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Apple Nightmare Apple Only Gets Worse




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Apple has found itself in a public relations nightmare in recent days, with the tech giant's troubled relationship with China in an unfriendly media spotlight. What began as a bit of a problem in big China – the withdrawal of applications that allow Hong Kong citizens to track down the places of protest, has become a fiery geopolitical debate about Apple's loyalty and whether it puts profits above politics, reality before reputation.

It started with an application – but now has pushed Apple's track record of approval to Beijing to the media. This has also revealed the tendency to continue self-censorship on Apple's part which even involves the company's flagship TV streaming service. Never before has Apple's problems in China presented such a big challenge for broader business, with the potential for lasting reputation damage.

That yoyo game HKMap Live played with Apple's App Store is well documented. The Hong Kong citizen data crowdsources application for tracking protests and police activity. At first Apple refused because it "allows users to avoid law enforcement." There was a public reaction that caused Apple to reverse its decision. This in turn causes threat against Apple in Chinese state media for "rash" and warning of "consequences." And that causes the application to be rejected from the Apple store once again.

The power of criticism directed at Apple after the reversal was enough to drive CEO Tim Cook write to staff. "This decision has never been easier," he said, "and it is still more difficult to discuss these topics during times of intense public debate."

In his letter, Cook shared Apple's official line, that the company had "credible information, from the Cyber ​​Crime Bureau and Crime Technology, as well as from users in Hong Kong, that the application was used maliciously to target individual officers to commit violence. And to sacrifice individuals and property where there are no police. This use makes the application violate Hong Kong law. "

Needless to say, the fact that Apple's information mainly comes from Hong Kong authorities is somewhat damaging to its credibility. This application focuses on the concentration of police officers, not individuals as has been claimed, and there is no reporting of unpaved areas – unless you judge an empty part of the map as having malicious intent.

Charles Mok, a member of the Hong Kong legislative council wrote to Cook, accused Apple of prioritizing profits, and stressed that his decision would "cause problems for normal Hong Kong citizens who try to avoid police presence while they are constantly in fear of police brutality. . "

As much as fiery headlines have been made, HKMap Live is still a spectacle for Apple. But it has pushed broader relations with China to the media, and that is a serious problem for companies. Apple has a form to make Beijing happy. As reported by South China Morning Post, this is one of the many examples of the times "Apple surrendered to China," and in that combination presents a narrative that is not liked in Cupertino.

The newspaper noted the recent removal of the Taiwan flag emoji in the latest update for iOS 13. Limitation of carving Apple products in China with words that might be considered offensive by the state, terms related to Taiwan, Falun Gong, dissidents, dictatorships, independence , human rights. Then there was the removal of "unacceptable" Western news outlets from the China App Store, as well as gambling and VPN sites that pushed too hard against China's "Great Firewall". Or what about the restrictions on iBooks and iTunes films. Or storage of Chinese users' iCloud data inside China to comply with local cyber security regulations – and facilitate state access requests.

All this was repeated in the media after the HK Map Live controversy. And that leads to a watch and wait approach to what will come out alongside claims that Apple has compromised itself in China for all the wrong reasons.

It doesn't take long. But when it came, it was still unexpected. As reported by BuzzFeed News, Apple first censored content for the upcoming Apple TV + service, telling event runners "to avoid portraying China in a bad light." and services, and Morgan Wandell, head of international content development. "There are no comments from Apple.

The ongoing Cold War technology between the US and China, with tariffs and sanctions, presents a huge threat to Apple – it provides about $ 50 billion in sales and its core manufacturing base. The politics of Apple's relations with Beijing have made headlines before – exchanging letters with U.S. policy makers in 2017 about deleting VPNs and ignoring China's mention of cyber attacks on iOS devices that were linked to the Uighur population a few weeks ago. But this seems timeless, with the media spotlight on how Apple will handle itself at every opportunity – a nightmare for the company.

In the end, there is a strong chance that Apple will change its angle at some point and its relationship with China will gradually diminish. The company is exploring options to shift manufacturing to other locations in Asia given the business risks and the impact of new tariffs on goods made in China. Then there are U.S. sanctions against Huawei (and others) which has led to speculation that China will follow it at some point.

Then there's the reputation dimension – U.S. Technology giants have all played the game with China. Microsoft and Google in particular have faced criticism for their work with Chinese entities and appear to be a double standard when it comes to technological freedoms that are likely to be compromised at home.

But, above all, there is a real politics around the divisions that have arisen between East and West. Apple's exposure to China moves at a fairly rapid pace from opportunity to threat, and at Cupertino, one can imagine serious adult contingency planning happening even when the company openly maintains its attitude.

