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ExtraBITS for 9 April 2012

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Read on for a comprehensive look from Stephen Fry at how Apple’s competitors have repeatedly dropped the ball since the release of the iPhone, and a perspective-setting article from Nick Bilton of the New York Times about how companies other than Apple that use questionable Chinese labor to manufacture devices have been suspiciously silent about the issue.

Stephen Fry on What the iPhone’s Competitors Missed -- Apple is at the top of its game now, but that level of success isn’t entirely attributable to its products. Multi-hyphenate Stephen Fry has been carrying multiple cellular phones — and smartphones — since long before 2007, and he writes about how the failures of Apple’s competition since the introduction of the iPhone have helped Apple reshape the market.

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Too Much Silence on Working Conditions -- Judging from most press reports over the last couple of months, you’d think Apple has done a horrible job of protecting the safety of the Chinese workers who manufacture most of its devices. Foxconn, one of Apple’s largest manufacturers, is actually a behemoth that builds cell phones, computers, tablets, and other technology for most of the big companies around the world. Nick Bilton of the New York Times started asking these other firms — including Dell, HP, Samsung, and Microsoft — about how they’re responding to working conditions. The answers? Silence, pat press releases, and very little actual information.

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