JANA Partners Urges Apple, Inc. to Think Differently

Who is responsible for the vast amount of hours that kids spend using technology today? Should parents be held responsible? Should schools? Or should the creators and distributors of that technology have a part of the responsibility? These are tough questions, and certainly there is much room for debate. One organization, JANA Partners, together with the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, is offering their opinion to Apple, Inc. JANA Partners and Callstrs own approximately $2 billion in shares of Apple.

In the letter called Think Differently About Kids, JANA admits that they aren’t looking for an “all or nothing” approach to technology. They recognize that there are many benefits to today’s technology. As they explain,

“More than 10 years after the iPhone’s release, it is a cliché to point out the ubiquity of Apple’s devices among children and teenagers, as well as the attendant growth in social media use by this group. What is less well known is that there is a growing body of evidence that, for at least some of the most frequent young users, this may be having unintentional negative consequences.” They list many of the consequences and the research that points to the many difficulties dealing with children today and their use of technology in educational, social and family settings.

They are asking Apple for a number of important steps that Apple can follow. These include creating an expert committee, offering Apple’s information resources for research efforts, creating new tools and options, educating the public and reporting.

In response, Apple explained that it already had extensive parental controls that govern the content and applications. They said that,

“We think deeply about how our products are used and the impact they have on users and the people around them. We take this responsibility very seriously and we are committed to meeting and exceeding our customers’ expectations, especially when it comes to protecting kids.”

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Certainly, opening channels of communication about technology is the first step in helping today’s kids (and tomorrow’s) to approach their use of technology in a different way.



US-China Battles





Proview Pissed with Apple

Usually it’s the western companies accusing their eastern counterparts of copying their stuff.  But with Shenzhen Proview Technology and Apple, Inc., it has been the other way around.  This might shed some light on why US companies simply want to avoid doing business in Asian countries.

Basically, Proview (the company in mega debt) claimed that it legally bought the rights to the iPad trademark back in 2009. The Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Court ruled against Apple.  One foreign relations expert, Adam Segal used this example to point to the problems of Americans doing business in China, saying “I think it’s an issue of how laws are interpreted and how they’re implemented and what you can expect from different level courts.” 

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Cutting Their Noses Off

But isn’t Shenzhen really cutting its nose off to spite its face?  When Proview decided that the iPads shouldn’t be sold in Shanghai anymore all it succeeded in doing was aggravating its citizens.  And ultimately that will boost the popularity of Apple even further which has to be annoying at best for Proview. 

Plus Proview has to know that its now arch-enemy Apple is not going to take this lying down.  Proview has now implied it will try and resolve the dispute out of court.  Why?  Well, Apple sent the company a letter accusing Proview of bad-mouthing it through the media which of course is illegal.  So what started as Proview trying to attack Apple, might end up biting it in the ass and it having to defend itself.

In addition, as Daniel Eran Dilger tweeted, “funny that Proview was deemed likely to get big money from Apple for its disputed IPAD trademark, given that it was an iMac ripoff from '98.” And he’s right.

Lessons Learned

What does this teach us?  Pick your battles.  Don’t go after someone double (or probably more like quadruple) the size of you.  And if you do have to, make sure you have all the facts before you start.  It’s pretty obvious that the amount of companies that have successfully taken to Apple to court and won can be counted on one hand or less.

Passing of Steve Jobs

Do What You Love

At the tender of age of 56, Steve P. Jobs, co-founder and chairman of Apple Inc., “died peacefully [yesterday] surrounded by his family.”  He had been battling pancreatic cancer for a while but was also in remission for some years after having gotten a liver transplant.  Then he got sick again and last night finally passed away.

Jobs fought the illness and continued in his position, but six weeks ago, he resigned as Apple’s CEO and suggested that Tim Cook – his long-time deputy – should take over from him.  Cook was then named Chairman of the company.

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It was over 35 years ago that Steve Jobs founded his company along with Steve Wozniak in 1976.  At the time, Jobs was 21 and Wozniak, 26.  They began work in Jobs’ family garage and sold their first computer for $666.66.  He always told people to “do what you love” as a way of being successful.  It certainly worked for him.

Today his company is best known for consistent quality, the iPod, iPad and iPhone.  He leaves a widow, Laurene Powell Jobs, and three children: Reed, Erin and Eve.  May he rest in peace.