Steve Jobs' Biggest Mistake: Not Selling Activated iPhones

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
I believe that one critical mistake was made with the iPhone that has catastrophically affected Apple and it's iPhone user community. Steve Jobs' feet need to be held to the fire on this one:



Apple should have NEVER sold unactivated iPhones. By removing the industry-wide standard of the phone leaving the store activated to the carrier -- especially when they're depending on revenues from monthly service fees -- it essentially said to the world, "Hey, come hack this phone and screw us over financially!" Bad move. I know they wouldn't have sold quite so many phones at the beginning, but it would have locked so many more iPhone purchasers into the AT&T contract, kick-starting an automatic stream of money each month to both companies.



By selling unactivated iPhones, Steve Jobs traded good long-term PR for a simpler setup experience, all the while risking the product's financial success. Now what we have are people (rightly) complaining that a product that they "own" is being maliciously bricked. If all those phones had been activated in the first place, what would AT&T or Apple care if they're hacked, so long as the $$$ is flowing in their direction each month?



This is unprecedented. If I buy a product from a manufacturer and NEVER use it for its original and intended purpose, the sale is still complete. The completion of the sale is NOT a contract that I'm going to then use it for what the manufacturer wants me to. At no point does the manufacturer have the right to come back and destroy my product because I never used it the way they wanted me to. Sure, they don't have to support it if I break it, or even provide updates that won't potentially mess things up, but INTENTIONALLY breaking it after saying they weren't trying to intentionally break it is pathetic. I know it hasn't been proven that Apple intentionally bricked all these phones, but I can't see how the other updates that they did apply necessitated the update that bricks an unlocked iPhone.



Apple has a really dark cloud hanging over it where I'm concerned... and I don't even own an iPhone.



The way to fix it: Start selling those things activated. Don't let people walk out of the store until those terms of service and service contract are understood, signed, and sealed. Then whine if these subscribers violate the terms of service and brick their unlocked phones if the TOS allows for it.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 55
    taskisstaskiss Posts: 1,212member
    Don't you know how to look up stock prices? The high today was $157.41 - as far as I can tell, the highest it's ever been.



    http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=AAPL



    I'm not sure how you can characterize performance that leads to those kind of results as a "mistake".
  • Reply 2 of 55
    sammicksammick Posts: 416member
    Yes today's price is a new high---



    The price is anticipating super-duper earnings and if the earnings disappoint, watch out below.
  • Reply 3 of 55
    taskisstaskiss Posts: 1,212member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sammick View Post


    Yes today's price is a new high---



    The price is anticipating super-duper earnings and if the earnings disappoint, watch out below.



    Ah, so then you agree that the money is on Jobs being successful with the Mac, the iPhone and the iPod.



    Nope - I don't see too many business analysts feeling that a mistake has been made. I DO see several who don't even own an iPhone talking smack.



    I've never enjoyed a phone as much as I do my iPhone.
  • Reply 4 of 55
    cosmonutcosmonut Posts: 4,872member
    Well, whether the short term issues work themselves out in the long term or not, Apple's got some work to do to right this ship from a public relations standpoint.



    It's just unreasonable to expect that every customer is going to buy an unactivated phone and run home to get set up on AT&T. It's just plain shady to intentionally brick the phones of those who do when no terms of service are in place to allow you to do so.
  • Reply 5 of 55
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 29,509member
    OK... all together now... Buy on the rumor, sell on the news... buy on the rumors, sell on the news... one more time! Buy on the rumors, sell on the news!
  • Reply 6 of 55
    cosmonutcosmonut Posts: 4,872member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Taskiss View Post


    Don't you know how to look up stock prices?



    *snip*



    I'm not sure how you can characterize performance that leads to those kind of results as a "mistake".



