n the corporate world, high-paid workers advance up the ranks when they receive better job offers from rival companies.
However, for years, many major Silicon Valley technology companies, such as Apple and Intel, agreed not to hire out workers from each other.
This violation of antitrust laws, only recently discovered, restricted the prospects of their employees by artificially keeping their wages low. Yet this gross violation of legal and ethical standards triggered only minor damage to these companies’ prestige. Only public outrage will stop technology companies from taking advantage of their gilded reputations in the future.
This is not the first time a company has had major transgressions go unnoticed. Just a month ago, it was announced that Google will be forced to face a lawsuit for breach of contract and fraud. Meanwhile, Apple, in a leaked internal document, told its support workers to not acknowledge a virus in order to protect their products’ reputation.
Clearly, underhand manipulation of their public image is a pattern for these companies, and it will keep happening as long as companies can get away with it. While they may have been brought to trial in court, they have not been tested in the public eye, where it is equally important that justice be served.
Microsoft illustrates how public opinion forces companies to behave.When Microsoft was battered by antitrust lawsuits over a decade ago, its image tanked, and people began to buy from other companies, such as Apple.
In response, Microsoft had to earn back its reputation. Today, it is one of the few technology companies that donates heavily to charity, a direct result of public outrage. The only way for the perception of these companies and the realities of their situations to align is if people react when they do not measure up.
Andrew Langen is a sophomore majoring in economics and mathematics.