Guy with a “Whites Only” sign in his conference room tells others not to discriminate

Friends on Facebook have been linking to Tim Cook’s editorial in the Washington Post. Apparently it makes people feel good to “click up” and say “I too oppose discrimination.” This is an act that Mr. Cook says “takes courage.”

Whom is Tim Cook fighting? The ignorant masses in Indiana and Arkansas (and 18 other states), whom he claims are likely to put up “Whites Only” signs on their shop doors. Why is this so upsetting? Cook apparently strongly believes that “Whites Only” signs (Helvetica font) should be restricted to Apple’s executive offices (check out the faces of the folks in operational roles).

35 Comments

  1. Joe

    March 30, 2015 @ 2:56 pm

    1

    I know you will deny this, but I would love to know the real reason you’re an inveterate Apple-hater (or perhaps it’s simply buried in your subconscious). My theory: all hard core PC types by now understand (perhaps subconsciously) that they have made the wrong choice all these years, and are unable to admit it, and resent Apple for it.

    Virtually everyone is praising Tim Cook for having the courage to come out and say this, especially on the eve of a major new product launch, and you’re trying to pin some racist bullshit on him? What a crock!

  2. Bob

    March 30, 2015 @ 3:19 pm

    2

    In fairness, that could just as easily be Starbucks’ corporate roster or even an Obama campaign team. At least this kind of stuff keeps our minds off of Iranian nukes and deleted emails.

  3. John Blackburn

    March 30, 2015 @ 3:59 pm

    3

    Nice one, Phil. You equate a political body’s deliberate legislation to discriminate with a corporate executive team that Cook inherited, and ignore that in his short tenure he’s already broadened the makeup of the team. If you can’t see a difference there in both intent and scale, you’re unusually blind on this issue.

    Besides, how would you realistically expect Cook to have done more in the time he’s had?

  4. mngl

    March 30, 2015 @ 4:08 pm

    4

    Just recently, in Chicago, a high school principal allowed a meeting to take place on public school grounds, during school hours and with an approved sign of limiting the audience only to African-Americans.

    http://www.opposingviews.com/i/society/white-students-not-allowed-high-schools-black-lives-matter-event

  5. Brian Gulino

    March 30, 2015 @ 4:12 pm

    5

    I find Phil’s arguments, and sensibilities, persuasive. There’s something deeply hypocritical about this. Tim Cook’s idea of efficient technical hiring practices is to get bunch of Asians with H-1B visas who are afraid of being deported and work them – hard. His company colluded with Google to keep salaries of top programmers down in violation of U.S. law. Hardly a paragon of freedom and tolerance.

  6. Max Lybbert

    March 30, 2015 @ 4:53 pm

    6

    Joe: Tim Cook’s legal analysis is laughably wrong. I mean, really, incredibly bad. Although I should put “analysis” in quotes: he doesn’t actually say how the Indiana law would definitely lead to discrimination, he simply assumes it. To put it simply, the editorial shows that Cook doesn’t have access to decent lawyers, or is willing to ignore their advice if it gets the way of grandstanding.

    The law itself is at https://iga.in.gov/legislative/2015/bills/senate/568 . In the early ’90s, the Supreme Court ruled that religious freedom didn’t cover as much as people had believed. Congress passed the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act to restore the definition that people had thought existed, with the exception that the federal government is allowed to infringe on religion in the pursuit of a compelling interest, if the government uses the least infringing approach available. In ’97, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal RFRA didn’t apply to states, but states have voluntarily agreed to follow similar rules ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_Religious_Freedom_Restoration_Acts ).

    The important thing to note; the thing that “everyone … praising Tim Cook” has overlooked is that in the last 20 years nobody has ever successfully challenged antidiscrimination laws using federal or state religious freedom restoration laws. Because combating discrimination counts as a compelling government interest. Until you can address that, this tempest is nothing more than a lot of people wringing their hands about hypotheticals that will never come to pass.

  7. Izzie L.

    March 30, 2015 @ 4:55 pm

    7

    >all hard core PC types by now understand (perhaps subconsciously) that they have made the wrong choice all these years, and are unable to admit it, and resent Apple for it.

