Posts Tagged ‘iPhone’

Could the Verizon iPhone Cause This Year’s Biggest “I Told You So” Moment?

January 10th, 2011

Assuming the rumors are true, and Verizon announces tomorrow that it will offer the iPhone on its network, then we’re curious as to one very problematic scenario.

As many people know, iPhone customers love their phones but hate the AT&T network.  Oh, if only Verizon would swoop in and save the day!  If this day turns out to be January 11, 2011, and soon AT&T customers begin flocking to Verizon, it’s safe to wonder whether Verizon’s network will actually be prepared to handle the increased digital traffic on its highway.

And, if there is a traffic jam… oh boy, watch out, ‘cuz AT&T’s gonna have a field day on this one.  Think about it: AT&T has had the iPhone since 2007.  Though it’s been bashed roundly for its spotty network coverage, the company has had nearly four years to iron out the network kinks.  If a decent percentage of AT&T users flee to Verizon, presumably that will relieve some strain on the AT&T network.  That’s got to make dedicated AT&T iPhone users happy about their newfound digital boon.

In turn, Verizon will have to hope and pray that its network doesn’t suffer the same growing pains that AT&T did.  This is largely due to the eeeeeeenormous expectations on Verizon to deliver its perceived stronger network service to customers, including its new iPhone cohort.  And it’s also due to the fact that Verizon has done next to nothing to dampen or explain those expectations in realistic terms.

So Verizon, if things don’t go well, what is your PR plan?  How will you respond to any network sluggishness?  More importantly, what will your marketing plan be when AT&T lampoons you for all the image problems it has already gone through?

This is the stuff that keeps PR pros up at night and should scare the Verizon C-suite straight into hammering out a strong iPhone crisis management public relations plan, if it hasn’t already.

The Tale of the Notorious J-O-B and iPhonegate

April 21st, 2010

The story surrounding the leak of what may possibly be the next iPhone has all the elements of new media intrigue – a company notorious about keeping secrets; sexy, cutting-edge gadgets; payments for story contributions; rumors of conspiracy; possible crippling lawsuits – and that’s just what we know now.

Overall, the question that anchors the debate is whether this is good or bad public relations for Apple.  Some say that “iPhonegate” dials up loads of free positive publicity for the company, while others argue that the leaked 4G phone makes Apple look sloppy on product control.  (While there is speculation about Apple purposely “planting” the phone to be lost and found, that doesn’t seem plausible – this is a company that doesn’t participate in amateur hour PR, and this situation seems no exception.  Besides, the company will never admit that they lost a prototype anyway.)

Here’s a better way to look at the ordeal – maybe Apple is pissed that they lost total control of the public relations narrative.  Gawker effectively unraveled and undermined Apple’s tight grip on the PR pipeline by releasing the prototype photos.  And, as we know about the control-prone company, nothing could possibly irritate Apple more than not scripting the media storyline on their own terms.  We can argue about the ethics of Gawker’s actions all day, but what can’t be denied is that Apple has no effective way to lead the story anymore.

So about that lawsuit… how about the odds on Apple pulling the trigger?  They’re probably pretty good.  Remember that Apple sued into nonexistence after that site published leaked Apple trade secrets.  Add to that the fact that the Gawker platform has been a relentless critic of Steve Jobs for quite some time.  Add again to that the incredibly disrespectful manner in which Gizmodo responded to Apple’s request for the leaked phone to be returned, taunting the company that its gadget “was burning a hole in our pockets.”  Add again to that the potential lost value to Apple, at least via legal calculations, can be made out to billions (as in B).  It’s safe to say that Gawker can’t cover that bet.

iPhone, Shmi-Phone: AT&T Loses Reception on Crisis Management

December 28th, 2009

Oh brother… according to an alleged transcript between a consumer advocate and an AT&T customer representative, AT&T no longer sells iPhones in New York City because the metro area doesn’t “have enough towers to handle the phone.”  Crisis management, where are you?

Laments about AT&T’s ability to handle iPhone traffic are legendary.  But really, are we to believe that a cosmopolitan metropolis is being shunned by a national phone company?

AT&T’s corporate response on the issue is incredibly anemic, refusing to confirm or deny if the sales ban is due to network congestion, fraud purchasing or other defined issue.  That is miserable crisis PR in action.  Despite the likely never-ending lust for the iPhone as a consumer product, AT&T is in dire PR straits if it continues its obstructionist sales policy without offering a coherent explanation, and here’s why.

Consumer demand for technology services often outpaces industry stalwarts and hits particular companies with black market pressures, whether it’s music, movies or other content.  Regardless of any real or imagined network overload, Apple isn’t likely to sell the iPhone exclusively through AT&T in the future.  So, if and when U.S. customers can get the iPhone through another wireless provider, chances are that many buyers will remember that AT&T gave the cold shoulder to the biggest city in America.  Think New Yorkers will want to sign up with AT&T at that time?  If you have to ask…