By now most have heard about Tim Cook's problems with the new bill passed in Indiana:
There’s something very dangerous happening in states across the country.
A wave of legislation, introduced in more than two dozen states, would allow people to discriminate against their neighbors. Some, such as the bill enacted in Indiana last week that drew a national outcry and one passed in Arkansas, say individuals can cite their personal religious beliefs to refuse service to a customer or resist a state nondiscrimination law.
Others are more transparent in their effort to discriminate. Legislation being considered in Texas would strip the salaries and pensions of clerks who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples — even if the Supreme Court strikes down Texas’ marriage ban later this year. In total, there are nearly 100 bills designed to enshrine discrimination in state law.
These bills rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear. They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.America’s business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business. At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers’ lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That’s why, on behalf of Apple, I’m standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges. I’m writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement. From North Carolina to Nevada, these bills under consideration truly will hurt jobs, growth and the economic vibrancy of parts of the country where a 21st-century economy was once welcomed with open arms.
Brandon Vogt does a good job fisking Mr. Cook's Op-Ed and Ross Douthat has some questions for Mr. Cook and other critics of the Indiana law, both excellent reads but I found something that would suggest Mr. Cook is discriminating about his issues with discrimination.
How else to take the fact that Apple seems to have no problems doing business in places like Saudi Arabia, a country not exactly basking in the religious freedom limelight:
Apple has never had an official retail presence of any kind in the Middle East, until now. Thanks to a deal struck with Jarir Bookstore, Apple is directly providing its products in Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Arabian government cleared Apple to operate in the country a couple of months ago. The agreement with Jarir will have Apple working with Saudi Arabia’s largest books and electronics retailer.
Previously, Jarir had to go through third-party vendors to get its hands on Apple products, which took three to six months. Apple will not only be supplying Jarir directly, but also offer technical support for Saudi customers. Jarir will be able to sell Apple hardware at cheaper prices now that it doesn’t have to go through third-party providers.
Apple opened up the iTunes Store in the Middle East in December of 2012. It was reported in 2011 that Apple was opening up its first Middle Eastern retail store in Dubai, but that didn’t pan out.
Tim Cook visited the United Arab Emirates earlier this year to discuss how Apple can develop its relationships with carriers in nearby countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan and Nigeria. “We are all about making great products that people don’t know they need today but when they have them, they can’t live without,” said Cook at the time. “We would like to bring our passion to the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Africa.”
I expect to read soon about how Mr. Cook will be bringing his "passion" against religious based discrimination to the Middle East.