The art of business vs. the business of art
Yesterday I heard from an Apple enterprise customer who had recently bought 80 Macbooks. Ten of them, so far, have had to bo back for heat, shut-down or freezing problems. This customer wondered if they were taking a risk buying another 300 of the things. I told them they clearly were, and suggested holding off on the purchase since, far as I know, Apple has not acknowledged the problem or dealt with it in a serious way.
Gotta say I'm amazed at Apple's persistent silence on this issue. The company has worked very hard, ever since Steve Jobs' return, to build a reputation for good technical support. (While Consumer Reports forbids quoting any of their editorial, I encourage people to look at what the magazine says about Apple vs. everybody else and to draw their own conclusions.)
So why is Apple sitting on a problem that will surely launch the company's ass when it finally blows up in the mainstream media? (Which it surely will.)
Could be they haven't figured out the problem. The fact that they're still apparently shipping lemons suggests that might be the case. (Though it's hard to believe they don't have teams of engineers banging on this.)*
Could be be their legal team (or Steve) is saying its better to stay quiet and address the issue on a case-by-case basis. Clearly that's how they're addessing it; but just as clearly it's stripping their gears.
Or it could be that, deep down, Apple doesn't care much about its customers. (Logic: We make art. You appreciate and buy our art. But you don't tell us how to make our art.) In fact, I've long believed that's been part of the company's personality.
But still, what's going on right now is real bad for business. How many MacBooks aren't selling now because one in eight existing customers hates what's been happening to them?
There's only one reasonable solution, once Apple licks the technical problem: a full-scale trade-in of lemons for working machines. Anything less will fail to restore a full measure of good will.
Meanwhile, for customers who aren't locked into the Apple equipment replacement mill, I highly advise looking at the growing number of alternatives in the Linux laptop space. Your-choice-of-OS on your-choice-of-hardware is the winning free market answer in the long run. If you're in a position to make that long run shorter, give it a try. Give your IT folks a budget for testing any number of Linux distros on a variety of hardware combinations. See what works. Whatever it is, I guarantee it'll be cheap than what Apple will sell you. And you have a better chance of getting help from anywhere and everywhere than from a single source that could (and sometimes will) let you down.
* Note: a comment below says they've addressed the issue here.