Monday, September 10, 2007

A Petition To Apple

I address this post to Mr. Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, in response to the decision to refund $100 to the iPhone early adopters after their outcry against the $200 price drop.

Mr. Jobs,

Your decision to placate your irate customers is appalling in the very least. As you know, your company after 10 weeks dropped the price of the $599 iPhone by $200. But then you had an outcry from iPhone users, and are now offering them a $100 rebate. Before we get to that horrendous, detrimental decision, lets ask what reason did you give for this drop now? So that you can "go for it" for the holiday season. I would agree that this was the right move to make at the right time. Almost everyone who is crazy enough to pay $599 for a phone, even an iPhone, has already bought it. If they didn't buy it when they first came out they're not going to buy it, and would be stupid to do so. You're paying to be cool, and that has already worn off. iPhone, big deal, I've already seen people with it. You are right to go after the holiday season sales, and indeed anymore sales at all.

Personally, here's what I think you should have done. You had a bunch of people who would paid whatever price for an iPhone the first day it came out. So you should have released the iPhone at $599 like you did. You have a 14 day return policy. On the 15th day you should have lowered the price. Then you would see a sustained, organic growth in sales, instead of a drop off. But its too late for that.

You said in your Open Letter to iPhone customers that "being in technology for 30+ years [you] can attest to the fact that the technology road is bumpy. There is always change and improvement, and there is always someone who bought a product before a particular cutoff date and misses the new price or the new operating system or the new whatever. This is life in the technology lane. If you always wait for the next price cut or to buy the new improved model, you'll never buy any technology product because there is always something better and less expensive on the horizon." These were well said words with which I whole-heartily agree.

Early adopters of technology always pay a premium for the next latest thing. And that premium comes with the aura of cool, of being hip, of looking impressive. And that early technology is usually a work in progress. I thank early adopters for paving the way to the cheaper, improved products. On their backs we drove on the information superhighway. if it was not for early adopters, we'd have no new technology.

But it is ludicrous to think that one can be an early adopter of technology and receive its benefits, and then get back what you paid when the price drops later on. They know what they were paying $599 for the iPhone when they bought it. As you said, it is always a gamble when buying technology on when the price will come down or an improved version come out. You said so yourself, and yet you went back on your word. I must say as an engineer this ominous decision creates a dangerous precedent that threatens the future of innovation in America. This could raise the expectation that other technology businesses also refund their early adopter customers whenever they drop their prices. New products will never be introduced if they can't initially pay for themselves, which can't happen when they cost the same as they do after they've been out for months. Our economy will become stagnant and we will decline into the stone age, all because of your $100 bride to placate the mob of your angry customers.

I thought Apple had some of the most loyal customers in the world. It would have seemed they would go to the end of the world for Apple, or at least wait in line for hours for a new product. But your customers seem to doubt the "perfect timing" of your price drop. They seem to doubt your ingenuity and keen market sense that has gotten the great company of Apple where it is today, or rather a week ago. Why do they not trust you? If only they were loyal enough to own stock, then they wouldn't make you, Apple, shoot yourself in the foot, but would gladly have paid even more for the iPhone. Perhaps each iPhone should have come with Apple stock.

I ask you if you can put a price on being cool? Clearly you did, $200, the cost of being among the first to own an iPhone and have people gawk at you. That established, I did not, although tempted, buy an iPhone despite the allure of coolness because of the steep $599, I am only a poor college student after all. But that was when I thought it would cost $599, which happens to be the price, and not knowing there would be a $100 rebate. If I had known that it would only cost me $499,, I would have bought an iPhone so that I can be cool. So all I ask, and I believe it very reasonable, that you give me a rebate of $200, the value of cool that I lost out on, and I will use that to help buy an iPhone at the new price of $399. (costing me only $199 or my own money) And while I'm at it, I got a 30-gig video iPod a while ago. Of course the price has dropped and there is also an 80-gig, and now 160-gig iPod. So, I should get the latest iPod and a partial refund.

That is all I have to say you, Mr. Steve Jobs. I hope you can sleep peacefully at night knowing that you are destroying innovation in America. I will await the announcement of a $200 refund to all potential iPhone buyers, and my new 160-gig video iPod. (or I'll settle for the new iPod Touch.)


Greg P.
Concerned Citizen & Concerned Engineer


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