Not judging by the reaction to the latest ruminations from Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive, whose latest bit of blogging, entitled "A Greener Apple" about the company's past and future environmental objectives - has drawn noticeably less interest than his previous one, in which he discussed whether online music should be sold with or without digital rights management software.
Compare the number of links to the latter with those to the former and it's clear that at least in the blogosphere - which for these purposes is probably a sufficiently good proxy for the wider computer-buying public - people get a lot more het up about whether they can play music bought online on their iPod than on what environmental impact that same iPod might have when it's ditched for something newer.
The blog indexer Technorati reckons there are 6,200-odd blogs writing about Jobs's take on DRM, compared to 860 or so about greening Apple; Google's Blogsearch puts the numbers at 3,300 and 450 respectively.
Could it be that people simply don't care about their old computers, mobile phones and digital music players, and whether they're recycled into chain mail suits for seal pups, or instead will pollute vast swathes of China that perhaps made them in the first place?
Greenpeace applauded "the enthusiasm with which Apple fans have greeted this campaign" - which it has been waging against since last August. Then, it published its "Guide to Greener Electronics", updated in December and again last month. By those rankings, Apple had slid from being fourth from last to last, ranking about 2 out of 10 on a "green scale".
But Adam Engst of Tidbits (tidbits.com) says that "my impression from talking with Mac users is that Greenpeace's tactics have generally worked more to polarise than to persuade, with diehard environmental activists becoming all the more vocal about Apple's ills and longtime Mac users rising to defend the company".
Certainly there's still little indication that people choose between computers or mobile phones or music players based on how they'll dispose of them. The European WEEE Directive, which comes into force in July (What is the WEEE Directive and do I need to care?, December 14 2006) will anyway oblige electronics manufacturers to take back and recycle their equipment from consumers - who currently dump 2m tonnes of electrical rubbish annually. So it looks like "greenness" will remain someone else's problem, whether or not Jobs or Greenpeace like it.
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