It isn't all new Pros and sunshine.
Apple shares hit a record high of $363.13 last week, buoyed by rumors of the iPad 2 and those "stunning" new MacBook Pros. But all is not well in the Cupertino-based kingdom. While two award shows worth of hype weren't enough to draw eyes away from iOS, continued worries over succession have stockholders acting skittish.
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Steve Jobs is in the midst of another medical leave of absence. Considering the high level of control and influence Steve has had over Apple's last decade of hits, this is of concern to stockholders. Which is why a major shareholder group is demanding to know Apple's plans for succession.
They want the board to create a "Succession planning policy" that would be reviewed yearly and would "identify and develop internal candidates" for the CEO job. Apple has an issue with this- but not for the reason you might think. They feel that developing such a list would open their most valuable executives up for poaching. Who wouldn't want to hire someone tipped as the next Apple CEO?
A major issue has also cropped up in Apple's manufacturing process. The company put out an annual report today that delved into the employment standards of the Chinese factories that make their products. Child labor seems to be rising in these areas, even though Apple has been working to curb such abuses. While China has 16 as the minimum working age, many younger workers have falsified documents in order to get jobs.
In 2010, Apple found 91 underage workers in supplier factories. In 2009, they found only twenty-five. After their most recent audit, Apple ended their relationship with one facility that was found to have employed some 42 child workers. At least a few of these children were paid to return to school.
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As demand for mobile devices continues to soar, so will the need for workers. It is important for major players like Apple to keep a watchful eye over their suppliers. Otherwise, child labor will continue to rise unchecked in the tech industry. Worldwide, roughly 158 million children from 5-14 are employed as child laborers. That's one in six children, worldwide. 44 million of those kids work in South-East Asia. Which is something you should know before you buy that next fancy gadget.