    Those results may be good for stockholders, but a company is more than just how high its stock price is. If Apple keeps pissing off its customers then people will stop buying.
  • Reply 7 of 55
    taskisstaskiss Posts: 1,212member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CosmoNut View Post


    Well, whether the short term issues work themselves out in the long term or not, Apple's got some work to do to right this ship from a public relations standpoint.



    It's just unreasonable to expect that every customer is going to buy an unactivated phone and run home to get set up on AT&T. It's just plain shady to intentionally brick the phones of those who do.



    Don't get me wrong - I'd love it if the phone was unlocked, if you could put it on any network you wanted, if it was unlocked and there was an SDK, etc.



    I just don't confuse what I want with what the CEO of a company is responsible for - he must maximize the profits of the shareholders investment in the company. There's a lot of ways to do that, but in the end, that's the goal.



    You and I buy Macs, we buy phones, but the shareholders invest in the company. They give Apple money and expect Apple to turn a profit. Jobs has done that. His biggest mistake... well, it's probably something like not being with his family enough or something like that, but it's sure not the direction he's charted for Apple.
  • Reply 8 of 55
    irelandireland Posts: 17,294member
    So let me get this straight; 'fuck the customer'?
  • Reply 9 of 55
    taskisstaskiss Posts: 1,212member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    So let me get this straight; 'fuck the customer'?



    Well, if you want, but as CEO I'd think you'd want to please them to maximize the investment for the shareholders.



    Apple has a very liberal return policy for the iPhone. You can return your iPhone to the original point of purchase within 14 days for a full refund, but there is a 10% restocking fee if the box has been opened. People that still have one that don't like it haven't been screwed, they're just stupid.
  • Reply 10 of 55
    mrmistermrmister Posts: 1,095member
    Bullshit libertarian crap like the stuff Taskiss is selling in this thread sucks--there's a lot more to any company than the stock price, and it is tiresome in the extreme to have people explaining that any criticism can be explained away by pointing dumbly at the share price and shrugging.
  • Reply 11 of 55
    taskisstaskiss Posts: 1,212member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mrmister View Post


    Bullshit libertarian crap like the stuff Taskiss is selling in this thread sucks--there's a lot more to any company than the stock price, and it is tiresome in the extreme to have people explaining that any criticism can be explained away by pointing dumbly at the share price and shrugging.



    And you have what? Attitude? Brute force and ignorance?



    I'm a businessman, not a libertarian. You're a .. what?



    What do you have other than a bad attitude?
  • Reply 12 of 55
    irelandireland Posts: 17,294member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Taskiss View Post


    Well, if you want, but as CEO I'd think you'd want to please them to maximize the investment for the shareholders.



    Apple has a very liberal return policy for the iPhone. You can return your iPhone to the original point of purchase within 14 days for a full refund, but there is a 10% restocking fee if the box has been opened. People that still have one that don't like it haven't been screwed, they're just stupid.



    This is Apple fanboy syndrome. Take the wax out of your ears Sunny Jim.
  • Reply 13 of 55
    physguyphysguy Posts: 912member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ireland View Post


    This is Apple fanboy syndrome. Take the wax out of your ears Sunny Jim.



    Actually he's one of the few talking sense. Pleasing the customer and maximizing profits are two sides of the same coin, as long as you're objective enough to look at customer as the 'majority of those buying' and not your own needs. The iPhone is only one product right now so it can't serve a hugely diverse customer base right now.



    I have seen absolutely nothing factual that deals with how many 'customers' actually care about this issue or change their minds about the iPhone because of it. Apple is a GREAT hit generator these days for bloggers, etc. so any issue is going to be hit over and over in the new media. Apple does have to get a hold of the news cycle and damp out the wild oscillations but beyond that this is all caterwauling.



    I want the phone to be opened up as much as the next guy. I've downgraded to 1.0.2 because of the lack of value in 1.1.1 FOR ME vs the 3rd party stuff, for the moment. That being said I just about bricked (not fully) my phone today with that third party stuff - the new App 'Services' which is supposed to allow you to turn off edge like 1.1.1. On my phone it didn't work. So there are very much tradeoffs. I managed to restore things to working order.



