Morning Coffee Jan 27 2012

Tim Cook Emails Workers to Defend Apple

By joseph walker

It must feel strange to be an Apple employee this week. On Sunday, the New York Times ran a front page story using Apple as an example of why the large-scale successes of some companies haven't resulted in a corresponding increase in U.S. jobs. On Wednesday, the company reported $13.1 billion in profits over its most recent quarter, a record that briefly made it the most valuable company in the world by market capitalization. The results shocked the tech world -- only big oil companies like Exxon were supposed to make that kind of money.

Then on Thursday, Adam Lashinsky's new book "Inside Apple" went on sale. The book argues that Apple's American employees exhibit "cultish" tendencies like extreme secrecy and subjugating their own individuality to the greater good of the company. That same day, the Times ran another front page story on Apple, this time reporting that the company tolerated worker abuses and factory explosions at its Chinese manufacturing facilities because to rock the boat would disrupt their revered supply chain and profits.

After the Times story had made the rounds, Chief Executive Tim Cook -- the person largely responsible for Apple's supply chain -- sent an email to all Apple employees that disputed the charges made in the Times story. "Unfortunately some people are questioning Apple's values today," Cook wrote. "What we will not do — and never have done — is stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain." The email details the efforts Apple has made to investigate worker abuses in its overseas factories, and the company's stated commitment to "educating workers about their rights, so they are empowered to speak up when they see unsafe conditions or unfair treatment."

The question Apple employees must be asking themselves is whether they are the cream of the crop among technology's elite or the beneficiaries of overseas suffering, or both. Either way, it seems that without the charm and celebrity of Steve Jobs, this may be the beginning of more intense scrutiny of the company. Apple didn't respond to a request for comment.

Tech Selling (Mass High Tech)

Office supplies giant Staples is opening a tech development center in Cambridge, Mass., this May. It's looking for IT workers, product managers and user interface designers to help create e-commerce solutions.

Starting Over (Fortune)

If you're trying to career-jump into the tech industry, here's what you have to do. Take advantage of government-funded training programs, do some temp work to get experience, and display passion and enthusiasm when reaching out for full-time jobs.

Going Local (The Economic Times)

Indian IT firm HCL Technologies says that it will hire 10,000 employees in the U.S. and Europe over the next five years. To meet the ambitious goal, the company also plans to begin operating local recruitment and training programs for college students.

Censorship (WSJ)

Twitter can now selectively block content in countries where certain types of speech are not protected by governments. The company's microblogging service was considered instrumental in helping foment political uprisings in the Middle East last year. By the way, their New York office is hiring a lead product manager.

District Sleeps Alone (WAMU)

Microsoft is partnering with Washington, D.C. to train out-of-work residents and students or tech jobs. The Seattle software giant will also award $100,000 to local businesses for software, training and support.

Set It Off (Business Insider)

While mingling with the global business elite in Davos, AOL Chief Executive Tim Armstrong has encountered a nagging problem. His metal replacement hip keeps setting off metal detectors around the high-security outpost where the World Economic Forum is held.

Land Grab (San Jose Mercury News)

The thing about adding 8,000 employees in a single year is that you've got to find room to put them all. That's why Google spent $225 million last year for 15 properties in Mountain View, Calif. The company owns or leases 7.2 million square feet there.

Looking Ahead (CNBC)

Sean Parker, who was Facebook's first president and still one of its biggest shareholders, says that a bubble has built up around owning stock in the social networking site. That's why it could be the biggest IPO in history.

Buzz Around the Office

Plane Dance (YouTube)

Fun in the air.

List of the Day: Saving Time

If you've got a million balls to juggle, ax these things from your to-do list.

1. Cleaning out your inbox. It doesn't actually need to be at zero.

2. Looking up different menus for business lunches. Choose one place and call it a day.

3. Going to conference panels. Focus on networking in between instead.

(Source: CBS News)

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