While I agree that Apple (and all other companies for that matter) should stop manufacturing in China, (not just for your stated reasons, human rights comes to mind) the actual cost difference is not that great. Apple has an enormous mark-up and does what is essentially price fixing in many parts of the world. I looked at getting an assembly done in China vs. in Australia, (same cost structures as US) and found that the assembly cost was ~$5.- in China and about $22.- here. Based on the selling price it was only a 10% difference. Just imagine, we are putting up with job losses and social hardship for 10% on things we can actually do without. I'm not say we should do without, only that because we CAN, if we have to work 1 extra week to afford it, it's not a big deal. The real issue is that because companies ARE ALLOWED to send jobs to China, and companies MUST maximise return to shareholders, every company MUST do what every other company is doing to keep up with the competition. The situation can't improve until either the government bans export of jobs (not Jobs :-) ) which is very unlikely, China becomes as expensive as the USA (a very long time) or the price of oil reaches a level where shipping costs prohibit global manufacturing. In the short term I think only the 3rd option has a chance. The 2nd option has the problem that Africa may just become the next China. Sorry this is off topic with regard to the main article, but I think it helps address your questions.
If his successor removes their manufacturing from being done in China, America will be MUCH better off. I can't help but wonder if his decision to hand over Apple's company secrets to a country who steals and counterfeits everything they touch, has taken a toll on Steve's health. The founder of ethernet (head cheese of 3com) says Steve is his favorite person in the world. This tempers my frustration with Steve appeasing the share holders who demand their products be 30% less. I am hopeful they will find their way, and put America back on top. Go Team USA ! :o)
Steve has built his company's success on charisma (product and persona). That is always a short term road to success. If he's cleaned the idiots that were on the board that dumped him way back when and has coached likely successors Apple will keep going. If they can in addition to this properly address their culture of forcing everything from the top down (see iPhone4 antenna fiasco as ONE example) they will continue to prosper. Isn't it interesting that in a capitalist environment where free market is king, most companies run a communist regime internally?
First I wish Steve Jobs good health and a speedy recovery. If Steve was smart about it and I think he was, he'll have built a company and a culture that will live long after he is gone. The company's fortunes will of course wax and wane but his way of thinking and working will keep Apple prospering for a many years to come.
Having said that, this is a dangerous time for Apple. Should a mere bean counter or someone of lesser stature take the reins, then the whole edifice can and will come tumbling down. In my long years on this earth, I have seen great companies driven into bankruptcy, and I fear the same may happen to Apple if they are not very, very careful.
“Apple did not invent the personal computer, the MP3 player, the smartphone or the tablet computer. But, with Jobs at the helm, it dramatically redefined all of them with an emphasis on technology, industrial design and user experience.”
Visionary? yes! Innovative? here are some examples:
Our heartfelt wishes for speedy recovery to Steve Jobs. He had unique vision to conceive novel products and lead market with them. However, we should also try to analyze and understand Steve Jobs life and work and train more young technocrates to be like him.