updated 02:45 pm EST, Fri March 2, 2012
Apple tries to tout job benefit to US
Apple has reacted to concerns that it was offshoring too many jobs with a new Job Creation promo page on Friday. The iPhone maker contended that a total of 514,000 jobs were either directly created by Apple or depended heavily on it for support. While only 47,000 were core Apple employees, many of them retail, it believed 257,000 in various industries had jobs that depended significantly on Apple and another 210,000 in the iOS "app economy."
The company's more detailed look also claimed rapid growth, including many iOS developers and a quadrupling of direct Apple jobs in the past 10 years. A biting example also contrasted Apple's insistence on having US-based customer support with the tendencies of Windows PC builders like Dell and HP to outsource help to countries like India and the Philippines, saving them money but hurting their customers through language and product familiarity barriers.
"Relocating our call centers overseas to places like India would reduce our costs by 50 percent or more," Apple said. "But we keep these jobs in the U.S. because it helps us deliver a better customer experience. It's also an important reason why Apple's technical support has led the industry for more than a decade."
The company also had to partly acknowledge a rival's help. In touting "workers in Texas" making iOS device processors, it was referring to an Austin-based Samsung plant built primarily for the A5 and beyond.
While a reflection of the effects of Apple on the US economy, the unusually political piece appears a response to President Obama's calls for more new US jobs as well as wider criticisms of Apple's dependence on Chinese manufacturing. Foxconn, its main contractor, employs hundreds of thousands of Chinese by itself. Many of the individual parts are made at companies across southeast Asia.
Calls have been made for Apple to bring these jobs to the US, although the reality of doing so may be difficult to overcome. Foxconn and others like it can often rouse thousands of workers in one day that would take months or more in the US. Proximity to component designers creates its own problems, and many of those in the US are potentially overqualified with expectations of an engineer's pay for a manufacturing job.