The iEconomy: Apple and Technology Manufacturing. Since January, the New York Times has been running a series of articles "examining the challenges posed by increasingly globalized high-tech industries," with a focus on Apple's business practices. The seventh article in the series was published today: In Technology Wars, Using the Patent as a Sword. Related: For Software, Cracks in the Patent System and Fighters in the Patent War. [more inside]
Made in America: small businesses buck the offshoring trend - "For US manufacturing to make sense, factories must make extensive use of automation. That's getting easier, given that the cost of robots with comparable capabilities has decreased precipitously in the past two decades." [more inside]
He might've placed a couple of chips into your Mac, Dell or Hewlett-Packard. Meet Yuan Yandong.
"They actually envied those who could take a leave due to work injury, while casually joking about how their station's been toxicated."
A (translated) Chinese report on life as a factory worker at Foxconn, the company that manufactures iPhones and other gadgets. Each employee would sign a "voluntary overtime affidavit," in order to waive the 36-hour legal limit on your monthly overtime hours. This isn't a bad thing, though, as many workers think that only factories that offer more overtime are "good factories," because "without overtime, you can hardly make a living."
The National Labor Committee, a watchdog group that investigates working conditions at foreign factories producing goods for US corporations, has released a report on the KYE Factory in Guangdong, China. KYE manufactures outsourced products for Microsoft (their biggest customer), HP, Best Buy, Samsung, Foxconn, Acer, Logitech, and ASUS. The report focuses heavily on the workers producing Microsoft products. In response, Microsoft says they will investigate the allegations, as their vendor code of conduct (pdf) bans much of the abuses uncovered by the report. Photo Slideshow / NLC report summary [more inside]
Health and safety issues at an 'investment casting' (AKA 'lost wax') factory near Ningbo. Seventh in a series of photo essays (1 2 3 4 5 6) by Hong Kong-based independent photographer Alex Hofford, looking at life and work in the factories of southern China where the world's stuff gets made.