    Apple stuff only seems magically wonderful to Apple fans. The envy you describe exists only in your head as a result of some sort of circular logic – Apple is so wonderful, how could others help but feel envious? OSX is neither better nor worse than other contemporary OS’s such as Windows 8 or Linux. When I boot an OSX machine, nothing magical happens – it’s still just a computer. The software still has bugs. Sometimes it still crashes. There are fewer viruses than on Windows (but not fewer than on Linux) because the virus writers don’t bother with such a niche OS . There is lots of specialized software that is simply not available for the Mac – it has something like a 5% market share for all the different versions put together.

    As far as I can tell, the main base for Apple (esp. the computers) remains “computers for liberal arts majors” as Jobs himself put it. They have put enough of a shell around the nuts and bolts that non-technical types don’t feel intimidated. It does nothing for me because I was never afraid of the machine to begin with.

    It reminds me of some modern luxury sedans. When you open the hood of these cars, you no longer see an engine with all sorts of messy wires and belts and tubes, etc.. Instead there is a beautiful plastic cover with the maker’s logo on it – that’s all you see. But in order to actually work on the car (and from time to time someone has to work on it, if not the owner) you have to lift off that cover and under the cover is the same old engine as always. These tubes and hoses and wires MUST exist – there’s no way to build an (internal combustion) car that runs without them. The best you can do is hide them from the owner but that doesn’t mean that they’re still not there underneath.

    Now something like a Tesla is truly revolutionary – all those hoses are gone. There’s not even an engine at all under the hood, just a electric motor down near the axle. But a Macintosh is not a Tesla. Modern Macs especially have the exact same chip under the hood as PCs. The hardware is virtually identical. They are just Fords with a plastic cover over the engine compartment and a higher price tag. Nothing to envy or resent.

  8. Steve

    March 30, 2015 @ 6:38 pm

    8

    Seriously, Phil, what the hell? A person speaks up against discrimination and the best you can come up with in response is a false and misleading accusation of overt racial bias against this person?

    I’ve loved reading your blog for years. This kind of argument is beneath you.

  9. Joe

    March 30, 2015 @ 7:20 pm

    9

    I see we have not only multiple Apple-haters here, but bigots as well

  10. philg

    March 30, 2015 @ 8:33 pm

    10

    Steve: Throwing rocks at people you’ve never met in Indiana or Arkansas because you think that they might one day discriminate (since they are bigots while you are tolerant) is not “speaking up against discrimination.” Speaking up against discrimination would be taking a personal risk and going to some effort greater than writing a few hundred words. The http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_Riders would be an example. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dietrich_Bonhoeffer and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sophie_Scholl are less familiar examples. If you earn $millions/year while sitting comfortably in a Gulfstream making the China-San Francisco-New York-London circuit and occasionally write about how middle income people in states that you fly over are bigots that is not speech about discrimination. It is speech about how much better you are than average people.

    Where does it end if well-paid corporate CEOs start talking about how they and their company are holier than others? Ginni Rometty, the CEO of IBM, hasn’t said anything about the states that have this religious freedom law. Is she a bigot? Is it fair to say that IBM is intolerant while Apple is tolerant? How about Meg Whitman at HP… she hasn’t written about the laws that Indiana and Arkansas should have. Are she and HP bigots? Phebe Novakovic, the CEO of General Dynamics. Does our military try to buy death machines from Apple instead of GD because she hasn’t spoken out against discrimination (and neither has Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin)? Is Kenneth Frazier, the Merck CEO, a bigot because he has lacked the courage to speak up regarding the injustices soon to be visited on people in Arkansas? Should we try to buy drugs from a generic maker in India or Israel to avoid supporting Merck?

    If Tim Cook quits his job and moves to Arkansas to become a lobbyist against legislation that he believes is discriminatory I will be happy to congratulate him on his devotion to the cause. But remote control criticism of the laws of a place in which you do not reside or visit is not “speaking up”. It is more like students at Wesleyan demanding a new brand of hummus for their dining hall due to the partial Israeli ownership of Sabra (see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/10/wesleyan-hummus-boycott_n_6289238.html ).

    Joe: Maybe you’ve figured out the subtle marketing genius behind Cook’s editorial. Now consumers will have to buy Apple products unless they want to be seen as bigots, a death-knell for middle-class respectability.

