Two days ago I read a scathing article on one of my favorite companies, Apple, and how they do not at all support charities or nonprofits. The author is Jake Shapiro, the CEO of PRX, the nonprofit that is behind popular radio shows like This American Life. His article arose from another conversation the website was having about the intrusions of “push notifications” on your iPhone when you are not using that application (such as CauseWorld telling you about their new badge).
Shapiro goes into the nuances of the nonprofit sector’s problems with Apple – such as the inability to set up 1-click payments for charities, suggesting to users in an application to donate via a button to a cause, and the 30% cut that Apple takes on all application purchases.
I found that as recently as last March (yes it is a little old in this information age), that Apple was going to cut an application called “A Real Tree”. It was because this application was going to be doing things Apple did not like, such as “claiming to do anything beyond themselves, and that any and all applications related to charity were also no longer permitted”. Apparently the closest you can get to donating in an app is through clicking buttons that have 3rd parties donate unspecified amounts on your behalf (CauseWorld and Touch to Give).
And today the Chronicle of Philanthropy published a piece also asking for why Apple is so anti-charity? As quoted from the same Shapiro article, why is there no “Apple Foundation” or “Apple Grants”? Microsoft has a deeply entrenched giving back program. Google has a whole department dedicated to nonprofits (as covered in a previous post).
I have to admit – this news has dampened my inner Apple fan-boy. As someone who gives back to the community with all his heart, how could a company with such a “anti-establishment” mission, be so pro-profit? Perhaps it is my idealism that has made me naive despite my knowledge of the nature of capitalism.