Hal Varian in the NYT:
Who makes the Apple iPod? Here’s a hint: It is not Apple. The company outsources the entire manufacture of the device to a number of Asian enterprises, among them Asustek, Inventec Appliances and Foxconn.
But this list of companies isn’t a satisfactory answer either: They only do final assembly. What about the 451 parts that go into the iPod? Where are they made and by whom?
Varian summarizes research (pdf) that traces the production of an iPod across the globe:
Ultimately, there is no simple answer to who makes the iPod or where it is made. The iPod, like many other products, is made in several countries by dozens of companies, with each stage of production contributing a different amount to the final value.
The researchers – Greg Linden, Kenneth L. Kraemer and Jason Dedrick – calculate value-added for each step of the production process. Read the full column.
[HT: Arnold Kling]