Apple's apology turns caustic Chinese press into cheerleaders

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Just one day is all it took for state-run media outlets in China to sidle up to Apple after decrying the company's supposedly harmful after-sales practices, with the flip-flop in rhetoric spurred by CEO Tim Cook's apology letter on Monday.

According to Reuters, the same newspapers that attacked Apple have come to laud its chief executive's proactive measures ? a rare apology letter issued in a distinct departure from the traditionally tight-lipped company.

Tim Cook


"The company's apology letter has eased the situation, softening the tense relationship between Apple and the Chinese market," popular tabloid the Global Times said. "Its reaction is worth respect compared with other American companies." The paper is an offshoot of Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily.

Even the Foreign Ministry gave a nod to Apple's actions in light of the one-way mud slinging, saying the tech giant "conscientiously" responded to consumers' demands.

"We approve of what Apple said," ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

With China being Apple's second-largest market, expected to soon become its biggest with smartphone sales booming, the company was likely looking to put the brakes on the Chinese government's media machine. It was estimated on Monday that the state-run media barrage could cost the iPhone maker some $13 billion in sales.

The anti-Apple campaign began with a China Central Television broadcast meant to spark discontent among Chinese consumers over after-sales service supposedly "biased against Chinese consumers in its warranty and consumer service policies." Following a nearly rote response from Apple PR, the People's Daily dug in with a disparaging front-page story about the company's reluctance to meet with press over the matter.

On Monday, Apple posted Cook's lengthy apology letter on its webpage, clarifying warranty practices and enhancing repair policies regarding the iPhone 4 and 4S. Perhaps most important to the Chinese government, and by extension its media, was the acknowledgment that Apple's lack of transparency could lead to "misunderstandings," for which Cook offered his "sincere apologies."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    applesauce007applesauce007 Posts: 1,603member
    Way to Go TC...

    Now we need China Mobile to sell the iDevices please.

    Go Apple.
  • Reply 2 of 47
    lerxtlerxt Posts: 184member
    Shows you how important China is to Apple. Who else has Apple grovelled to?
  • Reply 3 of 47
    emrulemrul Posts: 26member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Lerxt View Post



    Shows you how important China is to Apple. Who else has Apple grovelled to?


     


    Just what I was thinking.  When it comes to the US Gov Apple's attitude is "we'll see you in court".  TC is smart enough to know where growth lies and who needs pandering to and who doesn't.

  • Reply 4 of 47
    thedbathedba Posts: 473member
    In the last few weeks we had Italy and now China. I believe that last year, there was another European country that brought charges against them by not clarifying the required warranty by law, for their products and instead pushing their Apple Care.

    I am no fan of extended warranties and do believe that for products such as iPhone, it should be required by law, that the manufacturer guaranties its product for at least the duration of a contract, that would be 2 years in most countries.

    Apple can be a pioneer in this area and offer at least two years for devices such as iPhone, iPad off the bat. This may not please stockholders but judging from the last few months, nothing short of total market domination would.
  • Reply 5 of 47
    poksipoksi Posts: 481member
    Wall Street doesn't care about that. They sank AAPL yesterday on bad news and will not react to positive. They have simply decided to make profits on any other stock except Apple until further notice.
  • Reply 6 of 47
    When dealing with the Chinese, it's all about showing honor... And cold hard cash????????????
  • Reply 7 of 47
    Last time when TC had to do an apology, someone lost his job. Wonder if we will see this pattern repeat itself?
  • Reply 8 of 47
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    lerxt wrote: »
    Shows you how important China is to Apple. Who else has Apple grovelled to?

    Nonsense.

    What about Antennagate? What about Mapgate?
  • Reply 9 of 47
    pk22901pk22901 Posts: 138member
    I think China has just highlighted Apple advantages: durability, support and service. Apple could set a new bar by extending its warranties to 2 years. It'll impact the bottom line, but it will put competitors phones and policies in a tough spot.

    If they follow with 2 yr policies, Apple's strengths will become more important in purchase decisions. Also, iOS sw upgrades vs Android's lack of upgrades will be spotlighted along with the fragmentation issue in Androidville.

    I see a win win for Apple if they do this.
  • Reply 10 of 47

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post





    Nonsense.



    What about Antennagate? What about Mapgate?


    What about the front gate!

  • Reply 11 of 47
    irelandireland Posts: 17,547member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Lerxt View Post



    Shows you how important China is to Apple. Who else has Apple grovelled to?


