The Reader Writes – January 2000

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Apple Expo 2000

From: Alan Taylor

You quite rightly report that British Macintosh users feel abused by Apple’s decision to abandon the Apple Expo 2000. Seriously pissed off might be more accurate.

One of the factors that the Apple management should take on board is that in the UK there are very few places where existing, but more importantly, potential customers, can go and see Apple hardware and peripherals actually working.

An expo has always been a particularly good way of seeing new Apple hardware, but also third party stuff that adds massive value to that hardware. There has been no Apple show in the UK for several years, and the last one was half-hearted, to put it politely.

Even if Steve Jobs had something better to do, couldn’t he at least have sent an alternative speaker, or just let the show go ahead without a keynote address? Many attendees wouldn’t bother going to the keynote address anyway.

I might add that if video is the new opportunity for Apple, then it seems strange that at the London Video Forum 2000, this coming February, Apple doesn’t even have a booth, and hasn’t bothered to offer a speaker for any workshops or masterclasses. They seem happy to leave the door open for others.

The timing is particularly extraordinary. There are currently major question marks over Microsoft. Huge amounts of bad publicity. Windows 2000 will have probably just launched a whole new load of bugs onto unsuspecting users, adding to that bad publicity. Apple already had a show in place ready to offer an attractive alternative, and decides to shut the show down!

Those of us who use the products know that they virtually sell themselves when they are seen in operation.

The whole Apple sales operation in the UK is a joke. There are precious few actual retailers that offer worthwhile demonstration facilities, and Apple is even threatening to pull the rug from under some of those. There are large warehouse stores that will grudgingly sell you an iMac, but will not supply peripherals or software to use with it.

Of course, we may buy from the Internet, but that is not the same as seeing and touching while you are thinking about buying, and somebody wanting to buy a first computer (the ideal potential iMac purchaser) will find it difficult to buy on-line, due to not actually owning a computer.

If they buy a cheap PC, and then see the error of their ways and decide to switch to Mac, it will be difficult, as they will have spent loads of money on software which they will not be able to use on a Mac (yes, I do know about emulators, but they are only practical for specially selected applications).

We need to ensure that first time buyers find it easy to buy Macs and the stuff that is needed to go with them. If we can catch them before they jump in the PC direction, they will stay.

Apple has a healthy market share over here, but it is certainly not because of the efforts of the Apple PR, customer support, marketing or distribution systems.

Ok so the show has been scrapped. What is going to replace it?

They have promised some extra TV adverts!!

I’m not aware that there has been any promise of a replacement expo, and I doubt that anyone would take such a promise seriously.

Why do UK Mac owners deserve such hostility?

Yesterday I wrote and explained how badly served UK Mac customers feel by their treatment from Apple.

Of course if I had read the news, I would have also been aware of the fact that yesterday Apple shut down its UK marketing department.

Obviously nobody at Apple is likely to offer any explanation about this latest snub. They always remain smugly tight lipped on these occasions. But perhaps somebody else might like to suggest what Mac customers in the UK have done to be singled out for such appalling treatment.

I am aware that marketing in the UK will now be controlled from the French division. This is no comfort whatsoever to those of us in the UK. Relationships between our two countries are seldom truly amicable, and this latest decision reveals a total misunderstanding of how customers here will feel. It will inevitably lead to friction and frustration.

This latest decision seems like the sort of decision made by an ill-informed bean counter at a time when a company is in big trouble. I thought that Apple was doing rather well at the moment, and it shouldn’t need to fire staff and heap further abuse on its customers at times like these.

We look with interest to see how Apple intends to make up for all of these slaps in the face to i’s UK customers.

My money is on them doing f*** all about it.

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