an Open Letter to Steve Jobs

Discussion in 'Wasteland' started by Jeff Williams, Mar 4, 2003.

  1. Jeff Williams macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2003
    Mr. Jobs,

    I am a long-time Apple customer, writing you regarding my purchase of (and ensuing problems with) an Apple Titanium PowerBook.

    I originally purchased this computer on August 30, 2001. My home office had been burglarized, and my PowerBook G3 (Pismo) had been stolen.

    The PowerBook G4 I purchased was defective out of the box with a malfunctioning power manager module.

    Apple REPLACED that PowerBook on October 6 of 2001 with a new unit.

    Between October 2001 and August 2002, my PowerBook received warranty repair three times. The CD-ROM drive failed, the hard drive failed, and several other components proved to be defective.

    Apple REPLACED that PowerBook on August 28 of 2002 with a new unit.

    The PowerBook G4 replacement was defective out of the box with some kind of ground fault issue, the speakers buzzed and provided distorted playback audio.

    Apple REPLACED that PowerBook on October 7 of 2002 with a new unit.

    Approximately four weeks ago, this Titanium PowerBook also began experiencing technical problems. The combo drive failed, and then apparently so did the logic board. It was returned to Apple for warranty repair, where those items, and OEM memory were replaced. I was assured that before being returned to me, that this computer would be THOROUGHLY tested, to avoid any future problems, and hopefully end this chain or apparent bad luck.

    Unfortunately, that did not happen.

    When I received the computer from warranty repair, the Target Disk Mode (TDM) did not function properly. This problem was remedied by a clean install of system software, but the bottom line is that the computer was not appropriately tested, if it had been, this problem would have been discovered easily.

    Secondly (and most important) it appears that during installation the antenna lead for my AirPort card was pinched between the two halves of the case. This problem also exhibited itself immediately – as intermittent AirPort reception. I also believe that had the unit been properly tested, this issue would have been discovered prior to shipping.

    In order to avoid any potential voiding of my warranty, I brought my PowerBook to the computer service center at the University of Idaho Bookstore in Moscow, ID, where it was inspected by Apple-certified technicians.

    Also, during this visit the tech inadvertently scratched the computer case. A minor annoyance at best, unless compounded with the frustrations of the past 18 months.

    I have been working on this ongoing issue with Robin Roberts of Apple Executive Relations since late August of last year. The last time major components of this computer failed and required warranty service, I requested that instead of a warranty repair, I would prefer that Apple either refund my purchase price or allow me to use that amount of credit towards the purchase of a new computer. Frankly, regardless of the overall consumer satisfaction rate of the line, I have lost complete confidence in this product and regardless of outcome, I no longer am interested in owning an Apple Titanium PowerBook.

    I am not asking for the replacement of my additional battery, custom case, or any of the additional peripherals that would not work with a new model PowerBook. Nor am I motivated by the desire for a computer upgrade. You will note that the August 28 replacement increased the speed of my machine and included a combo drive, I never requested this upgrade, although I certainly appreciated it. However, in the long run, what I am most interested in is a computer that works reliably, and does not have to be repeatedly returned to Apple for warranty service.

    Of course, this request was subsequently denied.

    I am therefore, asking again.

    I do not believe this is an unreasonable request. Case in point, I have been told by no fewer than a dozen Apple employees and certified technicians - that for any one person to have the amount of difficulties I have had with what is otherwise an extremely reliable product is unheard of.

    However, regardless of the norm, this is the situation I have been dealt. Because of the current economy and my employment situation, I do not have the financial ability to simply replace this computer. Even if I did, I still feel that Apple should bear the brunt of responsibility in this matter, as I spent over three thousand dollars for a computer that has never functioned reliably for as little as 11 consecutive months.

    I would really appreciate it if your company would do the right thing, and help me resolve this situation once and for all.

    Jeff Williams

    Hardcore mac addict, enthusiast and evangelist since 1984, Apple IIe user before that.
  2. iGav macrumors G3

    Mar 9, 2002
    I kind of know how you feel, it took apple 3 attempts to provide me with a quality PowerBook 1GHz that didn't have any kind of glaring fault over December to Jan this year!!

