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Tuesday March 15, 2011 1:24 pm

Kevin Rose applauds Apple’s Japan response


Posted by Andru Edwards - Categories: Apple, Corporate News


Hours after a massive earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter scale struck Japan, an Apple store in Tokyo kept its doors open to hundreds of nearby victims, and instructed stranded employees and their families to stay overnight at the five-story flagship store.

A moved Kevin Rose, founder of Digg, posted two anonymous letters from "an admitted [Apple] fanboy" and Apple store employee in Japan, who wrote at length about Apple's calm, humanitarian response to the quake.

"[With] the phone and train lines down, taxis stopped, and millions of people stuck in the Tokyo shopping district scared, with no access to television, hundreds of people were swarming into Apple stores to watch the news on USTREAM and contact their families via Twitter, Facebook, and email," the letter read. "The young did it on their mobile devices, while the old clustered around the Macs. There were even some Android users there. (There are almost no free wifi spots in Japan besides Apple stores, so even Android users often come to the stores.)"

"Staff brought out surge protectors and extension cords with 10s of iOS device adapters so people could charge their phones & pads and contact their loved ones. Even after we finally had to close 10pm, crowds of people huddled in front of our stores to use the wifi into the night, as it was still the only way to get access to the outside world."


The letter sender, calling himself "Great Tohoku Earthquake Survivor 2011" updated Rose with another letter explaining how Apple took care of its own employees.

"Because the trains and phones were down, almost everyone who worked in Tokyo was stranded deep in the city," he wrote. "All the hotels were booked, the roads were jammed, so hundreds of people were instantly homeless. Apple told all of their staff - Retail AND Corporate - that they could go sleep at the Apple stores. The Senior managers at the stores had been notified earlier and unbeknownst to us, had gone out to stock up on food and drinks after the very first quake hit."

"The head of Apple International HR and of Japan Retail happened to be in Japan that week. Both came and spent the night with us in the stores and told everyone that if anyone wanted to try their luck getting home on their own, Apple would pay for any food, drink, or transportation fees that that person incurred on the way," he added.

In the wake of the earthquake, tech companies have rallied to provide relief for the victims. Google set up Person Finder and Crisis Response pages and donated $250,000, Twitter posted instructions on using hashtags to learn about the earthquake, Microsoft donated $100,000, and Apple took Red Cross relief donations through iTunes. Local chip manufacturers have also been "severely" affected analysts claim.

This article, written by Sara Yin, originally appeared on PCMag.com and is republished on Gear Live with the permission of Ziff Davis, Inc.

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