THE INDEPENDENT: Crunch time for technology giant as public love affair with brand turns sour
Apple, the £150bn technology giant, is this morning preparing to confront the biggest public relations crisis in its history, amid technical problems afflicting its latest iPhone and a warning that "an emerging pattern of hubris" could wreck the public's love affair with the company.
It emerged yesterday that senior engineers warned early in the development of the new iPhone 4 that its choice of aerial could lead to dropped calls and poor reception. But the company ignored their concerns and when customers first complained about the fault wrongly blamed the problem on a software glitch.
Today the company will hold an emergency press conference in an attempt to reassure customers – and Wall Street – that it has the problem under control.
On Wall Street, where Apple has been the darling of investors for almost a decade since it unleashed the iPod music player on the world, its shares have tumbled, while the company faces a future of increased scrutiny by competition watchdogs and intense competition from newly-emboldened rivals.
Apple has summoned media and industry players to its headquarters in Cupertino, California, in a mood that is a far cry from the launch event with founder Steve Jobs last month. Then, with typical hyperbole, he declared it “the biggest leap forward” since the launch of the original iPhone in 2007, and 1.7 million people snapped up the new device in just the first two days, making it the company’s most successful product launch ever.
But users immediately started complaining of dropped calls and independent consumer tests laid the blame at the door of the phone’s aerial, which is built into the case of the phone. Continue reading and comment >>> Stephen Foley in New York | Friday, July 16, 2010