  11. Ken Hagler

    March 30, 2015 @ 9:12 pm

    11

    These laws (and bunch of states and the Federal government already have them) are quite obviously a reaction to recent court decisions saying that wedding photographers, bakers, and florists _must_ provide their services at gay weddings, whether they want to or not. Or in other words, Tim Cook isn’t speaking out against actual discrimination (like, for instance, laws preventing gay people from marrying), he’s speaking out in favor of involuntary servitude, which is illegal in the US already under the Thirteenth Amendment. Not that anyone cares much about what the US Constitution says any more…

  12. Izzie L.

    March 31, 2015 @ 1:14 am

    12

    >A person speaks up against discrimination….

    I can’t begin to imagine the bravery and courage it took for Tim Cook to speak up against the racist and homophobic cake bakers of Indiana. It takes the fortitude of an MLK, the daring of a Freedom Rider to publicly espouse such unpopular views in San Francisco. Others might have hesitated to reject America’s great history of religious freedom, but Tim understands that there are some thing more important than obedience to some invisible sky spirit. This bold statement will surely come at a high price to Tim Cook’s personal safety and finances. People say that the moral giants of the past are all dead and all we have are brown-nosers, but they are lying. Take Andrew Jackson off the $20 and put Tim Cook on there, now!

  13. John M

    March 31, 2015 @ 5:13 am

    13

    As a reader for years these comments have been especially enjoyable.

    It has always been sort of an enduring mystery for me why some of the rich and powerful who exploit progressive movements for their own ends without risk often act and are treated as if they are courageous or enlightened.

    To me Philip has always articulated these ironies in a really entertaining way, which is probably why I enjoy his posts so much. I just wish there was more news coverage like this and wonder why there isn’t. Maybe it has something to do with a cult of celebrity.

  14. Francisco

    March 31, 2015 @ 5:40 am

    14

    Apple’s Senior Management is hardly unique and most of the big ones can’t reach half of non-whites executives even if they amended the signs to “Whites + a particular type of Asian”.

    A few examples (randomly chosen, with some examples selected from the comments):
    – IBM (http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/biographies.wss)
    – Salesforce (http://www.salesforce.com/company/leadership/)
    – Google (http://www.google.com/about/company/facts/management/)
    – Microsoft (http://news.microsoft.com/microsoft-senior-leaders/)
    – Yahoo (https://info.yahoo.com/management-team)
    – HP (http://www8.hp.com/us/en/hp-information/executive-team/team.html)
    – General Electric (http://www.ge.com/about-us/leadership/business-executives)
    – General Motors (http://www.gm.com/company/corporate-officers)
    – Merck (http://www.merck.com/about/leadership/executive-committee/home.html)
    – Nike (http://about.nike.com/pages/executives)
    – Starbucks (http://news.starbucks.com/leadership)

    I agree with you that we get into murky territory when corporations try to moralize in any way other than setting precedence within, and I am not here to try and analyse if Apple is better or worse than others regarding corporate human and environmental responsibility. It certainly isn’t heaven on Earth.

    However, I disagree with you on the remainder of your views. Why can’t individuals with clout and responsibility share their views on matters they are not directly involved in? Can’t you contribute money to a charity in Africa? Why can’t you contribute with opinions or experience? Is silent money good, but public opinion bad? Or does the money have to be channeled through a superPAC or a political advocacy group whose name starts with “Citizens for… ” or “Americans for…”

    While he does not live in those states, it is still his country. Can’t you voice your disagreement about inclusion of evolution on textbooks in Texas, or immigration laws in Arizona, or Proposition 8 in California?

    In particular, Cook might have more reasons and precedent than others – he’s the first and only publicly openly gay Fortune 500 CEO (coming out during the tenure) and he has, on behalf of Apple as well, committed to other civil rights, marching with employees on a San Francisco gay parade. I’m sure Arkansas and Indiana aren’t the greatest sources of income for Apple, but by polarising the company, he does risk certain antagonism.

  15. redlobster

    March 31, 2015 @ 9:40 am

    15

    There is a huge difference between refusing service to a homosexual because you know they are gay and refusing to participate in political speech you disagree with. The gays have gone too far and the pendulum will swing back, probably farther than it needed to. Two things: gays are a very small percentage of the population, and if you force people to choose between the Bible and gay rights, gay rights will lose and lose big.

  16. Izzie L.

    March 31, 2015 @ 10:06 am

    16

    > I just wish there was more news coverage like this and wonder why there isn’t. Maybe it has something to do with a cult of celebrity.

