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US federal government mulls dropping Apple computers

updated 03:04 pm EDT, Thu July 12, 2012

Effects of EPEAT withdrawal begin to ripple

The federal government has joined the list of US political bodies reconsidering Macs in the wake of Apple withdrawing products from EPEAT certification, according to a government source reached by Politico. A product's EPEAT rating is considered by many organizations looking to buy computers in bulk. The source notes that the federal government is currently in the process of making procurement decisions for fiscal 2013; officials are reportedly worried that with Apple backing out, other companies may follow suit, wrecking government attempts to buy environmentally friendly hardware.

The city of San Francisco was the first American political entity to back away from Apple. San Francisco CIO John Walton explains, however, that some Apple purchases are still in the pipeline, and it's undecided what will be done with those; a meeting with other municipal CIOs is expected on Thursday. The iPad has never been classified under EPEAT, which should leave it as an option.

Besides government agencies, universities and corporations rely on EPEAT as well. Lyle Nevels, the CIO for the University of California at Berkeley, says his school is still undecided. "We are concerned about environmental protection and sustainability, and that's why we want to understand Apple's decision to go in another direction," he comments. "Despite the popularity of Apple's iPad tablet computer, in university settings, laptops and desktop machines are still kings."

Apple has tried to defend its position by pointing to other ways in which its products meet environmental demands. EPEAT, though, is particularly concerned with easy recycling, and the new Retina MacBook Pro is believed to violate standards since the battery is glued to the case.

by MacNN Staff



  1. TomSawyer

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 01-04-08

    Just because a company doesn't PAY another company to SAY that their products are eco-friendly does it make the devices any less green? I'd say dropping certification makes the equipment inherently more green since the manufacturer is not wasting all the ink and energy to put the watchdogs logo on their product and packaging.

  1. exca1ibur

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 10-06-00

    Yeah, this makes no sense to me, not to mention the eco stuff is on the page for them to get information if they have concerns still.

  1. Athens

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 01-15-03

    Apple should just not use glue for the battery, problem solved.

  1. Inkling

    Senior User

    Joined: 07-25-06

    Where this'll hurt Apple most isn't among the politically correct (San Fran & the feds). There, Apple's arguments about it handling 100% of the recycling issues will carry some weight.

    No, Apple will lose sales in another area--institutions such as high schools and colleges that keep their computer budget under control by doing repairs in-house. They're not going to carry about whether Apple recycles or not. They're going to look elsewhere because they can't fix what breaks, replace glued in batteries, or upgrade older devices. Apple is already a bit pricey for them. This policy is likely to make it too pricey over the lifetime of the product.

  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 03-24-09

    Apple is tired of the snail's pace with which the US government moves. That's why they removed their hardware from EPEAT, refuse to get FIPS certification for every operating system/encryption module, and don't bend over to threats from non-Mac users like the City of San Francisco and almost all federal agencies. If a federal agency or other corporate/educational user wants a Mac, there will always be ways to get one. Apple will continue to sell a lot of products to regular people, including people who have to put up with the antiquated policies of the US government (like me). As far as gluing certain components, every other manufacturer does this at some point in the construction of their products. As far as I'm concerned, too much effort is being placed on "easy" repairability instead of making a product that doesn't break. I'd much rather have a glued together MacBook Pro than piece of garbage anything from Dell, which was caught for making defective computers that fell apart as soon as you touched them. I'm all for a real green environment, not a fake green environment made up of companies that buy their way into certifications.

  1. sailin74

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-14-02

    Here's an idea. If the Federal government wants to know how recyclable a product is, perhaps the EPA could start rating them. Relying on a company that is paid to say things are recyclable is kinda dumb.

  1. P


    Joined: 04-07-00

    Originally Posted by AthensView Post

    Apple should just not use glue for the battery, problem solved.

    I'm curious as to why they glued the batteries in in the first place. They had to know that they would have issues with things like this - not to mention that it would make their own repairs harder. There must be some benefit to doing so that we're not seeing.

  1. Waragainstsleep

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 03-20-04

    It means they get to do more of the repairs in house. Remember that batteries are not covered by Applecare, more battery replacements means more money, especially as it will help to cut out the 3rd party knock off or higher rated batteries too.

  1. P


    Joined: 04-07-00

    Apple's business is not selling repairs, or replacement batteries - and anyway, if there is a trick to removing them, the repair shops will learn soon enough.

  1. gooser

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: 06-23-06

    it will be interesting to see if the next generation of retina's have glued in batteries. we haven't heard the last of this.

  1. chabig

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 06-16-99

    Originally Posted by WaragainstsleepView Post

    ...more battery replacements means more money

    I really doubt this. Apple, I think, would prefer not to be a service business. It's low margin.

  1. And.reg

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 02-22-04

    Greetings. I am unable to delete my posts, and apparently you moderators are on some kind of a strike.

    Therefore, I have removed the content of the original post by hand.

    I am asking for this post to be deleted, since I don't seem to have the option to do that myself.

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