Apple's Jobs throws HP and Dell under the Prius

Apple's Jobs throws HP and Dell under the Prius

Summary: Apple has taken its share of environmental hits and CEO Steve Jobs has had enough. And he's willing to throw HP and Dell under the Prius while he's at it.

SHARE:

Apple has taken its share of environmental hits and CEO Steve Jobs has had enough. And he's willing to throw HP and Dell under the Prius while he's at it.

In a blog post dubbed "A Greener Apple" Jobs outlines the company's green IT strategy, which has been a hot topic of late. Gartner thinks it's going to be a huge issue for the technology industry.

In a nutshell, Jobs highlights Apple's environmental efforts and apparently chafes at how rival PC makers are talking up their green efforts. Says Jobs:

Upon investigating Apple’s current practices and progress towards these goals, I was surprised to learn that in many cases Apple is ahead of, or will soon be ahead of, most of its competitors in these areas. Whatever other improvements we need to make, it is certainly clear that we have failed to communicate the things that we are doing well.

Communication is one thing. Marketing is another. Jobs' blog has a distinct pattern: He notes Apple's environmental initiatives and then throws rivals under the Prius.

For instance, Jobs writes about lead and how cathode-ray tube (CRT) displays put a lot of the chemical in the environment.

In mid-2006, Apple became the first company in the computer industry to completely eliminate CRTs. The effect has been stunning — our first CRT-based iMac contained 484 grams of lead; our current third-generation LCD-based iMac contains less than 1 gram of lead.

Under the Prius moment: "Dell, Gateway, Hewlett Packard and Lenovo still ship CRT displays today," writes Jobs.

On cadium, hexavalent chromium and decabromodiphenyl ether, Jobs says Apple complies with European Union regulations (called RoHS) on those chemicals. Rivals are getting by on these regulations with exemptions, Jobs notes.

Under the Prius moment: "Some electronics companies, whose names you know, still rely on RoHS exemptions and use these toxic chemicals in their products today," says Jobs.

On arsenic and mercury, Jobs says Apple will eliminate arsenic in displays by the end of 2008. As for mercury, Apple will "reduce and eventually eliminate the use of mercury by transitioning to LED backlighting for all displays when technically and economically feasible."

Under the Prius moment: Shockingly none.

Turns out there were no zingers above because Job was saving it up for his missive on polyvinyl chloride (PVC). In full:

Some companies have made promises to phase out other toxic chemicals like polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a type of plastic primarily used in the construction industry but also found in computer parts and cables, and brominated flame retardants, or BFRs, which reduce the risk of fire. Apple began phasing out PVC twelve years ago and began restricting BFRs in 2001. For the past several years, we have been developing alternative materials that can replace these chemicals without compromising the safety or quality of our products. Today, we’ve successfully eliminated the largest applications of PVC and BFRs in our products, and we’re close to eliminating these chemicals altogether. For example, more than three million iPods have already shipped with a BFR-free laminate on their logic boards.

Dell and Lenovo have publicly stated that they plan to eliminate the use of PVC and BFRs in their products in 2009. Hewlett Packard has not yet publicly stated when they will eliminate the use of PVC and BFRs in their products, but has said that they will publish a plan by the end of 2007 which will state when in the future they will eliminate the use of these toxic chemicals in their products.

Apple plans to completely eliminate the use of PVC and BFRs in its products by the end of 2008.

A note of comparison — In 2007 HP stated that they will remove PVC from all their packaging. Apple did this 12 years ago. Last year, Dell began the process of phasing out large quantities of brominated flame retardants in large plastic enclosure parts. Apple’s plastic enclosure parts have been bromine-free since 2002.

Under the Prius moment: "In one environmental group’s recent scorecard, Dell, HP and Lenovo all scored higher than Apple because of their plans (or “plans for releasing plans” in the case of HP). In reality, Apple is ahead of all of these companies in eliminating toxic chemicals from its products."

On recycling, Jobs noted that it recycled 13 million pounds of e-waste in 2006, or 9.5 percent of all products Apple sold in the last seven years. By 2008, that percentage will be 20 percent.

Under the Prius moment: "A note of comparison — the latest figures from HP and Dell are each around 10% per year, and neither company has yet disclosed plans to grow this percentage in the future. By 2010, Apple may be recycling significantly more than either Dell or HP as a percentage of past sales weight."