     


    Perhaps Apple was in the wrong in this case? Antenna gate was Steve's take on an apology. This is Tim's.

  • Reply 12 of 47
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member


    Reading this just makes me want to vomit.  I suppose the stock will get back some of the losses from yesterday because now China likes Apple again. image

  • Reply 13 of 47

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


     


    Perhaps Apple was in the wrong in this case? Antenna gate was Steve's take on an apology. This is Tim's.



    iPhone 4 antenna issues where Apple apologised and gave out free bumpers?

  • Reply 14 of 47
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,893member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Emrul View Post


     


    Just what I was thinking.  When it comes to the US Gov Apple's attitude is "we'll see you in court".  TC is smart enough to know where growth lies and who needs pandering to and who doesn't.



     


    This has nothing to do with the relative importance of the Chinese and US markets -- both are very important. It has everything to do with the political and legal systems in the two countries. In the US, there's a fair court to go to (as there is in the EU and UK). That doesn't exist in China. 


     


    TC handled this very deftly. It was exactly the right thing to do in China. 


     


    But it would be very interesting to know what was behind this attack on Apple in China. What was the *real* issue here? My guess is that there's some arm of the Chinese government whose job is to look out for any entity -- particularly foreign entities -- that are becoming too popular and might one day pose some kind of threat (however distant) to the Chinese government. My guess is that somebody in that bureaucracy identified Apple as a threat.  TC's letter showed the required deference and so this particular set of bureaucrats can now go bother somebody else. 


     


    But TC's letter might have also illustrated that Apple is not the typically naive American company. This is the right way to handle this sort of thing in China. It actually makes Apple stronger, not weaker, because it shows the Chinese government that Apple understands what the bounds are in China and respects them (unlike Google). This could be a very big win for Apple longer term. 

  • Reply 15 of 47
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    emrul wrote: »
    Just what I was thinking.  When it comes to the US Gov Apple's attitude is "we'll see you in court".  TC is smart enough to know where growth lies and who needs pandering to and who doesn't.

    The US doesn't own the media.
  • Reply 16 of 47
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    iPhone 4 antenna issues where Apple apologised and gave out free bumpers?

    Jobs did not apologize. In fact, he said there was no design flaw, and all phones were afflicted with the issue.
  • Reply 17 of 47
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by The Big Ginger View Post


    iPhone 4 antenna issues where Apple apologised and gave out free bumpers?



    Apple gave out free bumpers, claiming there was no problem.

  • Reply 18 of 47
    lightknightlightknight Posts: 2,312member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post


     


    This has nothing to do with the relative importance of the Chinese and US markets -- both are very important. It has everything to do with the political and legal systems in the two countries. In the US, there's a fair court to go to (as there is in the EU and UK). That doesn't exist in China. 


     


    TC handled this very deftly. It was exactly the right thing to do in China. 


     


    But it would be very interesting to know what was behind this attack on Apple in China. What was the *real* issue here? My guess is that there's some arm of the Chinese government whose job is to look out for any entity -- particularly foreign entities -- that are becoming too popular and might one day pose some kind of threat (however distant) to the Chinese government. My guess is that somebody in that bureaucracy identified Apple as a threat.  TC's letter showed the required deference and so this particular set of bureaucrats can now go bother somebody else. 


     


    But TC's letter might have also illustrated that Apple is not the typically naive American company. This is the right way to handle this sort of thing in China. It actually makes Apple stronger, not weaker, because it shows the Chinese government that Apple understands what the bounds are in China and respects them (unlike Google). This could be a very big win for Apple longer term. 



    A interesting view. I'm still sad TC did not tell China to go f*** themselves, pull out all the manufacturing and contracts and sales and just decide to ignore china, but I guess it would require bigger balls than anyone on Earth can possibly have ^^

  • Reply 19 of 47
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    ireland wrote: »
    Perhaps Apple was in the wrong in this case? Antenna gate was Steve's take on an apology. This is Tim's.

    Yes, except Jobs didn't apologize. He came out with a whole bunch of statistics to show how the iPhone 4 was experiencing less dropped calls then previous models, and how other phones had similar phone designs. He had the Jonathan Mann iPhone song on in the background. Apple gave the bumpers away to shut the media up. It worked.
  • Reply 20 of 47


    SJ would never apologize.  Good job TC.

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