In Search of the iPod

To me, the most interesting thing about this effort to figure out who makes the iPod (via Brad DeLong) is less its conclusions -- the biggest share of the revenue, $80, goes to Apple for designing and conceiving of the thing, while "Chinese workers contribute only about 1 percent of the value of the iPod" -- than for how difficult the task is.

Greg Linden, Kenneth L. Kraemer and Jason Dedrick all from UC Irvine and doing research supported by the Sloan Foundation (full disclosure: my uncle is taking over in January) looked into where the $299 retail 30 gig iPod Video comes from and ended up with $110 dollars in "unaccounted-for parts and labor costs" which is a pretty huge proportion of the total. To make a long story short, then, nobody really knows where it came from and its extremely difficult to figure it out.

Photo by Flickr user Kelly Chan used under a Creative Commons license