    Maybe it has something to do with the fact that most news reporters and media organizations sympathize and agree with Cook’s type of muddle headed liberalism?
    http://archive.mrc.org/biasbasics/biasbasics.asp

    Many reporters are unwilling to directly state their liberal sympathies because they understand that reporters are traditionally expected to be unbiased. However, if you drill down to “litmus test” type questions, then for example, 97 percent of people working in elite media agree that “it is a woman’s right to decide whether or not to have an abortion” . I’m not sure that even in the old Soviet Union you would have found such total conformity among reporters.

    The ability to dissent from popular views used to be considered the essence of what American freedom meant. But then the dissenters ended up running the country and their views became the popular views and suddenly dissent was not such an important value any more after all.

  17. philg

    March 31, 2015 @ 11:24 am

    17

    Francisco: Can a person who doesn’t live in Texas throw rocks at the Texans who decides what goes into textbooks there? Sure. But he can’t call himself “courageous” for doing so. Nor can others reasonably applaud him for “standing up to the Texas textbook committee.” Maybe if the owner of a textbook company refuses to modify a textbook you could say that person is “standing up” for a principle. (It has to be an owner, not a hired manager, because otherwise it is just a manager spending the shareholders’ money.)

    That a tall white middle-aged male who is CEO of a big company goes out with some of the employees to a parade in San Francisco is not a newsworthy event or a display of courage any more than attending a company picnic would be. Maybe if it were a parade for Cause X in a country where X is illegal and where political opposition tends to be met with violence. Maybe if he had gone out there in 1961 to support Jose Sarria, the first openly gay candidate for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. But not in 2015, 40 years after homosexual activity between consenting adults became legal in California (Wikipedia). I didn’t call myself courageous for having walked over to Central Square in Cambridge to attend an MLK commemoration (see https://blogs.law.harvard.edu/philg/2015/01/19/what-would-martin-luther-king-jr-do-for-us-today/ ) despite the fact that there are presumably at least some Americans who disagree with some of what MLK advocated.

    Let’s see if Tim Cook stands up to advocate for 90% tax rates on individual income over $1 million per year. Or, if you think it is courageous for a CEO to give away shareholders’ money (like a politician courageously spending taxpayer dollars), let’s see if he advocates for the U.S. to tax Apple on its worldwide income and/or an end to the http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/04/28/business/Double-Irish-With-A-Dutch-Sandwich.html and similar systems.

  18. paul kramarchyk

    March 31, 2015 @ 1:20 pm

    18

    You don’t get to be CEO of the biggest company in the world by being stupid. Tim Cook is going to win this one. And sooner than even he thought possible. Indiana Republicans are scrambling for a “clarification” that obscures the real intent of the law enough to avoid being branded witch hunting Calvinists.

    The issue is simple. Your belief in first-century myth does not entitle you to more public privilege than anyone else. If you run a bakery that serves the public, than you must serve all well behaved patrons that makeup the public. Not hard.

    B&H closes the order and checkout portions of their website during Shabbat. It’s not closed to certain patrons and open to others. It’s closed to all patrons. No problem.

    I wish more business leaders would speak out publicly about issues of the day. It’s risky. You’re sure to alienate some customers. I wonder if Tim Cook cleared it with the board?

  19. Francisco

    March 31, 2015 @ 1:55 pm

    19

    Phil: Ok, I agree with your point on the “courageous” aspect. It takes more to be heroic and I’d bet with was a “calculated courage”.

    But he could have done nothing. Between the two, I rather he speaks up.

  20. George

    March 31, 2015 @ 4:29 pm

    20

    Gays sometimes claim that they just don’t want to be bullied. No, it is now clear that they want to be the bullies. They want to stop Indiana from having the same religious freedoms that people in other states have.

    As a company, Apple is all about bullying customers, exployees, reporters, suppliers, and everyone else. Here is a recent article on how it bullies developers. http://apple.slashdot.org/story/15/03/25/0318242/developers-and-the-fear-of-apple

    I prefer non-Apple products because I don’t want to be locked into their systems.

  21. Izzie L.

    March 31, 2015 @ 5:52 pm

    21

    >If you run a bakery that serves the public, than [sic] you must serve all well behaved patrons that makeup [sic] the public.

    This is absolutely not true. Bakeries are not common carriers like airlines and buses. You have the legal right to refuse service for any reason or no reason BUT NOT FOR A DISCRIMINATORY REASON.

