Monday, July 2, 2007

An Open Letter to Steve Jobs

Steve:

I assume I can call you Steve since I have been a longtime Apple customer (and Pixar and NeXT). I am sorry to say that I think you blew it this time; this time being the iPhone. The instrument itself is terrific as far as I can tell from borrowing my son's, but you blew it by picking ATT as your partner. They don't understand, nor do they care, about the customer experience the way Apple does. Their money-grabbing penny-ante antics to try and reap every cent out of this has created a series of bad experiences for many of us who are (soon to be WERE) ATT business customers. Now, I grant you that all the mobile telecomm companies probably act like this, but perhaps you could have had more influence over a SPRINT or T-Mobile.

The biggest issues folks have experienced could have been easily anticipated; business accounts and traffic/load-scaling. As for business accounts, the sad part is that it could have likely been easily solved through simple communication. How hard would it have been to simply put a sign in the stores (both Apple and ATT) that encouraged business customers to ask before buying. The worst part is that the only way most of us found out about the problem with business accounts was to open the iPhone and attempt activation through iTunes. Even that didn't give a clear answer. Of course, this is also creating an issue with the refund when we try and return it. Oh Steve. Steve, Steve, Steve.

I think many of us actually expected the scaling and customer service issues with ATT. After all, watching the MacWorld keynote this year it should have been clear that ATT executives just "do not get it". Old time telecomm thinking just doesn't work anymore. It makes me think that there might be room in the marketplace for a new player. Oh, Steve.

As I bring this to a conclusion, I am packing my iPhone to return in the morning to my local Apple store. We'll see how the question of a FULL refund goes under the circumstances. As for ATT, I think this was the final straw for me. This has made it clear that they cannot, or will not, support my business needs. So, I am taking my $10K/month account and shopping it. If you can't get customer service anywhere, I may as well try to save our shareholders a few bucks.

Good luck with this ATT partnership. I think you are really going to need it.

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