Like many of you, I’ve been losing sleep this last week trying to figure out what’s going to happen to my business after the debacle of the Final Cut Pro X launch.
I read in a blog last night that Steve Jobs has gotten involved in this mess and that “really great things will be happening really soon.”
So my first question is: “Why does Steve Jobs need to get directly involved in what is essentially a straight-forward upgrade to one of their well-established products?”
And this led me to a bigger thought: “Who’s Accountable?”
As I woke up this morning, I had a day-dream of Phil Schiller, VP of Worldwide Marketing, appearing on my podcast, the Digital Production Buzz, to answer questions from listeners.
(In reality, this will never happen. Apple stopped giving on-the-record interviews, with the exception of Mr. Jobs, many years ago.)
So, imagining that Mr. Schiller were on the program, here are the questions I would ask:
1. What was the benefit to Apple of immediately canceling Final Cut Studio (3) with the release of a brand-new and untested product; when there was no technical reason (according to Apple) to do so?
2. Why did Apple feel it was necessary to alienate one of their most passionate fan bases with this release; were professional users that expendable?
3. What responsibility does Apple have when canceling a product to companies that built businesses around those products in terms of notification and support?
4. Conversely, what does Apple require of its vendors, when a supplier to Apple decides to modify a manufacturing method?
5. What is the benefit to Apple for assuming a strict rule of silence whenever something goes wrong? (A short period for research is understandable, but not when it stretches for weeks. The number one rule of PR is communication – but, apparently, not for Apple.)
6. Conversely, what would Apple’s reaction be if one of its vendors, say FoxConn, refused to talk to Apple when something went wrong, such as an explosion?
7. Why is Apple unwilling to provide a general roadmap to those products it considers “professional”?
8. Conversely, what would Apple’s reaction be if Intel refused to tell it about new chips it was developing?
9. Trust is a very tricky thing. It takes time to create and can be destroyed in an instant. Does Apple perceive the extent to which it has breached this trust and what will Apple do to recover from it?
Not one of these questions deals with the features of a product. They deal with the moral character of a company.
As consumers, we are held accountable through license agreements, laws, and regulation.
But who holds corporations accountable?
The sad part is that no one holds corporations accountable. We will never learn these answers. And the damage that’s been done will be irreparable.
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