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Outraged authors accuse Apple of destroying Japan’s tech industry

Wall Street loves to speculate on whether Apple Inc.’s latest gadget is a winner or a dud.

But here in Japan, the tech giant has another constituency desperate to see iPhones disappearing from store shelves: The nation’s once-proud electronics producers.

Executives and employees of companies like Sony, Panasonic, Toshiba and Sharp watch Apple with trepidation — not because it is a competitor, but because their livelihoods and the performance of their companies depend on it.

And that’s not necessarily a good thing, according to Japanese authors Naoyoshi Goto and Jun Morikawa, who co-wrote the critically acclaimed book Appuru Teikoku no Seitai (The Real Apple Empire).

"Apple is very popular in Japan and it has a great image. But there is a hidden side for contracted firms and workers," Naoyoshi Goto told GlobalPost.

The book’s argument: Apple's triumph is partly due to the technology of its component suppliers, who reap big rewards, but face big risks. Low margins on each component sold to Apple are counterbalanced by the sheer volume ordered. Because Apple generates a significant portion of their revenues, the companies find themselves dangerously dependent on its success.

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