    That said, what I've been trying to get all the winers to do is take a deep breath and organize their thoughts into a coherrent paragraph or two and put them here where, if there truly are a large number who want/need this and Apple actually hears from them (YOU) Apple might then truly realize where to maximize their profits. I've done my part and submitted my thoughts.



    Cheers
  • Reply 14 of 55
    imacfpimacfp Posts: 750member
    physguy is totally right. Bitching about this situation won't help unless you and everybody else bitches to Apple. Apple responded pretty quickly to the price cut flap and they might to this too, but customers need to contact Apple not bloggers/reporters who just want site traffic.
  • Reply 15 of 55
    taskisstaskiss Posts: 1,212member
    The only indication to a company (at least for this aspect of the situation) that it's off track is the response from the consumer. The iPhone is an unqualified success which tells Apple that they're doing it right.



    "Fan boys" are the ones who feel let down by Apple 'cause Steve isn't doing what they want. Fr whatever reason, they feel Apple owes them something. I have no idea why that is, unless they feel Apple should feel grateful for their support on some forum on the internet. Apple is a business. Buy Apple products, get their gratitude. Of course, they feel the gratitude is in the form of the insanely great products they provide, so when you buy, you and they are even.



    At the moment, customers are buying Apple products in record numbers. Shareholders are happy, I'm sure the board of directors are happy, so Steve is happy. I don't see how whining about what the phone isn't amounts to a hill of beans.



    If you'd really like to influence Jobs, start up a web site where people can voice their complaints and post their iPhone serial numbers. People that aren't buying aren't customers...they're potential customers, sure, but real customers are speaking louder at the moment, and they're speaking with their wallets. Whiners are ... well, just whiners.
  • Reply 16 of 55
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    Just what percentage of iPhones are you thinking have been unlocked. I'd guess less than 1%. On top of that Apple still sold those 1% an iPhone. If they'd forced activation, perhaps they would have lost that 1% of sales, perhaps not.



    His "biggest mistake"?

    Hyperbole much?
  • Reply 17 of 55
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by physguy View Post


    That said, what I've been trying to get all the winers to do is take a deep breath and organize their thoughts into a coherrent paragraph or two and put them here where, if there truly are a large number who want/need this and Apple actually hears from them (YOU) Apple might then truly realize where to maximize their profits. I've done my part and submitted my thoughts.

    Cheers



    I have also done mine.... But what Apple needs to do more in my opinon is to post a list of what they plan to address based on the feedback provided to them through the link you provided, and also the time frame they are shooting for.



    This would show the iPhone customers the feedback means something and also stop some of the winers on this board.
  • Reply 18 of 55
    onlookeronlooker Posts: 5,252member
    Fastest selling cell phone ever. Yeah, like it's actually effecting anything.
  • Reply 19 of 55
    cosmonutcosmonut Posts: 4,872member
    Even though it's already sold over a million units and Apple's stock prices are pretty high, I really think this is taking a hit on Apple for the long term.



    One thing I do wonder is this: What are the "terms of service" in the box of an unactivated iPhone? Does it say, "thou shalt not hacktivate this on another cell carrier or we'll brick your phone!"?



    Americans are allowed to unlock their locked phones. Apple has damaged these people's property and gone against that nationwide permissible action. Not good, people.
  • Reply 20 of 55
    taskisstaskiss Posts: 1,212member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by CosmoNut View Post


    Even though it's already sold over a million units and Apple's stock prices are pretty high, I really think this is taking a hit on Apple for the long term.



    Let me get this straight... what you're saying is:



    "In spite of evidence that the iPhone is a success and the company is profiting from it's decisions by having stock prices at levels never before reached, I think it is a mistake".



    Kinda makes it hard to defend a position when the evidence doesn't support it, doesn't it?
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