Profit Center: "A profit center is a section of a company treated as a separate business. Thus profits or losses for a profit center are calculated separately"
Cost Center: "In business, a cost center is a division that adds to the cost of an organization, but only indirectly adds to its profit."
So unless you are selling your IT Services, IT is a Cost Center by definition. That doesn't mean IT doesn't add value, or indirectly add to the bottom line. To be a profit center you have to sell services, Then it becomes a sales less costs = profit business.
As you say support staff are important to not only keep things working, and staff productive, but to help keep moral up. The right software and hardware too are critical to the success of a business, but IT is still a Cost Center for the vast majority any way you look at it.
Apple is no different than hundreds, no thousands of companies that do the exact same thing. Ten years ago people were railing about the kids making shoes in Asia. Before that it was garments. You have to understand the COL (Cost of Living) in those parts of the world is not what it is here. Their COL may be $5 a month while where you live it is probably closer to $1,000 a month. This is what happens when you create a "World Economy" A World Economy helps the businesses find cost savings, and it helps raise up the have nots by providing jobs (even if it is for .50/Hr).
For the 1st world economies, you get what you see now in the US and Europe. Higher unemployment, lower wages... Why, because now the workers in a country where the COL is $1,000/Month have to compete with countries where the COL is $5/Month. Some will tell you that is not a problem, and for years the US has been moving away from manufacturing and moving to the info economy. The problem is it is all fluff. In the end everyone needs real products, food, clothing, etc.
In the end, for the first world countries (and thus for the world) it will all come crashing down. We are seeing the rumblings of that now. As bankers and other business with no REAL products take more and more they create a two class society. Those with money and those without. Again, just look at Europe and even the US. We have moved beyond being the Industrialized Nation and now we have less REAL products to offer. Sure companies love to know all the little tidbits about everyone, what web pages you look at, what your internet searches are... But if we can't sell it overseas it doesn't matter. You need to look no further than the trade deficit We import FAR more than we export. This means OUR money is going overseas and it is not supporting Americans. We wonder why unemployment is high, we wonder why wages are low. The answer has been there for years, we don't make much of value anymore. It is all made overseas and we just buy it up.
It is not enough to buy items "Made in America". Items must be "Made in America", with materials from America, Assembled in America, and by an American Company. If we can not turn the trade deficit around we are doomed.
For how long can you spend more than you make? (Ask anyone who has declared bankruptcy for the answer)
For how long can a government spend more than it makes? (See Greece for the answer)
These really aren't hard concepts to grasp. Just strip away all the fancy accounting and keep a simple ledger. It always shows the bottom line. It may not be pretty to look at and you may not like what you see, but it is where you are.
If you make $250,000/Yr and you spend $400,000/Yr. Or if you make $12,000/Yr and spend $15,000/Yr the answer ends up the same your broke.
America has been printing money for four years now. Sooner or later the inflation will kick in and it will make 2008 seem like a walk in the park. Think of America printing money like you using your Credit Card. Sooner or later you need to pay the bill, or go bankrupt. Greece Anyone?
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