Posted October 12, 2007 10:09 am by with 21 comments

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image If you’re one of the many companies that doesn’t feel it needs to monitor its online reputation–or perhaps feels its brand is bullet-proof–take a look at what has happened to Apple recently.

Up until a few weeks ago, Apple had a rock-solid reputation–one that any company would desperately love to have.

Then, Apple made a few mistakes:

  1. It lowered the price of its new iPhone by $200–leaving more than a million owners feeling a little “annoyed”.
  2. It updated the firmware of the iPhone–leaving many unlocked iPhones as useless bricks.
  3. It wiped out third-party iPhone applications from phones.

In just a few short weeks, the shine has come off of Apple and it’s not just because of the iPhone. BusinessWeek reports that as the company sells more computers, more customers are realizing that Apple’s customer support sucks.

Those new customers, lured by the company’s sterling reputation and marketing power, may feel deceived when they encounter bugs. Catherine Temple, a Boonton (N.J.) homemaker and musician, had heard all sorts of great buzz about Macs. So she drove 10 miles to an Apple store last April and plunked down about $4,000 for an iMac. Three months later, the hard drive failed, sending her back to the store with the PC for a replacement part. Days later, Apple had to fix the logic board and some memory chips. Then it discovered the optical drive wasn’t working right. Besides the legwork, Temple says she waited days for replies to faxes and e-mails and made long calls to the help desk; one of them ate up 90 minutes. Her experience with Apple “left a bad taste in my mouth,” says Temple. “I have no confidence in them.”

I think I’ll include Steve Jobs and Apple in my upcoming book on online reputation management and send him a copy. 😉

  • Ohhh .. a MP book! How did I miss that ?

  • @Owen – I’ve not done a lot of promotion for it, because I’m working hard to get it finished. 😉

  • Was wondering if you’ve ever mentioned it before or whether this was your first “stealth announcement”.

    Looks like it will be available end of Q1 next year. Is that right ?

  • I’ve dropped a few mentions before. Yeah, end of Feb/ early March.

  • By lowering the price, the value of the iPhones has decreased. The more computers sold through Apple manufacturing, the more computer they must support, thus if they don’t hire more reps, customer satisfaction will go down.

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  • And yet their stock keeps rising at a rate faster than Google’s. The price has nearly doubled since the iPhone hit the market.

    Some of the loss in reputation are mistakes on Apple’s part, but some is simply them expanding beyond the die hard fanatics who think Apple can do no wrong.

    Grow more and you’re sure to attract a few people who aren’t thrilled with you.

  • E. Fenili

    “Grow more and you’re sure to attract a few people who aren’t thrilled with you”

    Or you can say that one grows enough for people to finally realize all of your shortcomings.
    Apple has surely become king in portable digital music, and now they have taken a decent step into the cell phone world.

    As far as their computers and their computer services are concerned, IMO they have always be sub-par but simply never saturated the market enough for anyone to take much notice. An Apple runs no better than a PC IMO, and their customer services are FAR worse.

    Apple loves to brag and brag about how much better their computer products are, or at the very least their OS and services since they now essentially use “PC” hardware, even though they still lock you into a system with little ability to upgrade.
    The thing most don’t realize is that Apple is about what 8% of the computer market? Maybe that has gone up a little since the last I checked, but it is a very small portion of the computer world….it just so happens than Apple fanatics happen to leave a Big Footprint.

    I don’t want to cut Apple all the way down, because they do make some decent computer products. Unfortunately I feel they are one of the most over-hyped computer products on the market, and I hope people don’t go out and buy their computers simply because they love the iPod or iPhone, for I feel that is a horrible mistake.

  • Andy, do you have an iPhone? A Mac? I have both, actually several Macs. And I still love both and would never ever never ever go back to a PC or a Treo or any other phone. I love Apple, they make my tech life a million times easier, better, and more enjoyable. This may sour a small percentage of people (namely newly switched to Apple users who like to hack their phones), but I doubt the majority of people even realized there were 3rd party apps you could hack onto your phone. I tried it on my iphone, it was cool, but I can live without, this iPhone is sweeeeeeet.

  • Jordan McCollum

    I clapped for joy to see your book’s already on Amazon, Andy!!

    Double w00t.

  • LOL @ Jordan

  • The lady that had the problem with her iMac needs to realize that like any other computer, it is made by “man” and anything made by “man” will have problems. Tell her to go buy a Dell and see if she has the same problem, I guarantee she does, I fix more Dell computers then Apples. Just my .02.

  • JS

    I agree, Apple has made a lot of mistakes with the iPhone, I hope they do something to bring their reputation back up :/

  • Hi Andy,

    Just thought I’d point out something of interest:
    Sitepoint has a thread on now with people discussing the issue.

  • Regular Mac/Apple users don’t do tweaks of Apple products. Because they are satisfied.

  • Just admit you hate Apple or you just love to lie.
    Lets look at your 3 points

    1. Lowered the iPhone price by $200
    People lined up for days to pay $600 for the iPhone, they accepted that it’s worth the price and later they get $100 back. How many of these people do you think are actually crying and angry?

    2. Updated firmware
    Apple released a new firmware, and warned people people not to update if they have hacked it.
    So Apple did not brick jack, stupid people used hack and went ahead to update. It’s like hacking Photoshop to do other stuffs and then updating it from Adobe, you’ll be stupid not to know that it will probably break your hacks and maybe screw up your Photoshop.

    3. Wiped out 3rd party Apps
    No Apple did not, the fool you updated did.

    Most of the people buying iPods, iPhones and Macs never get to read news like this. So as long as about has the most beautiful products out there, with easy names to remember not like Nokia n595959
    Dell inspiron 38899, HP ze9485. They first need to learn how to name products before competing against Apple.

  • @Kris – you’re welcome to share your opinions-and disagree-but call me a lier again and I’ll ban you faster than you can say iLife. 😉

    (This comment written from my Mac)

  • @Kris – I have to agree with you. While my brother did not wait in line (there was no lines in the St. Louis Area) he accepted the fact that his phoned cost $600. If you buy a car for $15,000 on Saturday and on Monday that same car goes on sale for 3,000 less can you go to the car dealer and get $1,500 back? I think not, you signed on the dotted line and knew what you were going to pay, and if you did not want to pay that then do not buy it, plain and simple.

    I am a PC guy and I bought my wife a MacBook because of how simple it made her life, she even recommended it to her friend who bought a MacBook when her Windows Notebook died.

  • Mac loyalists would disagree. Their core customer base will stay with Apple, come what may. Apple’s competitions is not perceived to be anything other than MS. That is why their graph shows northward movement in the stock markets.

  • I use Mac OS X and Windows, I grew up on Windows, but saw the light. I still use Windows more, mainly because I had bad luck trying to configure Apache, PHP and MYSQL to work together on Mac.

    All I’m pointing out about this article is that, very few people actually go online reading news about Apple or their products. And most of those that do love or hate Apple, and they are very few. They are not the majority.

    Like someone was asking why Apple is not giving coupons for people to upgrade to Leopard, thinking that it might affect their Mac sales. It probably will, but it will not be much, because most of those buying have no clue there is a new OS around the corner. They buy because they like what they see and they have the money.

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