Apple is removing 39 of its products from a government-issued list of environmentally friendly tech products, a move that has prompted the City of San Francisco to axe all spending on Apple desktop and notebook PCs.
Apple has requested that the Electronic Product Environment Assessment Tool, an organisation backed by the federal government that sets standards for environmentally safe electronics, remove 39 of its products from its list of approved devices, reports CIO Journal.
The products being pulled range from monitors to Mac desktops to the MacBook Pro and Air notebook lines.
Robert Frisbee, CEO of EPEAT, said the organisation was disappointed by Apple’s decision to remove its products from the registry.
"They said their design direction was no longer consistent with the EPEAT requirements," Frisbee said in the report. "They were important supporters and we are disappointed that they don’t want their products measured by this standard anymore."
The City of San Francisco expressed its own disappointment with Apple’s decision by making a move to prohibit all Mac purchases within municipal agencies.
San Francisco city officials are issuing letters to all 50 agencies over the next few weeks, asking them to refrain from using city funds to purchase Apple notebooks and desktops.
The letter being sent will reference a 2007 policy that requires city funds be used only to buy desktops, notebooks and monitors that have been certified by EPEAT.
The City of San Francisco may not be the only place where Mac purchases come to a halt because they lack EPEAT’s certification.
Sarah O’Brien, director of outreach for EPEAT, said many major corporations, including Ford and HSBS, restrict CIOs from purchasing any PCs that have not been EPEAT-certified.
What’s more, the US government requires 95 percent of all its tech purchases to be on EPEAT’s list.
EPEAT’s Frisbee said that Apple’s new MacBook Pro with retina display was never submitted to EPEAT for certification, but doubted it would meet the required standards anyway. Its ultra-thin design, in which the notebook’s battery is glued to its case, makes it non-recyclable.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
John Convery, executive vice president of vendor relations at Denali Advanced Integration, an Apple partner and solution provider, anticipates Apple’s withdrawal from EPEAT will potentially hurt its sales in the public sector which, in turn, could deal a blow to its channel partners.
"When 95-plus percent of all products purchased by federal agencies have to be EPEAT certified, it’s a big deal," Convery said. "Certainly this move from Apple will affect government sales and impact all the public sector solution providers who sell Apple into this market."
Selling into the public sector in today’s economy is challenging enough as it is, Convery continued, and Apple’s decision to drop its EPEAT label will only make it more difficult.
Chris Knight, practice director of unified communications and mobility at Technology Integration Group, solution provider and Apple partner, said Apple’s decision to back out of EPEAT is simply a result of its products becoming thinner and more compact.
As the industry continues to gravitate toward ultra-portable devices, other PC makers may soon have to follow Apple’s lead.
"I believe the reason this has happened and will also happen with other manufactures is simply due to the compact nature of the products. For example, the new MacBook Pro [with] retina display has the screen glued to an actual metal lid, which it makes very hard to remove and then deemed not recyclable," Knight told CRN.
"It is very clear all manufactures are trying to slim down, lighten and integrate more into the products, often leading them to glue/mold them into a single piece."
Knight, who works both within the government and enterprise space, said he doesn’t think the decision will have too significant an impact on his business, as many clients tend to purchase and bring their own devices -- many of which are Macs -- rather than be assigned a device by their CIO.
Jeffery Lauria, director of technology at iCorps, Apple partner and solution provider, also anticipates Apple’s decision to have minimal impact on either his business or Apple’s.
"Apple dropping green support will have little to no impact on their business. The fact is, most consumers are not focused on being green, and frankly, I expect most people have no idea what EPEAT is," Lauria said.
With the exception of the federal government, the majority of Apple consumer and enterprise customers will continue to buy its products regardless of EPEAT certification, Lauria continued.
"At the end of the day, with little to no impact on the consumer market as well as the business market, I don’t see this as an impacting event," he said.