iSorry – Apple’s Handling Of The iPhone Price Issue

Steve Jobs stirred up a storm this week when he announced a $200 price reduction for the iPhone just two months after its release (see the video here)

Not surprisingly, Apple‘s early adopters, who paid full price for the iPhone not long ago, weren’t too happy. Importantly for Apple, early adopters also tend to be influencers – the people who can drive word of mouth for new products, so alienating them would be a disaster.

Apple’s responded quickly to the criticism by announcing a $100 rebate for everyone who paid the original price for the iPhone. They also announced that anyone who had bought an iPhone in the past two weeks would get a full $200 rebate.

Now, Apple could have ignored the criticism – as ABC News pointed out, anyone buying a product so soon after its launch should know they’re paying a premium. It wouldn’t have been the best tactic, but let’s face it – it wouldn’t have been a surprise. However, as Andy Beal at Marketing Pilgrim pointed out, they did a decent job:

  • They acted quickly – the next day, in fact. Apple didn’t let the criticism fester before acting
  • They used a credible spokesperson – the CEO himself
  • They issued more than just an apology – they offered something tangible in the form of the rebate

The response to this has been pretty good, but I think Apple probably could have done more:

  • Given that Apple chose to make the rebate announcement online, why through a static webpage? Why not a blog or some other interactive format? By using a static page, they’ve pushed all of the discussion out here into the blogosphere rather than hosting some of it themselves.
  • The letter itself seemed stilted and scripted. Mattel, through all its problems, did one thing right when it posted a video of CEO Bob Eckert’s apology following their latest product recall. Where’s the video of Steve Jobs?
Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.