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April 05, 2006

One More Reason to Buy a Mac

Rob Hof

Not that I needed another reason, since I've been intending to move to a Mac for my personal machine for months now. But I think today's release of Boot Camp, which lets you run Windows XP on a Mac, makes a Mac a no-brainer for anyone who admires its elegance and ease of use (and who has extra money lying around). I can't hope to do better than the massive online discussion going on, but I tend to think this won't mean a big boost for Apple anytime soon, once people realize they'll have to pony up $250 for Windows, plus more for any Windows-specific program they want to run. Still, the ability to run must-have programs not yet available on Mac OS X makes the Mac price premium look like a fairly cheap insurance policy now.

03:19 PM

Apple Computer, Microsoft, Personal Computers

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>> makes the Mac price premium <<

Have you actually compared Mac and Dell pricing feature for feature? Dell came out higher for me.

Posted by: PXLated at April 5, 2006 04:17 PM

buy it at the apple store. cliff edwards predicted their demise in May 2001. Said they'd be toast in 2 years or less. Man, was he W-R-O-N-G. I think he picked the marlins to win the world series this year, too. HAHAHAHAHA. HA.

Posted by: Chris Wallace at April 18, 2006 04:29 PM

have you actually ever tried to get dell to answer a question on the phone? try it. if you have a lightyear. and you want an answer that doesn't solve your problem. Dell Hell. that's about right.

Posted by: chris Wallace at April 18, 2006 04:35 PM

yer a mac tease. buy the thing already!

Posted by: dg at April 19, 2006 02:25 PM

OK, OK, soon I hope, budget willing!

Posted by: Rob Hof at April 19, 2006 02:28 PM

Lionel,

Thank you for your email regarding the failure of Apple to repair my laptop under warranty. I realize that this is not only frustrating for me as the customer, but it is also not a pleasant experience for you. I appreciate you taking time to go into more detail about the position that the store takes in this situation.

WE HAVE ARRANGED (your laptop) TO BE PICKED UP AT NO COST TO YOU; please allow me to bring it here to our storefront if they should call you instead of us.

Understood. While it is completely and totally unacceptable that anyone is being charged a "diagnostic fee" for this, let alone that Petosa is paying this fee, I appreciate the gesture, and I must accept your generous offer.

I asked if they could remove the DVD before shipping it out and I got nowhere with this request.

this doesn't surprise me.

I will, however, take time myself to attempt this extraction here at petosa AT NO COST TO YOU if you’d like me to. I might have no way of doing this but I’m willing to try; you let me know.

Since Apple has seen fit not to even provide this nicety, sure, if you think you can do this easily, by all means, if you see an easy "in" without leaving the computer in pieces. It would be nice to recover the $40 DVD if possible.

I also asked about the AppleCare you purchased and got them to make a concession of sorts. While there’s no blanket “refund” available, they put me on hold for several minutes and when they returned they agreed to transfer the remaining time of this AppleCare arrangement to a new machine should you decide to purchase a replacement. I’d have to get the exact details of how to make this happen if you eventually chose to replace the laptop; I’m not exactly sure if you’d need to order it from an AppleCare rep or what, but I would help you sort this out regardless of whether or not petosa music were the one to “sell” the new machine to you. One way or another, you’d either get a new 3 year plan for the amortized cost of time used on your current plan (paying for only the 6 months used), or you’d get your remaining approximately 2.5 total remaining years transferred to the new serial # at no cost to you.

Good to know, and I will keep it in mind. Of course, we both know that the majority of "normal" mechanical or electronic defects in a computer will show themselves during the regular warranty period, but I very much appreciate you following up on this on my behalf.

HOWEVER, I realize this offer of course means nothing if you’ve decided to boycott Apple over all that’s transpired (as you seemed to suggest we should) and never purchase their products again.

The thought of a complete boycott of Apple products, including iTunes downloads is very tempting to me at this time. Doesn't matter how cool their stuff is if they treat their paying customers so poorly. Since the mid 1980's, I have spent more than a teacher's annual salary on their computer products, and this is the first time I have EVER asked for anything in return. Unfortunately, those who have the most invested in Apple's products also have the most to lose. If you are a carpenter, you still need a hammer, and my tools are software, much of which runs only in the Apple environment.

If you could try for a moment, from an unemotionally-tied perspective, perhaps you would find that maybe, just maybe, it’s been Apple’s contention all along that they are willing to cover the product you purchased from failure, including all it’s components as they assembled them (regardless of how much Apple actually manufactured what’s inside), BUT they can’t take responsibility for items they DON’T install in a laptop computer… like soda pop for example!!!!

That would imply that the warranty only appears not to cover human error which causes the equipment to fail. But I'll bet it also doesn't cover external stimulus outside the users control which causes a failure, such as a lightning strike, for example, or a gnat shorting itself out after flying into the laptop's motherboard, (both of which are very unlikely, and therefore, a good warranty gamble for Apple, as these things go) although I might be wrong.