    What we have here are two conflicting constitutional rights – one is the right of the bakery owner to exercise his religion and the other is the right of gays not to be discriminated against and we have to decide which of these rights trumps the other. It’s not an easy question.

  22. paul kramarchyk

    March 31, 2015 @ 9:17 pm

    22

    Izzie — You may be right based on current law. Just as George Wallace, newly elected Governor of Alabama, was right in 1963 when he said: “Let us rise to the call of freedom-loving blood that is in us and send our answer to the tyranny that clanks its chains upon the South. In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny . . . and I say . . . segregation today . . . segregation tomorrow . . . segregation forever.” [full speech here: http://goo.gl/2Dr1N7%5D

    Technically Wallace was right when he said “segregation today” and “segregation tomorrow.” Sadly it took an Act of Congress (Civil Rights Act of 1964) to allow people like Colin Powell to sit next to me at a lunch counter. Jim Crow segregation was wrong and most of the civilized world knew it. The south had 100 years to get over the civil war. They needed a nudge to come into the 20th century.

    Now in Indiana it may be perfectly legal for a baker to refuse service to a gay person. The current legality is irrelevant. It’s wrong. And it will change. This is not an open question for those who’ve been paying attention to the 21st century.

    Arne Sorenson, Marriott President and CEO, calls Indiana law “pure idiocy” and “madness.” http://goo.gl/tHNmtA

    Washington Post has an impressive list of ‘religious freedom law’ protesters: http://goo.gl/TMHy1f

  23. Andrew

    March 31, 2015 @ 9:25 pm

    23

    > You have the legal right to refuse service for any reason or no reason BUT NOT FOR A DISCRIMINATORY REASON.

    That’s true. You might be trying to point out some absurdity, but this actually makes sense.

    It is absolutely hard to draw bright lines around, but we’ve collectively decided that some historical (and current) behaviour is repugnant enough that we are willing to over-correct in response, because it’s nearly impossible to effect change in half-measures. And the over-correction is, on balance, less socially damaging than allowing the first behaviour to continue.

    This is *not* an unintended side effect, and it doesn’t really come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention. It is great fodder for low-information faux outrage campaigns, though.

    Government is a blunt instrument. By the time laws need to get involved, the solution is going to be mediocre at best. But sometimes that’s better than the status quo.

  24. Izzie L.

    March 31, 2015 @ 9:50 pm

    24

    Paul – Communists also used to play the “history is on our side” card. It wasn’t. We make efforts all the time to accommodate religious beliefs – granting conscientious objector exemptions to the draft, etc. and having a sincere conscientious objection to baking a cake does not make you George Wallace any more than refusing to fight for your country because you are a Quaker makes you a dirty rotten Commie.

    Andrew – I wasn’t trying to point out any absurdity, I was just trying to give a correct statement of the law. The toughest problems in law are those in which BOTH parties are right to some extent.

  25. JohnO

    March 31, 2015 @ 9:52 pm

    25

    Paul – Jim Crow segregation, by definition, applies only to the South. But northern states were not immune to segregation policies of their own. I guess Boston also needed a nudge to some into the 20th Century.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_busing_desegregation

  26. what about

    March 31, 2015 @ 10:17 pm

    26

    So your answer to Gay discrimination is What Apple lack Black People.

    Apple has Lisa Jackson – Vice President of of Environmental Initiatives, reporting to CEO

    Denise Young Smith is Apple’s vice president of Worldwide Human Resources, reporting to CEO.

    Both are Black Women.

    Your failed logic will never end.

    Next you will throw a temper tantrum, take the ball and go home.

  27. philg

    March 31, 2015 @ 11:18 pm

    27

    “what about”: If you believe that “Environmental Initiatives” and “Worldwide Human Resources” are examples of the “operational roles” referred to in the original posting that suggests a great idea for any Fortune 500 whose execute slate is overweight tall white guys. Create 15 new executive jobs, all reporting to the CEO, and staff them with women of color. Here are a few titles that should work…

    SVP of Diversity
    SVP of Inclusion
    EVP of Safe Spaces
    EVP of Climate Change
    SVP of Inequality
    EVP of Monitoring Microaggression
    SVP for Same-sex Marriage
    EVP of Transgender Assistance

    Now the executive suite will reflect the diversity of America!

