Apple Inc. has a wonderful record of making innovative products that can be both cutting edge and easy to use in the same moment. The corporation has striven to green its production and shipping practices as well. Steve Jobs’s famous keynote presentations stir the geek world and Wall Street alike. He is often treated as the guru rather than the mere CEO.
And yet, the groundswell of interest in the ‘Fake [Twitter] Steve Jobs‘ has caused the company to pressure Twitter either to label the unknown satirist’s work as satire (guaranteeing no one will read it) or to suppress the account as ‘confusing.’ Moreover, and more importantly perhaps, Apple and its helmsman have been chided for years about their unwillingness to get involved with charity work or at least make some corporate donations. Did the holiday season lift Apple’s philanthropic spirits?
(Spoiler Alert!) If you are in a hurry: No. One of the earliest challenges to Apple’s culture of corporate non-philanthropy seems to have come from. Leander Kahne wrote a pretty scathing comparison of Steve Jobs and Bill Gates in January of that year. Jobs comes across as smart-but-not-brilliant, and certainly not the culture maven many want to see in him:
“We see it over and over again,” [Richard Jolly, chairman of Giving USA Foundation] said. “Very wealthy individuals do support the organizations and institutions they believe in.”
That’s certainly true of [Bill] Gates, who not only gives vast sums away, but also speaks up in support of the organizations and institutions he believes in.
This is not the case for Jobs. To the best of my knowledge, in the last decade or more, Jobs has not spoken up on any social or political issue he believes in — with the exception of admitting he’s a big Bob Dylan fan. Rather, he uses social issues to support his own selfish business goals. In the ‘‘ campaign, Jobs used cultural figures he admired to sell computers — figures who stuck their necks out to fight racism, poverty, inequality, or war.
She has even spoken with a ‘charitable affairs’ director at Apple, who made it pretty clear that charity is not a part of their culture:on this blog some of the stinginess that Apple has demonstrated by actively not encouraging opportunities to use the iPhone to develop apps to link to charities. Another great voice on Apple’s seemingly out-of-touch ‘culture’ can be found in Sarah Schacht’s blog.
Apple had donated iPods to fire victims in a 2008 Southern California fire, and gives donations and discounts to schools (which help spread the brand), but they don’t really give to charities. Your charity can apply, and you may get a response. But they don’t respond often. It’s just not in their culture.
Well, Apple is in our culture. And it’s about time that we show them what our culture values. It’s time that Apple gives back in a meaningful way in this challenging time in our nation’s history.
It’s time for Apple to think different—and think beyond itself.
Add to that the brouhaha over the iPhone’s inability to awake people with their scheduled alarms over the New Year, and one might ask if Apple might find some reticence for 2011 flowing through its ‘culture.’