Steve Jobs: iPad Suicide Factory 'Pretty Nice'

Foxconn plant plagued by worker deaths features restaurant and a swimming pool, Jobs points out.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the Taiwanese-owned iPad factory that's been branded a sweatshop amid a rash of worker suicides is actually "pretty nice."

Jobs denied allegations that the plant, owned and operated by Apple sub-contractor Foxconn, subjects Chinese workers to long hours and inhumane conditions.

"They've got restaurants and swimming pools," said Jobs, who spoke earlier this week at the D tech conference in Southern California. "For a factory, it's a pretty nice factory," said Jobs.

Foxconn manufactures the iPad, iPod, and iPhone on behalf of Apple. It also produces tech components for other big vendors, including Dell, HP, and Sony.

Critics have suggested Foxconn is pushing workers beyond the limit in order to meet demand for the iPad, which is selling at a rate of about 33,000 units per day. 12 Foxconn employees have attempted suicide since January—10 succeeded.

Jobs conceded that reports of the deaths were "very troubling to us." He said Apple sent over "our own people and some outside folks as well to look into the issue."

Apple's CEO also used the stage at the Wall Street Journal's D conference, in Rancho Palos Verdes, to expound on a number of other hot tech-industry topics.

With his company having sold more than 2 million iPads since April 3rd, he said it's clear the tech industry is ready to move beyond the personal computer—a market long dominated by Apple rival Microsoft and its Windows software.

"The transformation of the PC to new form factors like the tablet is going to make some people uneasy because the PC has taken us a long ways," said Jobs.

Jobs' comments came a week after Apple surpassed Microsoft in market capitalization. Critics say Microsoft's reliance on its Windows cash cow has kept it from matching Apple's moves into hot new markets like tablet computing and mobile communications.

Jobs also took another swipe at Adobe and its Flash online video technology.

"We don't think Flash makes a great product, so we're leaving it out," said Jobs, referring to Apple's decision not to support Flash on the iPhone or iPad.

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