After a U.S. election in which state-sponsored disinformation may have helped tip the scales, I expect more from Apple than passive compliance.
From the Wall Street Journal, 7 years ago:
Google Inc.’s startling threat to withdraw from China was an intensely personal decision, drawing its celebrated founders and other top executives into a debate over the right way to confront the issues of censorship and cyber security.
Google’s very public response … was crafted over a period of weeks, with heavy involvement from Google’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
For the two men, China has always been a sensitive topic. Mr. Brin has long confided in friends and Google colleagues of his ambivalence in doing business in China, noting that his early childhood in Russia exacerbated the moral dilemma of cooperating with government censorship, people who have spoken to him said. Over the years, Mr. Brin has served as Google’s unofficial corporate conscience, the protector of its motto “Don’t be Evil.”
Mr. Schmidt made the argument he long has, according to these people, namely that it is moral to do business in China in an effort to try to open up the regime. Mr. Brin strenuously argued the other side, namely that the company had done enough trying and that it could no longer justify censoring its search results.
The three ultimately agreed they should disclose the [Chinese] attack publicly, trying to break with what they saw as a conspiratorial culture of companies keeping silent about attacks of this nature, according to one person familiar with the matter.
I know, I know. That’s easy for Google to say. China is not its second biggest market, or the assembly point for its most profitable products.
But after a Presidential election in which state-sponsored disinformation may have helped tip the scales, I expect more from Apple than passive compliance.
Note: This is an especially sensitive issue for Tim Cook, who made his bones at Apple fine-tuning its Asian supply chain. China began blocking the Times’ websites in 2012 after the paper ran a series of articles on the wealth of the family of then-Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. According to the Times, the new crackdown coincides with their investigative report—based on leaked Chinese government documents—about billions of dollars in hidden perks and subsidies China gives Apple’s Asian partners. See Apple, China, Trump and trouble