Apple’s bad week: lawsuit loss, investigations and terrible flashbacks

Poor Apple.  They are having some tough, tough times, lately.  With profit at an all time high, stock price through the roof and iPad sales that are astronomical, one would think this company could do no wrong. But, one would be wrong. Very wrong.

As Leo Laporte, former TechTV host and current podcast king, puts it, it is the end of ‘innocence’ for the Mac platform, which is currently under attack by several variants of the ‘Flashback’ malware. Both the trojan and the virus are attacking and Apple has been fairly slow to respond. The slowness is, no doubt, due to their not really having to deal with this type of thing. Or, have they?  Apple has a tendency to NOT comment on attacks and, instead, just fix the problem.

Unfortunately for Apple, they don’t always ‘just fix the problem’ and they do not, as they want you to believe, put the customer experience first.

Take the case of Seattle Rex, a blogger. He had a MacBook Pro that contained-and Apple even acknowledged-a faulty Nvidia 8600M GT graphics card.  These were known to fail and Apple had stated that they would be repaired at no charge to the customer. Apparently, Rex’s MBP died three years later and Apple refused to repair it for free. They wanted Rex to pay $600(US) to repair his computer. The reason: it would not boot.  Well, most of them won’t boot with this problem.

Rex took Apple to court after exhausting all avenues (Apple is a very closed company.)

Rex represented himself, while Apple sent TWO people to defend them in court.

Apple argued to the judge that this was not the same computer (he had ordered it overclocked) and, thus, did not qualify for the free repair. Rex argued that the hardware was exactly the same. The judge questioned Apple, who agreed that it was, in fact, the same. During the trial, Apple admitted that the repairs did not even cost them anything and was, in fact, covered by Nvidia. Imagine the judge’s surprise at learning this bit of news.  Eventually, the judge ruled in Rex’s favor and awarded him enough money to buy a new computer and cover his expenses for the trial. 

The interesting note from the trial, and Rex explains it all nicely, is that Apple seems to regard it’s customers as naïve and non-technical.  And, judging from the majority of Apple owners I know, this is a valid assumption for them.  Now, before you want to throw knives at me, not all Apple owners are like this. In fact, a few of the ones I know are very technically savvy, but…well, the rest are not. And, it is not necessarily a bad thing either.  The problem, though, is that too much hand holding results in people who do not know any better and things like Flashback are allowed to run rampant.

Apple is also faced with the worst competition a company can have: itself.  The iPad and the iPhone are tremendous products. I love the iPad (though, not nearly as much as I once did) and cannot imagine what else they could do with it to maintain that wow factor in the next release that would make me want one. Indeed, there have been two more editions released since I bought mine two years ago and I am not compelled to purchase either of them…they simply are not that much better. So, what will they do?  I think the fall of this year will prove interesting for them and the industry. Microsoft’s Windows 8 will be available in tablet form and, I think, will take off reasonably well. Amazon is likely to refresh the Kindle Fire and companies like Motorola and Samsung will, no doubt, roll out refreshed product as well.  Apple could be in trouble, comparatively speaking, of course.

They are also under investigation over price fixing of e-Books.  This one, though, probably won’t hurt them.  In fact, they, likely, won’t even get a slap on the wrist. They, after all, do not set prices, the publishers do and five of the six publishers involved have already agreed to changes.

Of course, for a nearly trillion dollar company, most of these events are meaningless. I’m sure that $4000 loss means little (though, it would have cost much, much less had they just replaced Rex’s motherboard…they would have saved that money plus the money it cost to send TWO people to court to defend them.  Whomever made that call should be fired.  Idiot.)  In the end, the Apple faithful will make some excuse for Apple while the general public will just keep buying iPhones, iPods and iPads and be content with the Apple sauce being spoon fed to them.

What was I saying about ‘poor Apple’?

Read more about the lawsuit here.


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