    The first one had an iffy graphics card, the second one they sent out had a 1 and half inch scratch on the lid, the lid didn't always catch properly and it suffered from really bad screen interference after an hours worth of use when touching the machine. The 3rd one they sent me, touch wood seems fine!!!

    I do wonder sometimes about Apples QA process for the TiBooks though!!

    My previous Apple TiBook (Rev A 500) required a replacement HD after 3 months and then a new screen in the November 2001, I didn't see the laptop again until the next year (January) as a freelancer I lost alot of work because of Apple, and the totally sh*t service they provided during that repair, (incompetence, lies etc etc) in the end UK Trading Standards had to become involved to get my PowerBook returned....

    Sometimes Apple do seem to shoot themselves in the foot, especially to more loyal buyers such as ourselves.....

    I can only imagine that had either yours or my experience had happened to a switcher, Apple would have lost a customer..... and in your case it sounds like you'll consider switching if Apple doesn't help solve your problem, and who'd blame you!!

    I hope you manage to get the service you deserve but more importantly a product that represents the substantial amount of cash you paid to Apple!!

    Good luck buddy!!

  3. Independence macrumors regular

    Jan 14, 2003
    United States
  4. evoluzione macrumors 68020


    Jul 19, 2002
    down the road, that's where i'll always be
    wow, i feel for you guys. at first i though you must've been doing something wrong, not knowing how to treat a computer, but then i see that obviously isn't the case. i used to work on a bunch of macs and they all ran completely glitch free for me, and then when my assistant used them, she always managed to break them somehow, incredible.

    i had a wallstreet 300 when they came out and only sold it this time last year, to pay for rent unfortunately, otherwise i would have had no intention of getting rid of it. it was flawless. the only problem i can think of was the dvd hardware decoder card got jammed once, the pcmcia cage got bent so wouldn't always eject. TekServe here in NYC took a pair of thin nosed pliers to it and yanked it out, then proceeded to try plugging it in again upside down! other than that, i replaced the HD twice, eventually with a 28GB when Apple had just started using 12's and said that it couldn't be done. took that thing completely apart and powersanded the top of the case so it had a brushed metal centre stripe to it. looked awesome. not one problem. It's a shame that I don't have the same confidence about the TiBooks, or now the AiBooks, they just don't seem as rock steady as my wallstreet was. anyone beg to differ??
  5. iJon macrumors 604


    Feb 7, 2002
    you really want to get your word around dont you jeff. first spymac now here.

  6. swahilibill macrumors 6502

    Feb 24, 2002
    Highlands Ranch
    I dont exactly know how you feel, but I had a similar problem with apple with my ibook i had before i got my imac. THe p.o.s. never worked and the problem with some of these large companies is that they automatically assume that you did something terrible to it and that the computer was perfect and something never could be faulty, etc...I finally bitched them out and i got my ibook replaced, but it is frusterating. Maybe you should just get another type of mac, one of the new 17 or 12 powerbooks? I dont know, but hang in there, its worth it!!!
  7. Jeff Williams thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2003
    Yes I do. In as many places as I can find.
  8. macmax macrumors regular

    Sep 5, 2002
    i have never had an apple that doesn't work well, but i feel for you and i hope your problem gets solved
  9. Jeff Williams thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2003
    You know, last night I counted up the actual numbers of Apple computers I have owned since 1987, and the number was over a dozen. Before that I had an Apple IIe.

    The only problems I have had - have occured in the past 18 months.

    Before the PowerBook, my Dual Processor G4 tower died. Apple replaced the Logic Board and both processors, now it is back in business. That machine cost nearly $6000, and did not live a full year.

    I bought a first generation iPod - it was taken by the click of death. Apple replaced it, and I have had no problems thus far.

    And of course, this was happening the entire time.

    Makes you wonder just what the heck is going on with their quality control lately. One thing is certain, based on the number of times I have posted this message on different boards and the responses I have received, I am NOT alone in this, there are a lot of disgruntled Apple customers, and people need to know this is how Apple is currently treating their customers - especially their loyal and long-time ones.