We applaud Apple's environmental effort. But one question remains: Is this blog post meant to outline Apple's green strategy or bash rivals over the head? 

Topics: Hewlett-Packard, Apple, Dell, IT Employment

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

84 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Elitism

    Leave it to Mr. Elitist himself to make comments like this. There are people who simply can't afford a flat panel display, but of course Sir Steve has never been interested in those on a limited budget. There are also applications that need the variable resolutions and higher refresh rates offered by CRTs. While I do think that LCDs will eventually replace CRTs, we are not quite there yet. In the meantime, let the flaming begin, since an unworthy such as myself dared to speak poorly of his Worshipfulness.
    itpro_z
    • Re: Elitism

      I think he's just responding to Greenpeace ranking Apple at the very bottom of it's list. He may be a little miffed as would be reasonable when you're incorrectly accused of something.
      Paco20
      • He should lash out at Green Peace then!

        Attacking HP, Gateway and Dell because he is mad at Green Peace is hardly something to brag about.
        ShadeTree
        • Key word: Lash

          I don't think he was "lashing" out or disparaging those companies so to speak, but just comparing them to Apple. If he had had hard feelings against all of those companies I really don't believe he'd have given credit to Dell for the bench marking standard. Comparing your companies record to another companies record is comparison unless the tone or language suggests disparagement, and in this case, I've read S. Jobs entire letter twice and it doesn't
          Paco20
          • Evidently you are in the minority.

            Read the title of the article. Enough said?
            ShadeTree
          • Nope

            ZDnet has a long history of being Anti-apple so just about anything about Apple is going to be spun in a negative fashion by ZDnet. Now, followed by some posters that have a deep seated hatred of Apple. All of you together is no more proof than one of you.
            Previously Dell, HP and others were used as a yardstick by which to measure how green Apple is. Jobs wrote his reply and compared Apple to the other companies since Apple was previously lambasted as not being as green as them.
            If Steve had written this letter and not compared Apple to the other companies then some readers would've come away with the thought that "Apple still isn't doing as much as HP or Dell" based upon the previous information comparing them to Apple. So it was appropriate of Jobs to compare Apple to the other companies, it was not his intent, nor his implication to slam the other companies.
            Paco20
          • ZDNet Anti-Apple?

            I don't think so. It's just that Appleheads use the Bush Administration's technique of assuming their faith is uncriticizable. Any company makes mistakes, including Apple. ZDNet points them out. In the case of other companies, they are considered fair criticism, but the Appleheads call it "anti-Apple." The real ah-ha here is that you have to be pro-something in order to label what someone else says as anti-something. In other words, loss of perspective breeds... loss of perspective.
            enovikoff
          • typical

            Please spare me the bully is picking on me BS. It is absolutely hilarious to see the
            same types of articles from the same articles from the usual hacks & the expected
            responses from the children. Grow up. All I read was a comparison of what one
            company was doing as opposed to another. Quick call me a name!!!
            HEEEEEEEELARIOUS!
            SquishyParts
    • Hmmm,

      I'm sure that if you (or others who care about such things) really gave
      a crap about how "green" the products you use, you would research
      such things before buying a CRT based monitor, computer case,
      mother board, or other products. Having completed said research,
      you would by the "greenest" product you could buy that suits your
      needs.

      Personaly, I couldn't care less and use the product that best suits my
      needs. If it happens to be "greener" than others, hey that's great.

      If you hadn't noticed, Apple has been taking hits in the news lately for
      not being "green" enough.

      Turns out, the media was wrong once again and guilty of just running
      with the story and not checking facts. No big surprise there.
      middle of nowhere
    • LCD are cheap

      You can buy a 17" LCD for 120 bucks. Thats almost the exact price as a siilar sized CRT. Cost is no longer a reason to not get an LCD.
      Stuka
      • For some LCD displays suck

        If yo use your computer in a R&D environment like I do where you aren't sitting directly in front of the monitor to do your work then and LCD screen is probably a good choice. But if like me you need to be able to view what is on the monitor from an angle LCD screens suck. I also know some graphic arts people that think they're horrible because they distort colors worse than a cheap CRT. For probably 80 to 90% of the people out there LCD screens are probably great but for some of us the hardware has a long ways to go before it is usable.
        Unc Al
        • Definitely don't forget graphic design.

