"Every year we inspect more factories, raising the bar for our partners and going deeper into the supply chain," Cook said in his email to Apple employees. "As we reported earlier this month, we've made a great deal of progress and improved conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers. We know of no one in our industry doing as much as we are, in as many places, touching as many people."
The Times acknowledged those audits in its reporting, but suggested the audits produced little action. "Apple has found violations in hundreds of audits, but fewer than 15 suppliers have been terminated for transgressions since 2007, according to former Apple executives."
The Times series comes in what should otherwise be a good week for Apple. The company on Tuesday reported a profit of $13.06 billion on sales of $46.33 billion for the first fiscal quarter of 2012.
"We are focused on educating workers about their rights, so they are empowered to speak up when they see unsafe conditions or unfair treatment," wrote Cook, who served as Apple's chief operating officer and oversaw its supply chain prior to becoming the company's CEO. "We will continue to dig deeper, and we will undoubtedly find more issues. What we will not do -- and never have done -- is stand still or turn a blind eye to problems in our supply chain."
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