    It's not so bad to get a defective piece (or pieces) of gear, it's the customer service (or lack thereof) that counts.
  10. Chad4Mac macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2002
    Los Angeles

    Does your computer work properly now? The Apple Techs fixed the TDM and the Airport antenna, right?

    It sucks that you had to go through this terrible situation. Have you ever dealt with Gateway? or Dell? HP? I'm not saying your experience would have been worse (I don't think it possible could) but you might have found that Apple service is equal to or better than these companies. This is what I have found in my experiences.

    Anyway, you could always sell your Powerbook, count your losses and save, and buy a new updated Al Powebook.

  11. cr2sh macrumors 68030


    May 28, 2002
    I don't believe this story. Not that I'm calling him a liar, but there's something else that's ruining his powerbooks. That type of record, no way... I don't buy it. I'd invest in a voltage regulator.

    Just my .02, but something's screwing him and I doubt its Apple.
  12. Jeff Williams thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2003
    Sending off the computer today. The antenna lead was completely severed, so they are going to have to replace that wiring. I fixed TDM myself, that was a software issue this time around.

    cr2sh - sorry you don't believe me. All of my computers are on dedicated circuits and expensive surge protectors in my multimedia studio. I have had an independent computer consultant come in and check things out, and had an electrician in as well... this is not a problem I am causing.
  13. ewinemiller macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2001
    west of Philly
    In a little defense of Dell, I've found them to be quite responsive and friendly for service calls. My last Dell laptop had a few problems. In every case they overnighted a part if it was something I could replace (power cord and CD drive), or had a guy there the next day if it was something I couldn't (a latch). The cord and latch were definitely issues with me being rougher than I should with a laptop and they didn't care, they just replaced it. In the case of the cord, the new part got there before I even ran out of battery. I've seen dell replace a power supply that a buddy lost for no charge. I think the Dell service has been amazing, on the PC side I won't buy anything else now.
  14. alex_ant macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2002
    All up in your bidness

    "Dear Apple. This is the most defective computer I've ever owned. By all accounts it is a complete piece of junk and these problems are inherent in the design of the machine. After the first time it failed, I was disappointed. After the second time it failed, I was angry. After the third time it failed, I was mad! After the fourth time it failed, I was really, really pissed! Now it has failed a fifth time, and please Apple, you'd better fix this thing before I get really, really, REALLY steaming mad! You don't want to lose my business, Apple, because I'll leave you, I swear, I'll leave you, I swear! Don't try me, because I'll do it!"

    You should have posted this open letter the first time Apple sent you a defective machine to replace your defective machine. You should be suing Apple and asking for your money back under a lemon law, not begging for a working machine. How do you expect such a ***** (synonym for cat) letter to be taken seriously? The only reason Apple (or any company) even has warranties is to ensure customer satisfaction (which they hope will lead to repeat business). If you show Apple that you are a Mac loyalist who will never abandon the platform, well, it doesn't matter what steaming pile of **** computer they send you because you'll be their customer no matter what, so what should they care?

    Mac loyalists are the #1 reason sponsor of unreliable Macs (weak Ti paint, defective eMac CRTs, cracked Cube plastic, random defects such as yours). They encourage Apple to be complacent. Dude, you're getting a Dell.
  15. alex_ant macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2002
    All up in your bidness
    By the way, what's changed in the past 18 months (actually the past few years) is that Apple no longer manufactures its own computers. Quanta, Flextronics, etc. do. These are the same companies that manufacture e.g. Compaqs.
  16. Chad4Mac macrumors 6502

    Apr 20, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Yea, I'll back you up on that one. Dell service is better than the rest.

    We have a account with them; deal with Dell all the time. Good service, nice people, decent product.

  17. Jeff Williams thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2003
    Believe it or not, I agree with this statement - except I don't think I am being complacent. Maybe the first few times, but it seemed as if Apple was making an effort. Now it seems as if they are going through the motions.

