Apple laptops

On July 10, The Wall Street Journal broke the news that Apple (AAPL) would delist all 39 of its desktops, laptops, and monitors from a voluntary, green-electronics registry called EPEAT. Just seven days later, The Journal reported that Apple will relist the previously deregistered products.

The sudden change of heart likely arose from the storm of controversy that followed the move. Hard-core Apple fans vented their wrath, and the city of San Francisco said it would stop buying Apple products for official use.

What were They Thinking?

When the story broke, Apple was vague on why it was leaving EPEAT. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple told EPEAT it was delisting the products because of "changes to its 'design direction.'"

Ironically, Apple helped found EPEAT. It was a coordinated effort between electronics manufacturers, the government, and eco-activist groups. EPEAT certification is an industry stamp of approval that indicates that electronics are more energy efficient than competing products and are also easier to recycle.

The move to delist and risk angering the eco-friendly powers that be is all the more confounding because Apple recently made a great stride in the area of social responsibility: In February, the company invited the Fair Labor Association to begin inspections of its overseas factories.

Obviously, They Weren't Thinking

Of course, that invitation to the FLA was made only after the consumer-electronics giant had weathered another storm of controversy, this time surrounding working conditions at its factories in China. So maybe that's the answer to this puzzle: Apple will be socially responsible when its back is against the wall.

"We've recently heard from many loyal Apple customers who were disappointed to learn we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system," Apple's senior VP of hardware engineering, Bob Mansfield, said in an open letter on the subject of the relisting, "I recognize this was a mistake."

It was a doozy, the kind of error one of the best-run and most successful commercial enterprises in the world shouldn't be making.

John Grgurich is a regular contributor to The Motley Fool, and owns no shares in Apple. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of and creating a bull call spread position on Apple.

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Baba Looey

Yeah they show up at all the Apple events. They dress impeccably in the latest outfits, they follow all the cool trends. They are social liberals but fiscal conservatives. They love Obama and all things homosexual. They feel bad for the Palestinians but they understand that Israel is doing what it has to do. They don't care about money but they have a lot of it. Of course they are all young, skinny and good looking. And they all love toi defend the environment and believe firmly in the cause of animal rights.

I'm glad I chose PCs over this company's trendy garbage back in the day. Now I wish the terrorists would wipe Apple off the face of the earth. It would make up for 9/11!

July 19 2012 at 1:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Quite simply..WHO one of any importance.

July 18 2012 at 5:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Never much of a fan of Steve Jobs, but this is proof without his guidance Apple with stray from what has made them the biggest tech company on the planet. Jobs angered the fanboys from time to time, but he had a way of telling them what was best for them, and having them fall in line. And prior to his death, he stated he had Apple's product line and overall course planned for the next 3 or so years. There's strong evidence they're already straying from his vision, perhaps not with the product line itself, but just the overall direction. First it was giving shareholders money back. Jobs never would've done that. He would've added any surplus to the warchest. And I seriously doubt Jobs would've approved this move to step away from being eco-friendly. It's only a matter of time before Apple becomes it's own worst enemy, and no Jobs to bail them out this time.

July 18 2012 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply