Make no mistake that many corporates are doing the right thing in the aftermath of the 9.0 earthquake (it was upgraded from 8.9) that rocked northern Japan and has inflicted suffers and damages on the survivors. Google has used its expertise in cloud computing and set up a website to help pass information to love ones and victims. But Apple has literally open its doors to the public and provided aid and comfort to its employees.
According to numerous reports, Apple stores is providing charging stations for mobile devices and provided financial aid, such as travel expenses given that the public transportation system is still down, to employees.
And as one of the few locations in Japan that offers free WiFi, it was not unusually to see crowds near the Apple store to use the Internet and get information on love ones and media/government updates.
I truly like that companies like Apple and Google are recognizing that their responsibilities as publicly traded companies go beyond maximizing profit for their shareholders. I am particularly impressed with Google's generosity and its green initiatives. And now, Apple recognizes that its responsibilities to its costumers doesn't end the money they walk out the door with its product.
And these two being Californian companies, I am particularly proud as an American.
As for WiFi, I think there is something we can learn about its role in a disaster. I think mobile WiFi stations for public use during natural or any kind of disasters could go a long way in saving lives and comfort to the population. I know that ATT has mobile cell towers but I think WiFi stations work better since WiFi enabled devices outnumber cell-based devices. Not everyone has an iPhone but a lot of folks have laptops and even WiFi-only iPads. Perhaps, a fleet of WiFi mobile vans would work well.