Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dear Mr. Senator...

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wants Apple to fix the hardware "problem" with the iPhone for free.

I'm sure most of the people who bought an iPhone 4 want the "problem" fixed for free, too.
The difference is that most of the people who bought an iPhone are not Senators, nor do they have the personal phone number to President Barak Obamah.

Apple is already offering a full refund for unsatisfied customers now that they've waived the restocking fee.  That's sure as hell sounds like fixing the problem for free.
If you don't like the phone, are dissatisfied with the reception, are having problems with the dropped calls, bring the phone back for a full refund.  Done and done.  If, on the other hand, you're not dissatisfied with the phone, keep it.  And, by the way, if you want to improve reception, there's a very, very affordable accessory you can purchase (considering you can afford a $600 PHONE) that apparently solves the antenna problem.

If you don't like the solutions presented, march with your feet and a fistful of dollars to another phone and carrier.  It's not like the iPhone is the only damn product on the market.

From a simple business standpoint it behooves Apple to make this right, to do so right away, to do so in a way that makes the bad press go away, and to be sure it goes away in such a manner as to ensure that bringing up the issue at a later date seem so...  petty.  That's just the sensible way to cover their own assets.

But that entire matrix changes when a Senator sticks his nose in to the mess.
Because a Senator has the power, and ability, to suggest legislative and regulatory changes.  If it's a Senator in the minority, it's no big deal.  But if the Senator is in the majority, and has a significant majority in both chambers, and has a President in the same party, and that party has had high ranking (even leading) members refer to profits as "immoral", then you have a real reason to take pause.  
No longer is the impetus to fix this problem merely a business problem.  
Oh nonononononono...  
Now, it's a social imperative.  
Now, it's a matter of making the poor customers whole who may have purchased their (outrageously overpriced) phones without knowing that the technology may not be absolutely perfect and operating to the standards of that paragon of operational and executional efficiency, the US Government.
Now, it's a matter of politics.

Because writing a letter urging Apple to fix a perceived problem for free is far more important to the Senator from New York than, oh, say reducing the deficit even a tiny amount.

This is the type of crap you get from these people.  If there was some kind of balance in the halls of power, then this wouldn't even be something to blink at because everyone would know that it's going nowhere.  But when the levers of government are all controlled by one party, and some Senator gets his panties in a wad, then you have to tread lightly.  It does no good to reply to the Senator to keep his nose out of your business, because somewhere down the road there's another lawsuit, or another investigation, or some sort of regulatory issue.  The sort of issue that a phone call can either create or make go away completely...  if that phone call is made by the right Senator.

I'm hoping that Apple does the right thing and gets this thing resolved.  But I'd have rather them done it without the Senator sticking his big fat nose in where it doesn't belong.


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