There are few true visionaries left in tech. Steve Jobs is dead, Bill Gates has stepped away from Microsoft and Mark Zuckerberg is too young and too contentious to join the pantheon just yet. Of the figures with name recognition beyond hardcore geeks, two figures are notable in their boldness – Sergey Brin at Google and Jeff Bezos at Amazon.
Brin, seemingly happy to allow fellow founder Larry Page to steer Google’s business interests, busies himself with future-gazing projects. It is his vision powering the development of self-driving cars, Google Glass augmented reality goggles and a neural network designed to make sense of the web.
Where the Google co-founder’s focus is on the far future, Bezos has been disrupting established industries since 1997, when he promised shareholders: “We will make bold rather than timid investment decisions where we see a sufficient probability of gaining market leadership advantages.”
The technology giant, which has faced criticism over working conditions at some of its suppliers’ plants in China, said today that it had asked the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to conduct “special voluntary audits” of several facilities, including factories owned by Foxconn, the world’s largest electronics manufacturer, in Shenzen and Chengdu.
A team of inspectors from the not-for-profit organisation, which is headquartered in Washington DC, started inspections this morning at the Foxconn City plant in Shenzen.
Apple’s problems with Taiwanese company Foxconn, which manufactures almost all of its devices, date back as far as 2010 when a string of workers committed suicide at a plant in Longhua, which employed between 300,000 and 400,000 workers.
However the troubles have continued and last month 150 Foxconn employees threatened to leap from the top of a three-floor plant in Wuhan amid allegations they were paid piecemeal and were expected to work in a pressured environment without any training.