Store, then hope for employees to be paid commission. Because that's exactly what will happen.
    Apple can pay employees whatever they want. If the hipster workers would stop accepting the pay/discount and go work elsewhere, Apple would need to change an offer higher pay or benefits.
    This is called capitalism. If you don't like it there are many countries that don't work this way.