Beloved Apple, the company to thank for such technologic advances as the iPhone and iMac, recently lost several cool points for its involvement in the raising of e-book prices. The conspiracy ruling handed Apple the rope to hang itself after years of purveying a “customers first” image.
Apple has long been a major facet of the technology industry – from its inception, the tech giant has carefully fostered a public image of putting its customers first. That image came to a screeching halt following the company’s conspiracy conviction after it plotted to raise e-book prices prior to the launch of its own digital bookstore.
Apple clearly valued its bottom line, as well as the success of its planned digital bookstore, when calculating with five of the nation’s top book publishers to raise e-book prices and secure a cut of the sales. Apple’s cries of attempting to break into a competitive market left U.S. District Judge Denise Cote unmoved as she delivered the stinging verdict and scolded Apple for violating antitrust law:
“Apple played a central role in facilitating and executing that conspiracy,” Cote said in her ruling. “Without Apple’s orchestration of this conspiracy, it would not have succeeded as it did” (1).
Unfortunately for Apple, it’s troubles are far from over – the company could be compelled to pay any damages and will also face a second trial to determine what Apple may owe to consumers who paid higher prices for e-books. This situation is a perfect example of what happens when a company makes a bad PR and/or business move – it creates a domino effect. One situation leads to another and then another, often making the climb back to the top a steep and arduous venture.
JoTo Verdict: Epic PR fail. The company became greedy – enough was enough, until it wasn’t anymore. But for a company like Apple, consumers are the lifeline and should be considered major business decisions. Without consumer support, products won’t sell – and that’s the bottom line.