          Most LCD monitors use 6-bit rather than 8-bit panels, which means a color depth of 262,000 colors - this is pitiful for graphic design work.

          Even 8-bit panels that yield a 24-bit color depth lack subtle detail that CRTs DO allow.

          Not to mention, LCD technology makes having true-black (or close enough to true-black) impossible.

          These are why many graphic designers still use CRTs. They are still cheap and effective. Most LCDs aren't; and even the high end ones, while very good, still aren't perfect.

          Also, Dell uses the same flat panel screen as Apple does for its monitors. ;) (Only a handful of (or in the case of 22" screens, ONE) companies makes the actual technology; everyone else puts their own branded case around it and sells it as their own...)

          LCD can be used by graphic artists, but care must be taken into finding something decent, and even then there are still sacrifices one has to endure.
          HypnoToad72
          • High end graphics CRTs no longer available

            The 4 biggies were Sony, NEC, Apple, and Lacie. All have dropped their high end (usually about $1500) large CRTs. Viewsonic still has its G series which are okay but not in the league of the above.

            As long as you runh your calibrator on the CRT, set your profile, and run the auto recalibration on occasion, LCDs are fine and will produce true color as long as the monitor is a good one. LCDs don't need recalibration as often as CRTs.

            Your assertion about "true black" (actually referred to as "rich black" in graphics) is wrong. Printing presses also don't always achieve "true black" from the K swatch. That's why rich black is used.
            j.m.galvin
        • Right

          And for those cases a CRT should be used. But also in those cases, cost is a non-issue. Go buy a nice CRT for doing graphics or the like (although LCD's are getting better all the time, and glossy screen ones have very good contrast/black level). But for the above posted argument of cost, that is no longer an issue.
          Stuka
        • Then you are using low quality

          LCD's. The newer models have just that feature. Sure you pay a bit more, but if you are working for a company then what's the problem? ]:)
          Linux User 147560
      • LCDs are getting cheaper...

        but most companies like Dell will still show a price diferential. For most of us a $50 price difference would not be important in our choice, but there are those for whom $50 could be a deal breaker. As others have also stated, there are still a few advantages for CRTs. As for myself, I have a 19" Samsung LCD that is great. I just don't like people like Jobs passing judgement on us based on our product choices.
        itpro_z
      • LCDs cheap?

        The last I checked on pricewatch, the cheapest 17" LCD was $124.90 including shipping. The cheapest 17" CRT was $86.00 including shipping. Both are open-box, but well ...
        APhatak
    • get help

      You can buy a CRT from anyone you wish...why does Apple have to make one for
      you? In fact I hear that peoples republic of CRTs is having a sale. Where do these
      people come from?
      SquishyParts
    • Wow. Just... wow. Steve Jobs is so cool.

      And people wonder why my fellow *nixers compare going from Windows to Mac to migrating from a pre-war Germany to a pre-war USSR. The very companies he maligns currently have a higher recycle percentage than his, and they move more units, so whatever percentage they do, they still recycle more material. So he can hop on his Segway, prank-call a Starbucks, and continue to provide an inferior return on investment to his customers while claiming others' work as his own. I think I finally understand why the rest of the *nixers hate Mac snobs so much. If Steven the Terrible is their god, what does that say about his sheeple?
      MageOfChaos
    • Take a chill pill

      CRT's are dead. Visit your local Best Buy or CompUSA and count the number of
      CRT's that you find; you must also consider that laptops are becoming the
      computer of choice and that all use LCD's. LCD's have already replaced CRT's.

      Why the antagonism against Mr. Jobs? Apple computers are priced no higher than
      others on a feature-for-feature basis. I have used computers for 25 years, and
      have experience with almost every OS. I recently returned to Apple to SAVE money.
      Their support is superb--one phone number for software or hardware problems. I
      enjoy a cost savings of countless hours spent keeing my XP machine up-to-date
      with virus definitions, spyware junk, and those never-ending MS updates. I do not
      buy Apple because of Mr. Jobs, although I do believe his NeXT program brought
      incredible technology to Apple. I buy Apple because I enjoy computing, not fixing
      software problems. Even if it were to cost me a supposed "premium" is worth it. It
      is wrong to say that Mr. Jobs is not interested in those on a limited budget. What
      is the Mac Mini and the MacBook?
      calvinsman-one@...