Should I take the money?

MrburnsWhat’s an ethical businessperson to do?

Following the announcement that the 8 Gig iPhone price would drop by $200, Apple announced in an open letter that they would give a $100 rebate per phone to early adopters. They bowed to pressure by a bunch of whiners (read the comments) who seem to think that, as loyal fans, we should have some kind of magic insulation from the economic realities rapidly-changing technology. I can certain understand someone buying an iPhone very recently and being miffed about the drop, but such is life. Would any of you very early buyers have passed on an iPhone if you knew for sure that if you waited 2 1/2 months, you could get it for $200 less? I doubt it.

The exact same DLP projector I bought a few years ago for $10K now retails for $2,500. I’m not expecting a refund. I bought bleeding edge technology. I paid a premium *knowing* if I were a little patient I’d save a bunch of money.

Why did Apple cave? I own Apple stock. I think this was a stupid, unnecessary move on their part. This online reaction is not comparable to a campaign by a bunch of rabid fans so save a quality TV show from the death grip of network execs. This was a bunch of rabid fans who mistook their voluntary participation in a media frenzy for some kind of entitlement to immunity from reality. And Apple bit. It’s not a good precedent to set.

That said, I bought 2 iPhones on June 29. Do I have an ethical obligation not to take the rebate? It’s not like forgoing the cash would have one iota of effect on the program, the stock, or anything else. I  think it’s stupid, not wrong. Still, there’s all that ranting I do about hypocrites and personal accountability… Randy Cohen, are you listening?

2 Responses to Should I take the money?

  1. Dan G September 7, 2007 at 2:35 pm #

    Well obviously I would have bought the iPhone day one anyway however I think the iPhone price drop situation is sort of unique.

    Given the time frame (2+ months) a $200 (33%) price drop is huge – even in the tech world. I don’t hear too many owners of PS3s complaining about the $100 price drop ($599 -> $499) almost a year after it was released. The PS3 price drop is more in the range of what we have been conditioned to expect.

    As far as the ethical issue I’m not sure. If you disagree with Bush on his tax policy do you voluntarily pay more to the government because you think the policy is wrong – or do you pay less taxes? It might be an interesting political statement to pay more but your “moral obligation” to do so would be gray at best. That’s the same way I would look at the iPhone credit issue. If it is still bugging you take the $200 credit (for the two phones) and buy a nice printer or something. Donate it to a school, shelter, or somewhere else appropriate.

    ..of course you could also pick out something nice at the Apple store and ship it to your little brother. That would be nice.


  2. qotu October 4, 2007 at 11:32 am #

    I’m inclined to trust Apple on this. They are giving a credit in Apple stores to buy more Apple stuff. What are the odds that many of us will spend slightly more than our $100? Bringing the obviously DEVOTED segment of early adopters into Apple stores and the online store is worth a lot, right there.

    And then there’s all the press it bought them – I suspect pretty cheaply.

    And er, right before Christmas buying season, being in the news as a company that will protect their pricing decisions? Pretty valuable goodwill with both current and future buyers.

    One of their prime assets is the loyalty of their customers – it’s worth protecting.

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