Apple's bittersweet week

week in review Apple reports record earnings but grapples with worker condition criticism. Also, the Supreme Court strikes down warrantless GPS tracking and RIM gets a new CEO.

Workers at an Apple supplier facility in Shanghai. Apple

Apple's celebration of record earnings was tempered this week by a grim report about working conditions at one of its component suppliers.

Obliterating its own earnings estimates, Apple reported quarterly revenue of $46.33 billion and profits of $13.06 billion.

"We're thrilled with our outstanding results and record-breaking sales of iPhones, iPads, and Macs," Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, said in a statement. "Apple's momentum is incredibly strong, and we have some amazing new products in the pipeline."
•  Apple shares soar following historic earnings announcement
•  Apple's biggest quarter by the numbers

Cook then had to address an in-depth New York Times report that profiled hazardous factory conditions linked to scores of injuries and a handful of deaths. The report recounted an explosion at a plant in Chengdu that killed four, focusing on the final months for Lai Xiaodong, a 22-year-old who had worked a few months at the Foxconn Technologies plant where the iPad is produced.

One former Foxconn executive told the Times that "Apple never cared about anything other than increasing product quality and decreasing production cost."

Apple did not respond to a request for comment from CNET last night, but Cook addressed the issues highlighted in the report in an e-mail sent to employees.

"We care about every worker in our worldwide supply chain," Cook said. "Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern. Any suggestion that we don't care is patently false and offensive to us."
•  A kinder, gentler Apple? Don't bet on it
•  Roundup: Apple supply-chain saga

More headlines

Judge: Americans can be forced to decrypt their laptops

Colorado federal judge gives Ramona Fricosu until February 21 to decrypt her PGP Desktop-encrypted Toshiba laptop--or face the consequences.

Police need warrant for GPS tracking, high court rules

The Supreme Court unanimously rules that warrantless GPS tracking of people in automobiles violates the U.S. constitution.
•  Why Supreme Court's GPS ruling will improve your privacy rights

Google wants ability to 'combine' your user data

A forthcoming change to Google's privacy policy gives it the right to use information across multiple services to provide enhanced services and ads. Previously, that was only implicit.
•  Politicians aim some pointed privacy questions at Google
•  EU overhauling data-privacy policies to protect consumers

RIM's co-CEOs step down; insider Heins takes helm

Jim Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis resign their positions in the beleaguered company as profits decline and investor disappointment grows.
•  Who is RIM CEO Thorsten Heins, anyway?
•  RIM's leadership shakeup too little, too late?
•  Ten things RIM's new CEO must do right away

Former Palm CEO Rubinstein out at HP

Jon Rubinstein, who was brought into the fold after Hewlett-Packard acquired Palm, will be parting ways after a failed bid to turn WebOS into a mobile powerhouse.

FileSonic disables file sharing in wake of MegaUpload arrests

Digital locker's service can now only be used to upload and retrieve files users personally uploaded.
•  Bail denied for MegaUpload's Kim DotCom
•  Officials seize $42 million in MegaUpload assets
•  Did someone park a tank on Kim DotCom's lawn?

Anonymous: Facebook is next, on January 28

In a YouTube video that appears to be linked to a known Anonymous account, the hacker collective offers a linked program in order to attack Facebook.
•  Facebook denies Anonymous 'claims' of takedown
•  Facebook and Washington state sue alleged 'likejackers'

Netflix CEO: DVD subscribers to decline now and forever

Reed Hastings cast a bright light all over the demise of the DVD. No, it isn't news that the film discs are in decline, but it is news that Hastings chose to call attention to it in such a public way.
•  Game over: Netflix frags game rental idea
•  Netflix Q4 profit beats reduced expectations, stock jumps

AT&T loses whopping $6.7B on pensions, T-Mobile breakup

Carrier adds 717,000 new subscribers and activates 9.4 million smartphones, but pays the price with increased subsidies.
•  AT&T CEO blasts FCC bureaucrats for tanking its T-Mobile deal
•  Nokia reports $1.4B loss despite strong Windows Phone sales

Obama touts alternative energy despite Solyndra's demise

President avoids mentioning solar panel maker Solyndra's embarrassing collapse during his State of the Union address but nevertheless says it's time to "double down" on the idea.
•  Here's why Obama is visiting Intel

Also of note
•  Twitter to block tweets locally, not globally
•  Ready or not, Facebook's Timeline is coming to a profile near you
•  iPad dominates tablet market, but Android is closing fast

 

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