    I have been posting this letter everywhere I can... on SpyMac this morning some snot nose kid said this (and this is a DIRECT quote): "I should just warn you that if your complaint is aimed at Apple, the company and their products then your complaint is empty and unjust simply because apple is in fact a noble company "

    Noble? Did I read that right? Noble?

    I tell you, the next time some Mac evangelist (like myself) calls wintel users something like "mindless automatons" I am gonna tell them to shut the hell up.

    I can just see some guy at their repair center asking himself which would be cheaper... replacing the computer or doing yet another stupid thing that would cause my head to explode.

    I guess I better lay down some plastic.

    As for suing Apple, there is no computer lemon law, and if I wanted to take Apple to small claims court, I would have to go to Cupertino and file there. I can't file in my own county. If I could, I would file paperwork today.
  18. SBG88 macrumors regular

    Feb 19, 2003
    So when I see a lonely black cloud in the sky I will be certain it must be following you.

    If you get some that find it hard to believe your story, its because it is. It sounds like everything Apple you own is no good. What about other products, cars, phones, audio, video...or is it just Apple products?
  19. Jeff Williams thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2003
    And it sounds like you must be a shill for Apple computer, right?

    Currently I own and operate half a dozen macs, and one iPod. I am only having problems (currently) with one Powerbook.

    But if I see a lonely dark cloud anytime soon, I'll be sure to tell you. Any explanation would be better than none.
  20. SBG88 macrumors regular

    Feb 19, 2003
    A shill, hardly. I just started using Macs. I'm not saying I doubt you, I was trying to convey you have to be the "unluckiest" person on the face of the earth with regards to Apple.
  21. Jeff Williams thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2003
    I would agree with that statement, at least it sure feels that way sometimes.
  22. Timothy macrumors 6502

    Jan 2, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    Not my experience...

    I've had great experience with every Mac I've ever owned, including my TiBook...

    What confuses me about your story, however, is that it appears that Apple HAS been responsive to your issues, replacing your computer not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES according to your story.

    Now, you are asking for a fourth replacement, for a problem that will be solved by changing out some simple airport attenna wiring? That request seems a bit excessive.

    If your experience were the rule, and not the exception, I think we'd have something to discuss here. But, for the most part, most people I know are satisfied with their Tibooks. I know I am.

    While your previous THREE swaps may have been legitimate, you clearly came out ahead with faster and more powerful computers. Are you sure you aren't just asking for another free upgrade? Because from my perspective, that's what it looks like.
  23. Dont Hurt Me macrumors 603

    Dont Hurt Me

    Dec 21, 2002
    Yahooville S.C.
    Wow this is really amazing, I wonder if there is more to this then meets the eye? Any chance this thing was exposed to radioactive or strong magnetic fields? you live under or near a transformer?Powerlines next to your home?Very strange. I have had 4 macs with only 1 problem. my wifes imac 500 and they replaced the hard drive in a day and that was that. didnt cost me anything. Sorry to hear you have had so many headaches. Good luck
  24. Jeff Williams thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2003
    Re: Not my experience...

    With few exceptions, I felt the same way. Even the other problems I had were dealt with quickly and permenantly.

    Actually, no. I asked for the replacement following the spontaneous failure of the logic board, OEM memory and combo drive.

    Every time this goes bad, I have to spend a week getting the unit back up and running with all the software installed and configured. Frankly, in my work environment, that is quite a hindernace, not to mention a big time and money waster.

    If my experience were the rule, Apple would not be in business. I think it's pretty clear this is an exception from the norm.

    Actually, I was only upgraded once - and it was not at my request. that resulted in a decent speed bump and a built in CD burner that I rarely use. Of course, this begs the question... if that unit had not been defective, I would not be in this situation, and I would not have written this letter.
  25. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus


    Oct 5, 2001
    San Diego, CA
    Sorry to hear about your problems, Jeff.

    I've used 4 TiBooks in the last 18 months, one from each revision, and only one had any sort of problem (line of stuck pixlels on display, immediately returned for a replacement). All have been in service and running great the whole time.

    You understand that the severity and persistence of your problems sound quite incredulous to those of us how haven't had these sort of issues. Good luck getting things sorted out.

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