Apple Inc.'s chief executive responded to a wave of negative attention to conditions at overseas factories that make its products, saying the insinuation that Apple doesn't care about the welfare of its workers is "offensive."
"Unfortunately, some people are questioning Apple's values today," Tim Cook wrote in an e-mail to Apple employees. "Any accident is deeply troubling, and any issue with working conditions is cause for concern."
A series of articles in the New York Times has brought new focus on Apple's highly profitable production strategy, which relies heavily on Chinese workers who live in dormlike factories and spend many hours assembling devices. The safety records and working conditions in those factories have been questioned, and Apple's labor practices received intense scrutiny in 2010, when more than a dozen workers at Chinese iPhone plants committed suicide.
The later New York Times article quoted former Apple and Foxconn employees saying that Apple prioritized profit and production speed above worker welfare.