No. of Recommendations: 25
Mr. Jobs,

I am writing to you today because I don't know whom else at Apple to contact; I know how precious your time is, and I apologize for taking it, but I also suspect that what I have to say is exactly the sort of thing you would want to hear. Let me start, then, by telling you that I have nothing but the utmost respect for you and what you have done (and continue to do) for Apple.

To say that I am one of the Apple faithful would be, in my estimation, an understatement. Apple has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and I am a frequent early adopter (and advocate) of the products Apple brings to market. We always had Apple computers in our home and in our schools. My parents and brother all still use Macs. My in-laws use Macs. I helped to pay for my own graduate school by selling and repairing Macs for an Apple VAR. While in graduate school, I helped the university design and install a cutting-edge digital multimedia lab for the new Digital Fine Arts department--all fitted out solely with state of the art Apple equipment. Now, as a systems engineer in an almost exclusively Microsoft shop, I still keep a Mac on my desk, and I have led to the purchase (by other techies at my company) of several Apple systems.

But something has happened with Apple over the past few months--and especially over the past week--that has disappointed me greatly. The short version is that of the last four Apple products I have purchased, three have been defective. In the last case, the product was DOA, and I received some really terrible customer service trying to get it exchanged with the Apple store. This has NEVER been my experience with Apple in the past; I know you strive for excellence and expect nothing less from the company you love.

Let me elaborate on my experiences. First, I bought the 15" flat-panel iMac as soon as it came out. It had a nonfunctional FireWire port, so the motherboard had to be replaced. While an inconvenience (it was at the Apple store for two weeks), it was handled professionally and courteously. Second, I bought an Airport Extreme base station. It has been dropping its internet connection several times a day (even though the connection between my iMac and the base station does not drop). This is well documented on Apple's own discussion boards---literally hundreds of posts have been made by others citing the exact same issue---but there is no word from Apple about the problem, or any potential fix. Finally, last week I purchased a refurbished third-generation 15 gig iPod; I gave my original 5 gig iPod to my wife, who was thrilled (and she doesn't have anywhere near 5 gigs of music). However, the iPod was DOA.

After going through the troubleshooting steps on the Apple support site, I called support. I explained to the "iPod specialist" what steps I had taken and the results, and he put me on hold to "research the issue." After awhile, he came back and told me that since I had purchased this from the online Apple Store, I needed to call the Store. He gave me the Store's phone number. Of course, this turned out to be incorrect; I called the Store, and the voice prompts led me back to technical support. The next person I talked to gave me a different number to call. However, after digging around on the web site, I found that the phone number for Apple Store exchanges was something entirely different. I called *that* number and got the right person to talk to. Unfortunately, they needed a case number from technical support, which I had never been given. Eventually (after speaking to four different people, and spending over an hour on the phone), everything was worked out, and I FedExed the iPod back to Apple. Now, due to supply issues, apparently the replacement won't be shipping for awhile.

I don't need to say anymore about this, I don't think. It just made me a little sad, amidst all the excitement, buzz and innovation that Apple has built up over the past few years. And somehow, I thought you might want to know.

Thanks for listening, Mr. Jobs (or whomever this gets passed on to).
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