On recent weeks, Apple managed to get into direct conflicts with its consumers, worldwide. The last trigger was the innovative iPhone that created a huge buzz all over the world. Apple, in some typical corporation decisions, managed to piss off many iPhone buyers and millions of technology fans.
The first strategic decision from Apple was to diminish simfree, lock the iPhone exclusively to AT&T, and prevent other networks users from using it.
The second strategic decision was to slash the 4GB iPhone and to cut the 8GB iPhone price from 599$ to 399$, thats 200$ after only 2 months, since launch day.
Following furious reactions from iPhone owners who felt they have been screwed for been loyal to Apple by purchasing it first, Apple decided, in a precedent way, to compensate the first buyers by refunding them with 100$ store credit.
Is It Over?
Absolutely not. The next battle stage has moved to federal instances, after Dongmei Li, a 4GB iPhone owner from New York, has filed a suit against Apple and AT&T for $1 million, claiming Apple broke several laws when it cut off one-third of the iPhones price. In addition, Li claimed that Apple creating price discrimination by offering a 200$ rebate to new iPhone buyers while crediting the first buyers with only 100$. She said that first buyers were harmed from the recent iPhone price reduction since they are not able to resell it for the same price as those who bought their phones after the prices cut-off.
Apple and AT&T haven’t released any response yet.
So Who’s Going To Win?
Dongmei Li won’t get 1$ million, that’s for sure, but court declarations in this matter will be very interesting and might be contributing for shaping the statutory relations between big corporations and their clients.
It seems that on the short term, Apple and AT&T are the big winners, since Apple sold over 1 million iPhone units in a very short period of time, signed many new users on 2 years contract with AT&T, and the buzz behind its new machine has caught almost everyone in every place on this planet.
However, on the long term, Apple will lose if it won’t comply with its customers wishes. There is no doubt that this recent law suit is not the last one and Apple might have to deal with many others. It seems that Apple managed to turn the positive buzz of the iPhone launch into a direct anger, caused by some anti consumers decisions, made by the company, and even Steve Jobs knows that daily uncomplimentary news can substantially damage the iPhone sells.
Time will tell…