[Community] Good bye Fairphone? Apple appears to have again absorbed an innovation / differentiator.

Sebastian Beschke sebastian at sbeschke.de
Fri Feb 14 02:47:13 CET 2014


Am 14.02.2014 05:58, schrieb Boudewijn:
> On Thursday 13 February 2014 16:16:57 Dr. H. Nikolaus Schaller wrote:
>> http://www.macrumors.com/2014/02/13/suppliers-do-not-use-conflict-mineral/
>>
>> It looks (at least on their claims) as if Apple is taking over all arguments
>> that Fairphone is addressing and doing at least the same. And Samsung and
>> other Android devices will/have to follow IMHO soon.

That’s exactly the intended effect of Fairphone… they’re not trying to
start a big business themselves, but to *change* big business.

>>
>> What do you think - is this the end of "the Fairphone idea" as being
>> something better than the main stream? Or is there still space for a
>> Fairphone in the future?
There’s an infinite amount of room for improvement. Already Fairphone
have announced going towards fair gold. Also conflict-free minerals have
nothing to do with fair working conditions. There are lots of other
steps in the supply chain. Additionally, the effect of Fairphone’s
workers’ welfare fund, which is supposed to somewhat empower employees
even in spite of the difficult situation in China wrt. labour unions,
has yet to be determined. I don’t think Apple is making similar efforts.

> (Pity for Fairphone they have not patented "using fair ingredients in the 
> construction of a mobile communications device", I mean, it is not as if 
> ideals should be any less patentable than software...)
Well, this could only hurt their cause, so it’s good they didn’t and
couldn’t.

I think one of the big battlegrounds now is getting decent union
representation for factory workers. In China and many other nations,
there are major political obstacles to this (in China, labour unions are
effectively party organs), so I’m very interested in whether Fairphone
will be able to bootstrap something from the ground up. Because here,
obviously, big manufacturers are not (yet) interested in applying
top-down political pressure.

Sebastian

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