Update: Apple is doing the “right thing” and kudos for that! If Bill Gates is letting out a cackle over the recent iPod Nano debacle, one can’t blame him. He has been on the receiving end of consumer ire for a decade now, many of whom […]

Update: Apple is doing the “right thing” and kudos for that!

ipod nanoIf Bill Gates is letting out a cackle over the recent iPod Nano debacle, one can’t blame him. He has been on the receiving end of consumer ire for a decade now, many of whom (including myself) have experienced windows inspired rage many a few times. Apple is for the first time experiencing the ire of very angry customers. (Of course, there are others who have watched the love fest, and would like to sneak in a punch or two at Apple!)

Broken screens, scratches, and what not – this is a full scale PR disaster in the making. Steve Jobs and the gang have never enjoyed the market share, and the consumer glare like this ever before. The response from the company, even in its statements is less than adequate.

> “This is a real but minor issue involving a vendor quality problem in a small number of units,” said Schiller. “In fact, this issue has affected less than 1/10 of 1 percent of the total iPod nano units that we’ve shipped. It is not a design issue.”

Imagine, some drug company making an argument like that – oh only, 0.01% of our pills will cause violent vomiting… rest is all good. That won’t fly, and this one doesn’t. The coolness that made iPod a regular presence at the White House, Hip-Hop videos and Hipster clubs, and turned the shiny white thing into a cultural icon, has become the biggest engine of growth for Apple. The 80% or so market share is a testament to the importance of this product line to the company, given that every new upgrade brings millions of dollars in additional sales.

iPod Nano is not the only issue. There are people who have complained in the past about iTunes and how upgrades are causing havoc. All these recent complaints basically add-up to one thing: when you are the market leader, you have to try and keep everyone happy, all the time. If not, then be ready to bear the brunt of the hordes who will dismiss your product faster than the credit card swipe. Its as simple as that. Microsoft has learned to live with the downside of being a market leader. Apple is only getting a quick lesson.

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  1. While I agree that they need to keep people happy, from what I’ve read (quite a few reports so far), the Nano doesn’t seem to suffer any more scratching than anything with a screen (from cells to Palms) for most. It’s just that the very minority raise holy hell. Remember the brothers with the bad battery. I think characterizing it as a “full scale PR disaster” is probably an overstatement at this point.

  2. i say clearly a PR disaster. have you seen how much press this issue is getting. its even on BBC. most major european dailies and what not. its just one of those thing which is going to snowball. believe me, been in the business to know how these things escalate

  3. Your right its is a complete PR disaster; but seriously these wingers need to get over it.

    But we need to be careful here… what we probably have is a lot of idiots (15 years olds) and mass-market consumers (not the early adopters)… who have finally saved (summoned up the courage) to fork out $200 for their first iPod.

    It would have been fine if these were the types that listened to their iPods in their original plastic coverings (assuming that they came like that – weve seen how the Chinese treat their electronic items!)….

    but they don’t do they? — these same idiots probably think they can place their iPod nano in their jeans pocket.. or in the back of their trouser pocket… and think that they can stress these devices and it wont crack?

    c’mon — its friggin impossible small! of course its fragile!

    and mass-market movers who are getting onto the scene aren’t too well happy that their iPod has a scratch or two… point them to the iPod accessories case section! :)

  4. um, don’t you think you’ve gone a little overboard with this? first, you try to keep customers happy, but you can’t keep all customers happy all the time especially if you’re the market leader (think microsoft, cisco, dell, etc). second, apple is not a a drug company! it’s products don’t go through fda approval precisely because a person’s life does not depend on the reliability of an ipod. you seem to have gone overboard here.

    i think apple’s biggest mistake in this *minor* debacle is that it didn’t apologize and offer new nanos to all affected devices without question. it needs to take responsibility, but i think you’ve gone too far.

  5. oh so you mean to say ron that i have gone overboard with this. look apple’s who shtick is that its better than the others…. premium pricing for premium products …. well, its time for them to deal with it.

  6. Om,

    i think this is a non-issue;

    Its just an opportunity to feel to bash Apple, like they did with the battery problem.

    check the response from Apple,

    If its the cracked screen, they will replace it since its a faulty batch.

    If its a scratched screen, well they need to wrap their nano in cellotape (re: my comments) — they need to get over it…

  7. its not a non issue – as i said, its all about the perceptions, and perceptions are well, bullocks. i think this is where smashing pr job would controlled the damage. one story begets another, and another. and another.

    PS personally – i don’t give a shit, i will still buy the Nano if I want to. regardless of what others might say.

  8. first time? That’s a good one.

  9. no, not a non-issue. apple has to deal with it. when someone walks into their ritz carlton hotel room and it hasn’t been cleaned, they have housekeeping there in two minutes and complimentary fruit basket to smooth things over… and, yes, sometime even a ritz carlton room is left dirty. this should take the shine off apple if it’s handled properly, but apple must address the issue without spin.

  10. it reeks luxury — perceived luxury for the masses, therefore there are always those that will make more noise than the rest…

    all iPods scratch unless you take care of them…

    the difference is that those kinds of issues are being mixed up with the faulty batch issue of the cracked screen…

    what it does prove is the power of blogging and the internet to bring a company to its knees… companies do need to take heed and respond quickly, as i believe Apple has done.

    the metalic exterior of the iPod mini didn’t suffer this problem.. but like i said its now been elevated to mass-market appeal… and we have the whingers who are crying because of a few scratches..

    btw — i beleive that Apple will now have to release an even more expensive (*more exclusive) iPod so that it cannot be purchased by the mass-market… that distinction needs to exist.]

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