Apple Destroys its PR Image over $3/month

  • Comments: 5
  • Written on: October 1st, 2007

For those of you who have not been following the Apple iPhone phenomenon a storm is brewing that may give Apple the biggest black eye it has ever had.

A couple months ago Apple launched the iPhone, a phone that was supposed to be 5 years ahead of its time. The phone has a ton of great features, but was restricted to the AT&T cellular network and Apple gets a monthly cut of AT&T’s plan billings.

People wanted to use the iPhone on their own cellular network because they were bound by contracts or because they simply didn’t want to use AT&T. Soon an underground movement to unlock the iPhone’s proprietary AT&T network surfaced and people were cheating Apple out of what the company thinks is its $3/month due.

Apple responded last week by sending out an update for their phones that would “brick” (render useless) any iPhone that was “unlocked” to work on another cellular network. The aftermath that followed blows anything Microsoft has ever done clean out of the water.

First, AT&T will gladly unlock any phone it offers after 90 days – except the iPhone. AT&T claims they are prohibited from doing so by Apple, who never disclosed the unlock prohibition to its customers at the time of purchase.

Second, Apple’s update has unintentionally bricked some iPhones that were not unlocked, resulting is a surge of customers requesting warranty support for their wrongly bricked iPhones. Without local service centers, Apple is making these customers send in their iPhones for repair.

According to the Apple iPhone warranty, unlocking the iPhone voids your Apple warranty. This means that if you send in an unlocked iPhone, Apple won’t fix it. In fact, an Apple spokeswoman said the only thing a customer could do to get an unlocked iPhone repaired was buy a new one.

First, never mind the fact that people paid upwards of $500 (after rebate) to get their iPhones. Think what would have happened if Microsoft had done this. Microsoft has thousands of illegitimate copies of Windows XP floating around the world, and they didn’t zap them, even though Bill Gates could have pressed teh nuclear update button at any time.

Microsoft understood that the aftermath would represent a PR nuclear winter. Apple missed that point, and now they are paying for it. Protest videos have started to appear on YouTube, as once loyal Apple subjects are beginning to revolt under Apple’s iron fist.

This war is unwindable, as Microsoft has learned over the years. It doesn’t matter what Apple does to make nice at this point, short of restoring every bricked iPhone out there – and that is not going to happen.

Yes, Apple loyalists, for those of you who didn’t know, Apple is a corporation, just like Microsoft. Apple needs to show return on investment, just like Microsoft. Welcome to the next generation of Apple – the iEvil generation.

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