  28. Andrew

    April 1, 2015 @ 1:39 am

    28

    Izzie: thank you for the clarification.

    Phil: you mock, but Apple cares a lot about the positions mentioned by “what about”. I’m going to risk wrath by conceding that Tim Cook probably had more options to choose from when hiring a VP Environmental Initiatives or a VP WWHR than, say, an SVP Retail and Online Sales (Angela Ahrendts, white Midwestern lady), and didn’t shy away from the opportunity to choose from an underrepresented pool.

    But let’s be fair. They’re important jobs at Apple, and those women aren’t there to fill quotas.

    I worked at a place that had a Chief Morale Officer once. That was a made up job to placate an irrelevant but popular early employee. White male however, so no equal opportunity raging to be had.

  29. philg

    April 1, 2015 @ 10:35 am

    29

    Yes, Andrew, it makes sense that Apple could not have found a person of color to be a top retail executive. That’s because of the racist shopping mall owners in Indiana and Arkansas who have posted “Whites Only” signs at all of the entrances. Thus it is only white people who have the requisite experience of going to the mall.

    [See also http://corporate.walmart.com/our-story/leadership/executive-management/rosalind-brewer/ ; http://corporate.walmart.com/our-story/leadership/executive-management/don-frieson ; http://corporate.walmart.com/our-story/leadership/executive-management/jeff-davis/ ; http://savoynetwork.com/marvin-ellison/ ; http://savoynetwork.com/myron-gray/ ; http://savoynetwork.com/michael-a-jones/ ; http://savoynetwork.com/richelle-parham-2/ ; http://savoynetwork.com/kim-k-w-rucker-2/ ; http://savoynetwork.com/don-thompson/ ; http://savoynetwork.com/anton-vincent/ ; http://savoynetwork.com/james-d-white/ for how only white people are qualified to handle operational roles in consumer-facing businesses.]

  30. Chuck

    April 1, 2015 @ 1:29 pm

    30

    Paul said: “Now in Indiana it may be perfectly legal for a baker to refuse service to a gay person. The current legality is irrelevant. It’s wrong.”

    Some of us categorically say it’s wrong, some of us categorically say it’s right. That’s what makes living in a pluralistic society so difficult sometimes.

    I’m always fascinated by where we draw the wrong/right lines:

    – “Now in Hollywood it may be perfectly legal for a TV show to refuse employment to an ugly person.” (smells right to me)
    – “Now in most states it may be perfectly legal for an employer to refuse employment to a convicted felon who has finished his sentence.” (smells wrong to me)
    – “Now in most states it may be perfectly legal for a university to refuse admittance to a stupid person.” (being somewhat stupid myself, it’s smelling wrong to me!)

  31. Andrew

    April 1, 2015 @ 9:14 pm

    31

    > Thus it is only white people who have the requisite experience of going to the mall.

    This both misrepresents what I said, and grossly underestimates the role of SVP Retail at Apple. I think the first was intentional, so I’ll ignore it.

    But the second is an interesting miss. Remember that Apple is the highest revenue per sqft retail chain in the world. By something like a 70% margin. Over Tiffany’s.

    That’s gotta be one of the toughest jobs to fill in the company. Best in the world at a narrow thing is hard to hire for. Best in the world at a broad and fluid thing that drives the company is even more so. Like many huge companies, every single person on the Apple exec team could be CEO elsewhere. Like few other companies anywhere, every single person there could be CEO at other market-leading companies.

    Look at the composition of Apple’s exec team again. Six of them are hardcore technologists. All white males, but the industry is so heavily under balanced that it’s not fair to complain about that. Of the remaining nine, three are women, and two are black.

    The six egregiously white and male despite having the statistical possibility of not being are: CTO, CFO, CMO, COO, Chief Counsel, and Dean of Apple University.

    Is it your contention that one or more of those six should be replaced before Tim Cook has a valid point to make in deriding religious (-ly sanctioned) discrimination? If so, which ones?

  32. philg

    April 1, 2015 @ 10:23 pm

    32

    Andrew: The idea that being an Apple executive is harder than being a Walmart, Home Depot, or McDonald’s executive (see links above) and therefore requires the skills that are found only in white people could be a ticket to a lucrative expert witness job if Apple ever faces an Ellen Pao-style lawsuit!

