July 11, 2012

San Francisco Dumps Apple, Switching To PCs

Michael Harper for - Your Universe Online

It stings to be disowned on your own turf: Just ask RIM. So, when Apple decided to build their MacBook Pro with Retina Display in a tightly contained shell, they may not have expected their own city to turn their back and block any purchase of their computers.

Earlier this week, it was announced that Apple was seeking to withdraw from the EPEAT program, removing any subsequent certification given to their products. The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) certification program awards gold, silver and bronze ratings to electronics products, depending on their recyclability and overall “green” quality. To earn this certification, an electronics product must be easily disassembled without the use of any toxic chemicals or without the fear of any toxic chemicals being released into the atmosphere. As discovered by the repair people at, the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display cannot be disassembled in this way. The battery, for instance, is glued into the case. Likewise, the high-def Retina screen is built right into the shell.

“They said their design direction was no longer consistent with the EPEAT requirements,” said EPEAT CEO Robert Frisbee. “They were important supporters and we are disappointed that they don´t want their products measured by this standard anymore.”

If this is the way Apple plans to build their laptops going forward, they stand to lose a few government and educational customers as many of these organizations require this EPEAT rating on any computer they purchase. In an example of the cruelty of consequence, San Francisco has told the CIO Journal they will send out letters over the next two weeks to each of the city´s 50 agencies, saying Apple computers will no longer be allowed to be purchased with city money.

“We are disappointed that Apple chose to withdraw from EPEAT,” said Melanie Nutter, the director of San Francisco´s Department of Environment. “We hope that the city saying it will not buy Apple products will make Apple reconsider its participation.”

Yesterday, Apple issued a response to their decision to be withdrawn from EPEAT´s consideration. In a statement given to The Loop, Apple representative Kristin Huguet said, “Apple takes a comprehensive approach to measuring our environmental impact and all of our products meet the strictest energy efficiency standards backed by the US government, Energy Star 5.2.

“We also lead the industry by reporting each product´s greenhouse gas emissions on our website, and Apple products are superior in other important environmental areas not measured by EPEAT, such as removal of toxic materials.”

It´s likely Apple won´t notice too much of a difference in sales if San Francisco and other government organizations start shopping elsewhere for their computing needs.

“Given the relatively small percentage [of organizations] that require 100% EPEAT-compliance, it´s not going to make a whole lot of difference to Apple,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Gartner, according to the CIO Journal.

Additionally, while EPEAT is the certification most often picked by these organizations, it´s not necessarily the best. When CEO Robert Frisbee took the helm in March 2012, part of his new job duties was to update old standards.

““¦they're a little long in the tooth,” said EPEAT board member Christine Ervin.

Despite all the fuss, one Apple blogger, Jim Dalrymple of the Loop Insight, doesn´t get it.

“The hubbub over Apple pulling out of EPEAT is interesting because the products that were listed as gold products by the environmental organization are the same ones Apple is currently selling.”