I’m one of those liberals, remember. Seriously liberal. But I don’t suffer the blindness of those at the fringey extremes, the ones whose doctrinaire qualities are clear evidence that they’ve lost any knack of moderation. I’m certainly not a Capitalist, but we live in a capitalist society, with a set currency. The word “currency” doesn’t really mean what it used to. For a long time, it’s only meant money. There was a more personal coloring to it when barter was in place. But I’m wandering.
I updated the post about iPhone early adopters whining baselessly about the price drop in iPhones, the gist being that they spent “too much”, now that the price was $200 less. There were far far more people complaining than were simply accepting of market conditions and the fact that we purchasers weren’t held at gunpoint in the first place.
Steve Jobs isn’t stupid. In fact, I’d offer to say that his intelligence, savvy and overall cleverness, combined with the fact that he helms creative, technical, corporate and zeitgeist powers, he’s in a position more than almost anyone to be wise as well as smart, possessing of bravery as well as moxie, and perhaps most importantly, he acts in addition to thinking.
So in being presented in this game called life with a piece that couldn’t be moved he didn’t just work around a limitation, he changed the nature of the game: every early adopter of the iPhone will be getting a $100 rebate, most likely in the form of a store credit. For those of you who haven’t done the math yet, even without knowing how many phones were sold it’s reasonable to estimate that well over $50M in charges will result from this overture.
On top of all that, Steve Jobs apologized. I don’t stress that to imply that it’s a surprise that he’s possessing of such humility, but rather to stress that no other powers in high tech would do such a thing.
I googled “Steve Ballmer apologizes” and “Bill Gates apologizes”, and came up with nothing of significance, unless you’re willing to count Ballmer apologizing for accusing every iPod owner of being a thief. Think of all the things that Microsoft should apologize for: lost productivity, forced mediocrity, blue screens of death, red rings of death. I could go on and on. I could have also included the Zune, but like the situation with the iPhone, people aren’t locked into the Zune, an obvious fact given their sales numbers.
Everyone was surprised that Steve Jobs apologized and reversed his statements in a day. I’m not. Not really. If there’s one consistency in Apple’s behavior, to my way of thinking, it’s this: best products, best user experience, maximized user satisfaction. In other words, in the absence of mitigating factors like a monopoly or elevation of the corporate over the personal, people will optimize for happiness, including how they spend their money.
From that perspective, while an apology was surprising, it wasn’t out of character. And in a larger context, it’s only when a corporation is nothing more than a response mechanism through its own policies that people suffer. When humanity is permitted a say, that’s when good things can happen.
So the $100 store credit, to me, is a bonus. A very welcome bonus, but still more of a gift than anything else.
2007.09.09 UPDATE: From a poll on powerpage.org, a Mac and iPod news site: