On January 21st, reporters Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher (New York Times) published the first of a series of articles describing Apple’s relationship with China – regarding Jobs, worker treatment and Apple manufacturing partners in the communist state. The first article, entitled “How The US Lost Out On The iPhone” was a brilliant piece, which really broke down the infinite variables that go into running a company like Apple and manufacturing in the 21st century. The article stared with a conversation between president Obama and Steve Jobs:
…When Barack Obama joined Silicon Valley’s top luminaries for dinner in California last February, each guest was asked to come with a question for the president.
But as Steven P. Jobs of Apple spoke, President Obama interrupted with an inquiry of his own: what would it take to make iPhones in the United States? Not long ago, Apple boasted that its products were made in America. Today, few are. Almost all of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products Apple sold last year were manufactured overseas. Why can’t that work come home? Mr. Obama asked. Mr. Jobs’s reply was unambiguous. “Those jobs aren’t coming back,” he said, according to another dinner guest…
TechedOn covered the New York Time’s piece in depth but we only really talked about the “Lost Jobs” article, as the other articles written by Charles Duhigg and Keith Bradsher concerning worker treatment were essentially “hit pieces” – they were focused directly at Apple and not the rest of the high tech industry, not to mention every other company that manufacturers products in China. To single out Apple, which they did, was solely to bring the attention that Apple’s brand recognition brings to the table – nothing more. Apple is not a sweatshop owner nor are they the representatives for a government (China) that has sold its population into global slavery.
Regardless, as soon as the Time’s articles circulated the web, every blogger, reporter, analyst and YouTube personality started covering the “Lost Jobs To China” story. Within a week, even congress was barking at Apple to bring jobs back to America – interestingly, no one really understood the first article published in the New York Times stating that those jobs were not capable of coming back. No matter, 2012 is an election year and people needed to beat the drum about something and since jobs were a hot issue – why not. Yet, within all the uneducated yelling, bitching and complaining about lost jobs – no one paused to think about the “New Economy” jobs that had been created, specifically as a side effect to Apple’s sprawling growth. That is, no one until now.
TechNet.org has just published a 16page report explaining the new and expanding App Economy. Before we get into the report, here is a little about TechNet and what the App Economy is: TechNet is the preeminent bipartisan political network of CEOs and Seniors Executives that promotes the growth of technology-led innovation. Founded in 1997 by visionaries John Doerr, Jim Barksdale and John Chambers, TechNet unites with government leaders across the country to sculpt public policies that ensure American competitiveness and economic leadership.
…The term ‘App Economy’ started coming into use in early 2009, and was popularized by a prescient November 2009 BusinessWeek cover story…But the App Economy is much more than a better delivery channel for software. From the economic perspective, we can think of the App Economy as a collection of interlocking innovative ecosystems. Each ecosystem consists of a core company, which creates and maintains a platform and an app marketplace, plus small and large companies that produce apps and/or mobile devices for that platform. Businesses can belong to multiple ecosystems and usually do…
Now that we have some background knowledge of the situation, let’s get into the heart of the story. Apple’s iphone, Nokia’s Lumia 800, Google’s Nexus, HTC’s Hero are not simply phones like the phones of the past – they are mini computers with complementary ecosystems (software platforms) and the exploding smartphone market has given rise to an ever hungry consumer class that wants games, utilities and software (apps) for their favorite handsets – hence the birth of the App Economy. Just to put this into perspective, Apple’s App store has over 500,000 apps built by thousands of different developers, this is not to mention the App store Apple has for their desktop ecosystem. These are jobs and companies that did not exist before the “App” revolution.
So how many jobs are we talking about….because people and politicians care about numbers not necessarily the foundations of a future economy. TechNet’s report put the number of jobs created by the App Economy at about 466,000 this is not solely from Apple’s ecosystem but from many different companies – from game developers like Zynga, all the way to ISPs/Wireless providers like AT&T.
These are jobs mostly created within American and more importantly: 1) are jobs that never before existed – 2) Jobs that are part of a massive growing sub-economy – 3) are jobs that have been added at the worst of times, imagine if the economy turns around. Yet, people are fixed on old world jobs lost to China, India and Brazil – it doesn’t seem to resonate to those same people that we live in the 21st century and within an information economy. An information economy that has massive sub-economies growing within it like the ”App Economy” and ”Green Energy Economy”.
It’s important to remember that economies, especially global economies, are living organisms - they grow – they shrink – they expand and they change. Economies are not static or forever stable and often, when an economy becomes static – it collapses. To be part of the future stage, we as a country need to be able to adapt to the ever changing economic/technological environment. We can’t get hung up on not being able to compete with China on manufacturing - we need to concentrate on what we can do better and that “better” is the future – the App Economy.
Check out Technet’s Report By Clicking Here-