Editor's note, March 16, 2012: "This American Life" announced today that it's retracting a story it did recently about working conditions at Foxconn that included an interview with Mike Daisey as well as an excerpt from his monologue "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs." It said it was doing so because of "numerous fabrications" it found. CNET's Josh Lowensohn has the latest story here. CNET has contacted Mike Daisey for clarification and to expand on the statement he posted to his Web site today, but he has not yet … Read more
Apple has been accused by a coalition of 36 Chinese environmental groups of ignoring hazardous and unhealthy conditions at the factories in China where its components are assembled.
Released yesterday by the Institute of Environmental and Public Affairs (IPE), the report "The Other Side of Apple" ranked the iPhone maker dead last among 29 other tech companies for their responsiveness to health and environmental concerns in China.
Specifically, the report claims that Apple ignored concerns at Wintek, a factory that makes touch screens for the iPhone and iPad as well as components for other companies. Wintek came under … Read more
The next version of iPad is reportedly expected to ship as soon as the end of February.
Component makers in Taiwan say Foxconn--a key maker of iPhones and iPads--has been notified that it should be ready to ship 400,000 to 600,000 units of the next version of iPad in the next 100 days, according to a DigiTimes report. Taiwan-based Foxconn reportedly declined to comment.
DigiTimes reported that Apple had originally expected to begin mass production of the unofficially dubbed iPad 2 in January, but Apple postponed that schedule because the device's firmware is still undergoing testing.
Apple … Read more
Among the scores of fabless chip companies and product design houses in Silicon Valley, Intel is a standout. It's an American high-tech company that not only creates but builds some of the most sophisticated tech products in the world here. That contrasts with others, like Apple and Hewlett-Packard, that consign virtually all product manufacturing and assembly abroad.
Last week, I asked Intel co-founder Andy Grove how the chipmaker became one of the last, great high-tech manufacturing giants in the U.S. and why many Silicon Valley icons haven't done the same. Grove was Intel's chairman from May 1997 to May 2005 and served as chief executive from 1987 to 1998.
Intel's manufacturing strategy was underscored by a recent announcement to invest as much as $8 billion in new factories and facilities in the U.S. That's in addition to the roughly $34 billion it has already invested in its U.S. factories, including investment in a joint flash chip manufacturing venture with Micron Technology.
Grove says Intel has been making, or "fabbing," chips in the U.S. since its founding in 1968--for practical reasons, mind you. "That was not a result of us wanting to be patriotic. Operationally that was the most logical thing for us to do," he said, in a phone interview.
Why, historically, has it been practical for Intel? "The people doing the technology manufacturing were highly trained, highly disciplined staff. And there was a lot of desire to not start manufacturing operations willy-nilly all over the place," he said. … Read more
Today we're talking about self-driving cars. Our news hook, of course, is the recent New York Times story about Google developing self-driving cars--cars that are already cruising the public California highways and driving in traffic.
There have been other big stories in the development of self-driving cars. The first big news to get the public's attention was the running of the DARPA Grand Challenge for robotic cars, in 2004. A car built by Carnegie Mellon University drove the farthest, but no vehicle finished the course. In the 2005 Grand Challenge, five vehicles finished, and the winner was a vehicle called Stanley, which was developed by Stanford.
We're going to talk today about self-driving cars and about what's going on at Stanford, as the team there is preparing to take on even more challenges in self-driving cars. We have two great guests in the studio:
First, Sven Beiker, executive director of the Center for Automotive Research at Stanford. Since Spring 2009, he has taught the Stanford class "The Future of the Automobile." Sven was at BMW from 1995 to 2008, working on technology scouting, innovation management, systems design, and series development.
Also with us: Paul Saffo, managing director of foresight at Discern Analytics and visiting scholar at Stanford. Paul is a noted futurist whose essays have appeared in The Harvard Business Review, Fortune, Wired, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.
Show notes and talking points… Read more
Editor's note: This post originally published yesterday before the round table took place. It was updated today with a new time stamp and the video interview.
Did you ever wonder where the raw materials for your phone or camera or laptop came from, or who assembled it? Popular stories this year about the working conditions at smartphone manufacturer Foxconn finally brought to light one piece of this puzzle. Workers there, stories say, suffer not just low wages but physically and psychologically unsafe conditions, which have led to a rash of suicides at the plant.
But even before your gadget is assembled, its raw materials must be pulled out of the earth. Some of these materials, notably tantalum, which is used in capacitors, are mined in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Income from these mines directly funds warring groups; ongoing fighting over resources leaves civilians terrorized and brutalized.
There are things you can do to push companies toward building more ethical and humane products. That's what we're covering today. Our guests are Aaron Hall, a policy analyst for the Center for American Progress and the Raise Hope for Congo project; and Global Post reporter Kathleen McLaughlin, who's been working on the investigative series Silicon Sweatshops since 2009.
Show notes and talking points… Read more
Last year, storage vendors were all about cloud. They saw major-league opportunities in the private, public, hybrid, and federated versions. No cloud was too big or too small. In fact, because clouds were "infinitely scalable," there was no limit to the number of yotta bytes they could sell.
Storage users and data center storage administrators in particular were decidedly more sanguine. You say cloud is a new services delivery model? Hey storage vendors, where have you been lately? We've been all about services delivery for some time now. Tell us something about cloud we don't know. … Read more
Following a challenging several months after a string of plant suicides, manufacturing company Foxconn is poised to capture more than half of the market share in its industry.
Foxconn, which makes the iPhone and iPad among other devices, can thank the phenomenal growth of Apple for helping to boost its revenue and market share, according to a report released Tuesday by iSuppli.
The Taiwan manufacturer, part of Hon Hai Precision Industries, is set to capture more than 50 percent of the global sales in the EMS (electronics manufacturing services) market by 2011, up from 44.2 percent last year. EMS … Read more
Facing increased media coverage and more scrutiny from its customers after a wave of suicides at its Shenzhen, China, plant, Foxconn said Monday that it will raise the monthly salary of its factory workers once again.
The company said it plans to increase pay to 2,000 yuan ($293) from 1,200 ($176) yuan, an increase of about 67 percent. This follows last week's 30 percent pay raise by the Taiwan-based company.
The new salary does come with a few conditions, according to Foxconn. Workers will have to pass a three-month performance evaluation before they can receive the raise. … Read more
We start low this week with a sad story about Foxconn and more specifically, Foxconn's employees. We achieve a disposition that's definitely humorous, but respectful. I hope.
Keeping with the "big three" theme, Google shows some speed tests of Chrome; and Opera did a little testing of their own.