The Gripe – Our family’s one and only experience with Apple computing has ended in frustration. Our iMac now produces a grey screen. The machine works (we know that from running the machine in its quirky voice mode), but the monitor does not. We see a grey screen that moves from light grey to a darker grey as we manipulate the machine’s brightness control. Perhaps we shouldn’t judge Apple based on this one bad experience, and that’s probably true. But the web is littered with crApple and Apple crap content–content posted by legions of disgruntled Apple customers–so apparently we’re not alone in our frustration.
The Problem – According to the Apple technician we consulted, the source of our iMac’s problem is its logic board. More specifically, faulty capacitors on the logic board. We were told that iMacs of our vintage suffered from poor-quality capacitors on their logic boards, and when they fail, the monitor is affected. Approximately $900 to fix.
Corporate Greed – Considering the excessive purchase price of our iMac and the unconscionable margins Apple enjoys by producing its products overseas (see below), Apple certainly could have afforded quality $0.10 (ten-cent) capacitors for my machine over the poor-quality $.06 (six-cent) capacitors it chose. Yet Apple chose the cheaper, poor-quality capacitors instead. Thanks for thinking of your customers, Apple. Thanks for thinking of me, Apple.
But I get it. I truly get it. I don’t agree, but I get the corporate perspective. It’s all about the margins. Those cheaper capacitors no doubt contributed to handsome corporate bonuses and stock options at Apple in the year my iMac was produced. Picture the Apple corporate pigs feeding at the trough, their blood-filled cheeks glowing brightly as they gorge on the dollars coming through the door. Their appetites are insatiable, and they’ll do anything–literally anything–to keep the feeding frenzy going.
Competitor Quality – So, after only five (5) years of use, our iMac is dead. I’m writing this post using a DELL machine that is twelve (12) years old. Except for the occasional power outage, this machine has been turned on and running continuously for over twelve (12) years (including the original hard drive). At well less than half the cost, we’ve seen well over twice the life span. Now that’s what I call quality. Hats off to DELL, and sad commentary for Apple.
The Social Context – Perhaps like Toyota and other corporate behemoths, Apple seems to have lost its way. After Steve Jobs (who I mostly admired) died, Tim Cook took the reigns at Apple. Shortly after his appointment to his CEO post, Mr. Cook was quoted as saying the following in response to a reporter’s question on whether, considering its tremendous financial success, Apple should think about bringing jobs back to America (as you may know, Apple products are produced at the planet-sized assembly facility of Foxconn in Taiyuan, China):
[sic] It’s not Apple’s responsibility to create jobs in America. Apple’s responsibility is to produce its products in the most cost-efficient way.
This utterly soul-less response from the humorless and unemotional Mr. Cook, offered at a time when Americans and others around the world were (and still are) feeling the pain of the ongoing global recession, confirms that he is the right person to lead Apple into the future–the right person for Apple’s shareholders anyway; but sadly, not the right person for Apple’s customers. By definition, corporations are soul-less and incapable of possessing morals, honor or integrity. Only humans can possess human attributes. But corporations are led by humans, and to my way of thinking, corporate leaders should possess and exhibit morals, honor and integrity. Corporate leaders should have a social conscience, and Mr. Cook is no exception. Pleasing Wall Street is important for any publicly-traded company, but when a corporation emphasizes pleasing Wall Street over all else, that’s when I get off the bus. It’s too late for Steve Jobs to get a conscience, but it’s not too late for Mr. Cook.
To lighten things up a bit in the midst of this otherwise negative post, check out this great article on Foxconn from The ONION (unlike you Mr. Cook, I do have a sense of humor): Sweeping New Labor Reforms Allow Foxconn Employees To Work In Inhumane Conditions From Home.
Action Plan – Well, as you might guess, my family won’t be buying any Apple products in the foreseeable future. As value-oriented consumers, we’re happy to pay a higher price for something if the higher price brings higher quality. But based on our experience, and that of countless thousands of others around the world, that value-proposition equation doesn’t balance for Apple products. In addition to Apple’s quality problems, when we consider that Apple’s corporate leaders are totally devoid of any social conscience, the message is clear: No crApple, no crApple. No crApple for me!