One of my stories in today's AAPL Orchard email was the BBC going undercover into Pegatron, one of Apple's iPhone assemblers. This morning after publication, Apple's head of operations, Jeff Williams, wrote a memo to Apple's UK team addressing BBC's "Apple's Broken Promises" documentary. BBC sent three reporters undercover to work in a Pegatron iPhone factory. I was able to watch the documentary last night. I would recommend watching the video as I thought the first 30 minutes were relatively fair from a journalistic standpoint, including observations and recordings from inside Pegatron. I thought the documentary started to lose credibility in the second half when the discussion turned to the very bottom of Apple's supply chain, focused on tin mining. I wasn't alone as Apple's Williams dedicated a good portion of his memo to that part of the documentary.
Apple SVP Operations Jeff Williams:
I thought the entire memo, but in particular that particular section, was well-written. It was tough watching children work in tin mines, but I knew that the BBC positioning these awful situations as being somehow approved by Apple was unfair and not trying to actually help these people. Williams did a good job at clearly explaining what Apple has been doing to address the situation, instead of simply telling its suppliers not to buy tin from those mines. The weird part about the BBC documentary was that the undercover reporters did notice a few protocols not being met inside Pegatron, which I assumed have already been addressed, but BBC went further and started to frame Apple as simply not caring about what was going on in its supply chain, or insinuating the more disingenuous claim that Apple approved of shortcuts or cheats meant to meet certain safety benchmarks or ratios. I thought the BBC reporter had an interesting story idea and took some risk to get the unique footage, but I suspect the conclusions were stretched too far in order to find a juicy story.