Paul Larson (TMF Parlay)
I am relishing this opportunity to be able to argue the bearish position against Apple Computer. My wife recently became an Apple customer, and now we have both become raving Apple critics. In our experience, Apple's latest computers are lemons, and the few competitive advantages that I thought Apple had -- product usability and strong customer service -- are nothing but a myth today.
Back in September, my wife ordered a brand-new PowerMac G4 for her home-based business. This thing was optioned to the hilt, with a dual-processor motherboard, a DVD RAM drive, and tons of hard drive space and memory. This computer and the monitor it came with looked just plain sweet with its translucent case and stylish design. To say my wife was excited about her new computer would be an understatement.
But the honeymoon ended there. This computer crashed more than an Indy car with a drunken driver. My wife literally spent half her time during any given workday rebooting her computer. Her computer would freeze more times in a single day than my PC does in a year. Sometimes, it wouldn't boot up at all! Her computer also corrupted several important files that took literally dozens of hours of work to recapture or rebuild. Because her computer was so ridiculously unstable, she was losing files, losing customers, and losing money.
Of course, along the way on this hellish journey, there were literally dozens of calls to customer service and technical support. While a few of the people we spoke with were friendly and tried to be helpful, most of them treated my wife and me like we were clueless toddlers that needed a spanking. This is probably what angered us the most.
I demanded to be able to return the obviously faulty and unusable product. They denied my now-heated request. Only after stopping payment on the credit card and threatening to call a lawyer did they agree to take the lemon back. My wife, a former Mac lover, has sworn off ever buying an Apple again.
Now lest you think that my experience is an isolated one that I've blown out of proportion, my wife has a business associate who purchased almost the exact same machine, and her experience was even worse than ours.
After receiving the new computer and excitedly hooking up the monitor and all the other accessories, she turned on the power switch for the first time. The thing started to literally smoke. Her husband was across the house and came running because he heard the snap, crackle, and pop of an electrical fire.
Again, they called Apple to inquire about a return or an exchange and were, incredibly, denied. Instead, Apple made them take their computer to a local repair shop to await fixing. It ended up just being