Milton and Ed Post


Apple is the largest technology company on the planet with over $140 billion in cash and products sold across the globe.  Within the last two months, it has been the topic of major news events, such as the alleged price fixation of its e-books and its legal avoidance of billions of dollars in taxes.  Friedman and Freeman have very different opinions on the morality of Apple in doing these actions along with to who the company is responsible.

Milton Friedman would argue that Apple is doing its capitalistic duty, and thus its moral duty, in creating the most value possible for shareholders by legally avoiding taxes through subsidiary companies in Ireland.  He would argue that if Apple had not done this, it would essentially be taxing itself (even though the government would be taxing them) and spending shareholder money in a way that would help the government, and, very arguably, the citizens under it.  Friedman would say that this is socialistic and immoral because it is not their money to waste.

Edward Freeman, on the other hand, would believe that Apple has not considered its stakeholders and has separated its business policy from its ethical policy, which, in his opinion, is immoral.  The alleged fixation of e-book prices does not consider the stakeholders—the consumers of the products.  Freeman would believe that Apple drove up the prices solely to earn more profit and create greater returns for shareholders.  Apple did not consider the individual, as Freeman would believe, or see itself as a means to a stakeholder end.  Nor did it follow the Principle of Emergent Competition, but instead tried to “get the other guy” by attempting to take market share from Amazon.com.

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