Let me start by saying I genuinely think this whole unfortunate circumstance REALLY SUCKS, and you’ve made no secret you concur. I’m sure we also agree that neither one of us asked for this to happen to you. But with this said, for petosa music, or myself in particular, to be included in your list of the accused is quite disappointing and unfair.

Petosa IS in the middle, and THAT really sucks, given your excellent customer service history. The spirit of my conversation with you has merely been (and continues to be) to point out the sad but true fact that the store / reseller is the entity that takes most of the heat for customer service failure regardless of the circumstances. YOU should be as upset at Apple computer as I am. You are dealing with customers on the front line every day. When something like this occurs with a customer you don't know very well, that customer may never set foot in your store again - they remember the experience, not the fact that you are busting your tail to represent a company who's policy is basically "tough break, customer, you should have read the fine print".

In this particular case, since I have an excellent business relationship with you going back several years, and with Joe Petosa going back a couple of decades, combined with the fact that I have had such a high level of customer service from Petosa throughout this time; I know *exactly* where the customer service failure lies in this one case.

The bottom line with Apple is "buyer beware". Always read the fine print. Joe and I had a conversation today about Costco, who has a full refund policy if the customer returns an item for any reason. If only all small retailers had as much leverage as Costco, consumers could buy any product or service and expect complete satisfaction, or their money back. Customer satisfaction means good business.

It's unfortunate that smaller businesses like Petosa, which statistically offer the highest level of product information and customer satisfaction are not always fully backed by the companies that they represent so effectively.

I do indeed remember telling you that AppleCare doesn’t cover things like “getting dropped” and “being stolen”, but I also recall using the word LIKE just as I’ve done here! One CANNOT paraphrase when making a semantic argument, Robert! You essentially accused me of making a statement that asserted these two things and ONLY these two things constitute what isn’t covered, and that simply is NOT what I said nor is it a reasonable deduction.

You are absolutely right about paraphrasing. Apple computer has used a form of paraphrasing to market something that isn't very sexy by itself - what I now understand to be nothing more than a standard extended warranty. Note that the name of the Apple "coverage" is not "Applecare extended warranty", it is "APPLECARE PROTECTION PLAN" . Subtle, huh? This implies something quite different than a garden variety extension of a manufacturer's standard warranty. It very clearly appears to offer to protect the customer from issues that are not covered in the standard warranty.

Keep in mind, full replacement coverage for a damaged laptop is fairly common; for instance, on business insurance policies. Or, we could walk across the street and purchase an UNCONDITIONAL warranty with a DELL laptop computer for about the same price as Apple's PROTECTION PLAN; in other words, we'd get some real "PROTECTION". The customer reads Apple's headline, and fills in the blanks, yes?

I am indeed disappointed in how this has evolved, but I don't believe I have been unfair in my assessment of the situation. And as far as what you said or didn't say, I was just stating what I thought I heard and saw at the time of the sale.

Furthermore, my two examples, however interpreted, are themselves proof this warranty-extension was indeed NOT unconditional! Logic simply doesn’t allow it. When asked by you or anyone else I always start by explaining how AppleCare EXTENDS THE LENGTH of the regular one year warranty (along with tech support of which few care about). Nothing more, nothing less.

Nothing more, certainly. I don't see how it could be any less than what I've received from Apple to date on this issue.

If I might be allowed the luxury of making a business suggestion for the future; since you are not an authorized service center for Apple, it might make a great deal of sense for petosa to direct customers who are interested in an extended warranty to purchase this from the authorized service center where they will be required to return it for repair anyway. Or perhaps, they could sign up for Applecare when they register their product online, if this is allowable. As I understand it, computers are mostly being sold by Petosa as a value added component of music and audio software and hardware workstations or similar music business equipment, and as Joe likes to put it, "as a convenience to our customers".

Sounds like Petosa's current statistic for AppleCare Protection Plan is only one return with only one upset customer. I can't imagine that referring these extended warranties to the Apple Authorized Service Centers would have much affect on your business, and it would certainly lessen the hassle on your end if someone needs to have warranty work done. My two cents.

I also recall continuing with “things of this nature” or something to that effect after my examples, but by then you’d already turned your back to me, started walking for the front of the store, and without waiting for me to finish proclaimed “I think that sounds reasonable – go ahead and order AppleCare for me”.

Yes, you are a good salesman, and I go to you and to Petosa because I generally get excellent, balanced information to temper my buying decisions. And, I value and trust your opinions about products that I don't have the time to research in detail myself. However, as you pointed out, this is the first time any Apple product has come back to the store under any kind of warranty, and so obviously, neither of us really had the full story on Apple's level of customer service until now.

On the phone the other day you also angrily asserted you’re not a gambling man, and how you would never have purchased AppleCare had you thought there were any circumstance (outside of “my” two exceptions I suppose) where Apple Corp. wouldn’t cover the cost of a repair. I took this to mean that, again, you’d been misguided as to what you were purchasing. Regardless of fault, how would an AppleCare agreement, or anything else for that matter, ever save unrecoverable data? Isn’t neglecting to back up important data (i.e. family memories) on a handful of $.10 CD-R or $.25 DVD-+R the BIGGEST gamble one can take in all of this??? Bigger than any cost we’ve recently discussed??!?

