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John Whiteside

As much as my instinct is to say that blogging and conversation are a better approach, this is one of those cases where I don't think it would buy Apple much.

Their goal, basically, is to make this go away, and this is the quickest way. Having a blog entry with the letter and 4,000 comments venting spleen at the company would really just feed it. They obviously aren't after a conversation here, and I think most of us have our opinions about the price cut already.

In fact, the whole discussion happening online about it can be covered in about one page; mostly it's repetition.

Apple is one of those companies that can get away with its controlling approach to communications for a couple of reasons. First of all, their strengths all center on innovation, incredible attention to user experience, and great product design. They are so strong there (& their competition is somewhat inept in those areas) that they can get away with being a bit elitist. Second, they have a base of passionate customer advocates who will make their case for them in the online trenches.

Finally, while they will hear a lot of "Oh yeah, well I'm switching to Windows" I don't think this will actually happen much. As my mom would say, "don't cut off your nose to spite your face." People who use Macs are accustomed to their Macs and I think a visit to Windowsland will actually make them decide they that are mad about the iPhone but not mad enough to buy a new computer, used a clunkier OS, get all new software, and so on.

I should note that I'm a Mac user & didn't buy an iPhone, and think the price cut was a bit obnoxious (too deep too quickly)... but honestly, not that bad. People who ran out and bought iPhone immediately were making an impulse purchase based more on desire than need. Those purchases, especially for brand new products, are always high risk. If it hadn't happened now, it would have happened when iPhone 2.0 came out a little later. And given how much people seem to love them, I can't see them all trading them in for Blackberries next time around.

Debbie Weil

Good points. You're making me rethink this.

John Whiteside

I should add the I don't particularly like Apple's controlling approach, despite being a big fan of their products.

Here's the little mental game I've been playing: if I had half an hour with Steve Jobs to convince him that Apple should embrace social media, how would I do it? I have no answer that would make me try to get an appointment in Cupertino :).

Geoff Livingston

Apple flies in the face of open. Their products are closed, preventing other companies from integrating effectively with their various Operating systems (iTunes, OS X). So it should be no surprise.

ALso, I do think regardless of comments, it was an effective move by Jobs. It was classic crisis PR, and Apple has already moved on. The real impact is sales, and so long as Apple doesn't have another misstep in the next months, I imagine this will fall to the wayside quicker than you may imagine.

The price cut was not as Machiavellian as some have made it out to be. It was a reaction to the very stiff competition that Apple is going to experience from Nokia, Sony, Motorola, and Ericsson.

Apple has picked a big fight, perhaps even bigger than Microsoft. They may not make it in the phone market. Pricing competitively was the right thing to do.

Ike

The "Apple Community/Cult" is not an online creation, nor is it a by-product of Social Media or Social Networks.

It's an effective brand identity that has been about individual expression, but oddly enough not expression toward the company. There is no expectation that Jobs will listen to the faithful.

The example might seem a little extreme, but this is like saying that you should announce the next American Legion Spaghetti Supper on a blog. The intended audience has no track record in the medium, and has not yet clamored for one.

(and for the record, I think Jobs' rebate/letter bit had been in the works for at least a month prior.)

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