    If I were a jury member, however, I might be skeptical. Walmart has to compete with Target. Home Depot has to compete with Lowe’s. McDonald’s has to compete with a wide range of restaurant options. Apple operates without competition for most of its markets and most of its customers. Just look at this issue. Starbucks urges Americans to “Race Together” and is widely ridiculed. Tim Cook throws rocks at supposed bigots in Arkansas and is cheered as a hero.

    Someone at Apple had to be smart to create the iPhone, infiltrate Microsoft to get them to freeze all useful features of Windows at the XP version, etc. But that doesn’t mean that the current Apple executive team needs to be smarter (and therefore, according to your view, whiter) than executives at companies that face real competition.

    You’ve singled out Angela Ahrendts, the head of retail. One could assume that Apple stores are successful because Ahrendts is white and smart. But the last white/smart head of Apple retail was http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Johnson_%28businessman%29 . When he tried being white and smart at J.C. Penney the results were disastrous for shareholders. Another explanation for Apple stores being successful is that consumers like Apple products and/or dislike the competitive products. In which case running the Apple store network is actually one of the easiest executive jobs in corporate America. Just ask yourself if it would be more challenging to be an executive at J.C. Penney and fight for market share with Macy’s or be an executive at Apple and try to get consumers to buy the iPhone instead of Windows Phone. Ask yourself if it is harder for a consumer to switch from iPhone to Android (learn new interface; buy a range of new apps; obtain new cloud services; inform friends to stop using iMessage) or to switch from Target to Walmart.

  33. Izzie L.

    April 2, 2015 @ 12:41 pm

    33

    The “best” product is often not the one that prevails in the marketplace. You have just posted above about the mystery of why anyone would want to buy a Canon, and yet people do. We all know about Betamax vs. VHS – most experts agreed that Betamax was technically better, but Sony tried the Apple approach and refused to license their technology and the result was that they lost.

    Speaking of losing, if Apple still depended on Macintosh they would probably be broke by now or close to it. Their transition to a consumer electronics company from a (semi-failed) computer and operating system vendor is unprecedented. Microsoft has tried many times over the years to make hardware and it has flopped every time no matter how much money they pour into it (they have a nice little business selling mice that must make them about 5 cents.) Americans conceded the personal electronics (transistor radio) business to Japan almost 60 years ago. For Apple to have introduced THREE successful lines of high volume consumer electronics (iPod, iPad and iPhone) is more than just luck. And to combine high volume with a product that is priced at the high end of the market and that is based on a closed standard that they own – unbelievable. I didn’t like the late Jobs as a person and I’m not even a fan of the Apple products themselves, but as a businessman he was a genius.

    Yes I would LOVE to be the head of Apple retail – they have a product that they could probably sell from an orange crate set up at the side of the road and people would still line up to buy the latest iPhone. But they make so much money off of the things that they can afford to spend money on the stores and on hiring people who are more than minimum wage drones. But they have done well with the stores and their design, which helps to add to their brand image. A lot of men especially avoid setting foot in a retail store at all costs. A visit to the old Circuit City was about as much fun as a visit to the urologist. But Apple has managed to make their stores a place that people will voluntarily step into.

  34. Jess

    April 2, 2015 @ 2:56 pm

    34

    At least they seem to have a fair number of Italians. Progress!

    Perhaps this is my own bias showing, but I have to draw a line between photographers and all the other marriage service providers that I’ve seen mentioned with respect to this issue. If some asshole baker doesn’t want to bake somebody a cake or some bigoted limo driver doesn’t want to give somebody a ride, then sure throw the book at them if that’s what it takes to bring conventions to Indy.

    *However*, taking photos is speech, the freedom of which shall not be abridged. Don’t mess with that, or me and the ACLU will be cheering when the Supreme Court throws your regulations out. Actually, perhaps this is why the “activism” on this issue has been “we don’t like your law” rather than “here’s the law we made”. After all, if someone actually signed a law forcing a photographer forced to attend a wedding she finds obnoxious, and then penalizing her when she takes only pictures of butts, well then someone might have to defend that law in court.

  35. George A.

    April 6, 2015 @ 12:08 pm

    35

    Too late for this topic, but still.

    Tim Cook is taking the easy path. If he really wants to fight for what he belies in and make a difference, at his status, he surely can take the gay topic to countries that Apple does business with and face them heads. Criticizing Indiana and Arkansas is a walk in the park, let us see him doing the same in China and than have him explain his action to the Apple board.

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