I always backed up any business related files I created on the laptop, but the kids did have stories they had written and we had pictures that the family had taken, and that of course, is unrecoverable.

While I am upset that family photos and so forth were lost, I certainly never expected that personal family memories are covered under any warranty. That disclaimer is in fairly large print on the inside cover of just about any hardware or software manual out there in case one couldn't figure that out for themselves. It's a hard lesson for Jennifer and I (and hopefully the kids, too). Yes, losing personal memories and so forth are always the hardest part of this type of thing.

I’ve been more careful with this sort of stuff even than with my own personal material – to the point of borderline paranoia – for this very reason. For me it’s all the digital photos we’ve taken since my wife and I became parents. I’d be crushed if this stuff was gone forever. It’s also why my stomach sinks every time I think of what material you guys may’ve lost from the last 6 months. It’s gotta be a REAL tough pill to swallow, and for that much I can understand a certain amount of your recent lack of composure and venomous attitude.

Well now I’m going to end my “rant”, as you said in one of your rather colorful voice mails you left for my return. Please don’t take what I’ve written as a personal attack as that’s certainly not my intention; I figured as you don’t have a problem “dishing it out” so-to-speak you should be (hopefully) a willing audience as well. I’ll remind you, again on behalf of petosa and myself included, if I didn’t give a damn about your circumstance I wouldn’t even bother dealing with any of it; my only hope at this point is the aforementioned ideas might help prevent this from ever happening to you again, for everyone’s benefit!

In spite of all this, if you still insist you were mislead and forsaken in some way between the time you purchased this Apple stuff and now, at the very least I ask you to reserve that accusation for me alone and don’t let it affect how you share your thoughts with others about petosa music as a whole.

Thanks, Lionel. I appreciate your understanding of the depth of the situation. For the record, my business and personal relationships with you and with Petosa won't change as a result of this issue, and I will continue to refer Petosa whenever I can.

I can tell from the amount of time that you took to email me, and your insightful comments that this is important to you on both a business and personal level. I appreciate it very much.

As far as Joe and I - we've been friends since before MIDI, and so we aren't going to let a little thing like Apple computer get between us ;-) OF COURSE, IF APPLE DECIDES TO MAKE ME A POSTER CHILD FOR THEIR GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE.... this is why I CC'd Sean Celli at Apple - Sean, can we turn a little spilled juice into some great PR for APPLE?

By the way, I called the U-Village Apple Store and it’s quite apparent they would’ve handled things just as the Mac Store did, so I doubt we would’ve done any better at any other Apple service center.

No doubt. It appears to be a case of "Manufacturer gets bigger, customer gets smaller, and retailer has no control over the situation". I must say, my view of Apple computer is forever changed by this experience. UNLESS we hear from APPLE.

I will advise you the moment I hear from the Mac Store regarding your computer.

Thank you, Lionel.

Best wishes,

Robert

Robert Puff

RPM Seattle Music Preparation

tel/cell 425.415.1500 msg/fax 425.415.1700

info2006@musicprep.com

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Posted by: Robert at July 13, 2006 03:46 AM

This comment may not be on the same level. I have had some real old Macs in the past. The Se, the pizza box models, the one with the 486 intel processor to run Windoze stuff. I threw them all out because I was moving. I regret that now. The other day I bought an Imac 333mhz with a keyboard an mouse. A school surplus item. I couldn't do anything with it as is but it was running great. I bought a restore disc for five bucks with another install disc. 8.5.1. Then upgraded online to 8.6 for free. Then upgraded the Internet Exploreer 4.0 to 5.1. I download a free mp3 player etc. It does some great stuff and I love it. Not bad for twenty-five dollars. Half off day at Goodwill. These sold for 1100 dollars in 1998. I love the old thing. It is a monitor with everything in it and can be upgraded to run osx for those knowing what they are doing. Buy an older one and tell me you don't like it. They are a little getting used to but I figured it out pretty much after about a week of messing with it. I want a new one now. Microsoft is more worried about sucking up to copyright holders not the real computer users. We all pay the copyright holders one way or another. MS pulled Internet Explorer support out for Mac because they are cowards. I always thought Bill Gates was just a good thief and con man with some technical brains but has idiots that develop their lame software. Any good Windoze software is written by third party developers. What is it with Microsoft that thinks they own people for using their security hole laden browser and spyware operating system? I tried Linux and it was a little hard and had lack of drivers and software that I like but they were and still are promising. I am moving to Mac/Apple. I love their stuff now and the compact single unit models that don't have all the components seperate. That tower stuff is getting old. Too many wires hanging out. I love this old Imac that is all in one unit. Easy to maintain and upgrade and fun. I could go on more but I'll give you a break.

Posted by: Louis Lindner at October 8, 2006 06:51 AM


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