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Tim Cook backs China's internet censorship
By Thom Holwerda on 2017-12-05 20:10:47

Reading headlines from the World Internet Conference in China, the casual reader might have come away a little confused. China was opening its doors to the global Internet, some media outlets optimistically declared, while others said Beijing was defending its system of censorship and state control.

And perhaps most confusing of all, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook stood up and celebrated China’s vision of an open Internet.

Say what?

Hardly surprising. This may come as a shock, but with publicly traded companies, you're not the customer; you're the product.

Shareholders are their real customers.

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Read Comments: 1-10 -- 11-18
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No
By Bill Shooter of Bul on 2017-12-05 20:39:13
Shareholders aren't their customers. Shareholders are their owners. Theoretically, everything they do should be in service of their shareholders. The things they do for their customers are only done on the expectation that they will produce positive returns for their shareholders.

Its the shareholders, not the customers that ultimately should be controlling a company and how it governs its business. Now as customers, we of course can send a message to those shareholders on how we think the management is doing by deciding how to interact or not interact with the company.

But no, large corporations will not just do what customers tell them, absent some financial motivation.
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RE: No
By FlyingJester on 2017-12-05 22:11:55
Unfortunately, people are lazy, and creatures of habit. And the immediate victims of this act are all in China, where they were already under explicit mass surveillance and censorship. This is a very low-risk move for Apple.
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Fundamentally incorrect
By CaptainN- on 2017-12-05 22:24:28
That's such a bad understanding of what a company even is, let alone how it works.

The owners of the company are by definition not the company's customers. Share holders are the owners of the company, and are interested in that one reason anyone owns a company, that it generates profits. Who the companies sells to to earn that profit is the customer (Google sells to advertisers, and Apple sells to widget consumers). Companies may raise capital by selling stock, but they don't earn profit from selling shares. The difference is important (unless you think all publically traded companies are basically ponzi schemes, but that's a whole other thing).

There's no need to muddy the water though, or to redefine the terms. An owner does what and owners do, and that's enough to understand it all. Why redefine the terms?

Edited 2017-12-05 22:29 UTC
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RE: Fundamentally incorrect
By Thom_Holwerda on 2017-12-05 22:37:36
Clearly, my play on the usual “you’re not the customer, you’re the product” has fallen completely flat due to terrible delivery on my end.

...I... I’m going to leave it like this to remind myself to uh, not try and be funny like this. Sorry guys.
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This is one biased article
By CaptainN- on 2017-12-05 22:42:40
The author of this article reads exactly what he wants from Cook's words, and then uses other quotes (who appear to have more finely parsed Cook's participation and words) to bolster a forgone conclusion.

What Cook said ("developing a digital economy for openness and shared benefits") clearly indicates an agenda of his own, and while his presence may, as one interviewee said "Cook’s appearance lends credibility to [Chinese censors]" what he said doesn't really rise to the level of having "endorsed" any Chinese authority's position, outside of some absolutist or hardline perspective that he be either all for China, or all against China.

I'm not sure what the value of this either/or, zero-sum kind of reasoning is. It's almost as if someone has an anti-Apple agenda.
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Good business or treason
By MadRat on 2017-12-06 05:09:49
So just how does Apple sate China without tripping the Logan Act?
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RE: This is one biased article
By cranfordio on 2017-12-06 06:03:21
I was coming here to say the same thing. His statements sounded more like looking towards the future and what they are trying to accomplish. There was no mention of supporting China’s censorship.

Though only somewhat related to this. I often read articles, even here, about Apple supporting China’s censorship and it makes me think of my father-in-law. My FIL was born and raised in Beijing and left in his early twenties and came to the US. He later became a Christian and decided to return to China as a missionary. China doesn’t allow missionaries so he found a way to do it within their laws.

He has often been critized for being in China and not actively evangelizing, and actually working through the Three-Self Church (the State sanctioned Protestant church). His response has always been that if we want the Government of China to see that Christianity is not a threat (opinions on whether or not this is true is not the point of this comment) then one needs to respect the government and their laws and work within those laws. Over time they will come to see that they are not a threat. But, if you choose to disrespect the government by trying to enforce your own beliefs and opinions on how things should be done, then you not only present yourself as a threat to the government, but it only makes them dig in deeper.

In my opinion this is similar to companies like Apple allowing the censorship. They can either respect China’s government and do what is asked of them while keeping an open dialog with those in control and try to influence change through respect. Or, they can decide to ignore their wishes and lose any opportunity to influence change within China, and most likely cause the government to hold onto their beliefs of censorship even tighter.

Not every government in this world works like the US or most of Western Europe. If we choose to try to enforce our beliefs on other governments through disrespect of their laws then we could be doing the people of those countries more harm than we realize. Instead of open, respectful dialog with the governments we end up insulting them, and causing them to dig in and refuse to change.
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RE[2]: This is one biased article
By kwan_e on 2017-12-06 11:26:00
> His response has always been that if we want the Government of China to see that Christianity is not a threat (opinions on whether or not this is true is not the point of this comment) then one needs to respect the government and their laws and work within those laws. Over time they will come to see that they are not a threat. But, if you choose to disrespect the government by trying to enforce your own beliefs and opinions on how things should be done, then you not only present yourself as a threat to the government, but it only makes them dig in deeper.

It doesn't really work with China. Historically, China always absorbs and assimilates. It changes any foreign influence into something friendly, rather than the other way around. Even the Chinese government today resembles the old imperial government more than any Marxist or Socialist vision.
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Not backing it at all
By cranfordio on 2017-12-06 12:26:11
According to this interview it doesn’t sound like Cook is backing the censorship at all. But I doubt that Thom will update his post to reflect this, it doesn’t hold to his narrative.

http://iphone.appleinsider.com/a...
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RE[2]: This is one biased article
By ksec on 2017-12-06 12:35:19
It doesnt matter any more.

Even, IF the article Print out Tim's Word in the EXACT manner as he said in the speech, people will still, Interpret it as supporting the China's Vision of the Internet.

We dont have a media bias problem, we have a people's bias problem.
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