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Apple has found itself in a public relations nightmare in recent days, with the tech giant's troubled relationship with China in an unfriendly media spotlight. What began as a bit of a problem in big China – the withdrawal of applications that allow Hong Kong citizens to track down the places of protest, has become a fiery geopolitical debate about Apple's loyalty and whether it puts profits above politics, reality before reputation.

It started with an application – but now has pushed Apple's track record of approval to Beijing to the media. This has also revealed the tendency to continue self-censorship on Apple's part which even involves the company's flagship TV streaming service. Never before has Apple's problems in China presented such a big challenge for broader business, with the potential for lasting reputation damage.

The HKMap Live yoyo game played with the Apple App Store is well documented. The Hong Kong citizen data crowdsources application for tracking protests and police activity. At first Apple refused because it "allows users to avoid law enforcement." There was a public reaction that caused Apple to reverse its decision. This in turn caused threats to Apple in Chinese state media because of "rash" and warning "consequences." And that caused the application to be rejected from the Apple store once again.

The power of criticism directed at Apple after the reversal was enough to encourage CEO Tim Cook to write to staff. "This decision has never been easier," he said, "and it is still more difficult to discuss these topics during times of intense public debate."

In his letter, Cook shared Apple's official line, that the company had "credible information, from the Cyber ​​Crime Bureau and Crime Technology, as well as from users in Hong Kong, that the application was used maliciously to target individual officers to commit violence. And to sacrifice individuals and property where there are no police. This use makes the application violate Hong Kong law. "

Needless to say, the fact that Apple's information mainly comes from Hong Kong authorities is somewhat damaging to its credibility. This application focuses on the concentration of police officers, not individuals as has been claimed, and there is no reporting of unpaved areas – unless you judge an empty part of the map as having malicious intent.

Charles Mok, a member of the Hong Kong legislative council wrote to Cook, accused Apple of prioritizing profits, and stressed that his decision would "cause problems for normal Hong Kong citizens who try to avoid police presence while they are constantly in fear of police brutality. . "

As much as fiery headlines have been made, HKMap Live is still a spectacle for Apple. But it has pushed broader relations with China to the media, and that is a serious problem for companies. Apple has a form to make Beijing happy. As reported by South China Morning Post, this is one of the many examples of the times "Apple surrendered to China," and in that combination presents a narrative that is not liked in Cupertino.

The newspaper noted the recent removal of the Taiwan flag emoji in the latest update for iOS 13. Limitation of carving Apple products in China with words that might be considered offensive by the state, terms related to Taiwan, Falun Gong, dissidents, dictatorships, independence , human rights. Then there was the removal of "unacceptable" Western news outlets from the China App Store, as well as gambling and VPN sites that pushed too hard against China's "Great Firewall". Or what about the restrictions on iBooks and iTunes films. Or storage of Chinese users' iCloud data inside China to comply with local cyber security regulations – and facilitate state access requests.

All this was repeated in the media after the HK Map Live controversy. And that leads to a watch and wait approach to what will come out alongside claims that Apple has compromised itself in China for all the wrong reasons.

It doesn't take long. But when it came, it was still unexpected. As reported by BuzzFeed News, Apple previously censored content for the upcoming Apple TV + service, telling program runners "to avoid portraying China in a bad light." BuzzFeed News was told by sources that "the instruction was communicated by Eddy Cue, Apple's SVP of software and internet services, and Morgan Wandell, head of international content development." There were no comments from Apple.

The ongoing Cold War technology between the US and China, with tariffs and sanctions, presents a huge threat to Apple – it provides about $ 50 billion in sales and its core manufacturing base. The politics of Apple's relationship with Beijing have made headlines before – exchanging letters with U.S. policy makers in 2017 about deleting VPNs and ignoring China's mention of cyber attacks on iOS devices that were linked to the Uighur population a few weeks ago. But this seems eternal, with the media spotlight on how Apple will handle itself at every opportunity – a nightmare for the company.

In the end, there is a strong chance that Apple will change its angle at some point and its relationship with China will gradually diminish. The company is exploring options to switch manufacturing to other locations in Asia given the business risks and the impact of new tariffs on goods made in China. Then there are U.S. sanctions against Huawei (and others) which has led to speculation that China will follow it at some point.

Then there's the reputation dimension – U.S. Technology giants have all played the game with China. Microsoft and Google in particular have faced criticism for their work with Chinese entities and appear to be a double standard when it comes to technological freedoms that may be compromised at home.

But, above all, there is a real politics around the divisions that have arisen between East and West. Apple's exposure to China moves at a fairly rapid pace from opportunity to threat, and in Cupertino, one can imagine serious adult contingency planning happening even when the company openly maintains its attitude.


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