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August 24, 2007

Consumer Take Over

Artiphonehandafpgi Really interesting example of consumers taking ownership of the brand, and in this case the product!  Apple and AT&T tried their best to create a closed system by which to "control" the use of the iphone.  All it took was a 17 year old and a couple of his blogger friends to hack into the iphone and enable it to work with any service provider, including international ones.  And kudos to George Holtz (17 yr. old genius) for wanting to keep the instructions so simple that any user could do the modification.  He says, "That's exactly, like, what I don't want," Hotz said. "I don't want people making money off this."He said he wished he could make the instructions simpler, so users could modify the phones themselves."But that's the simplest I could make them," Hotz said.

Apple continues to design people-friendly, inspirational products that change the way people use and interact with technology and with each other.  As they continue to do this, they continue to forge a "soul mate" like relationship with consumers who will go to great lengths to use their products and even make them available to a wider audience.  That's the definition of advocacy.

Read the CNN article here: http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/ptech/08/24/iphone.unlocked.ap/index.html

Here's the youtube video:

UPDATE:

Another case of consumers seeking to take control of the same situation:

A class action lawsuit has been filed in NY over iphone SIM card lock-in and international roaming rates.
While it seems that the plaintiff may not have a super strong case, it does show that people are growing less tolerant of the practices US phone carriers use to retain their customers.  It just seems that its taken a product as innovative and desirable as the iphone to finally jolt consumers into taking action against cell phone providers and the exclusive relationships they use with cell phone manufacturers to enslave their customers.  In addition to lengthy contracts, cell phone providers seem to use cell phones as another way to "lock" customers into a relationship with the brand.  I think this is a failing business model that will eventually end; either by consumers banning together to force change in the industry, or by a provider coming in and changing the way things are done.  At any rate, it seems that a common platform and cross provider phones would benefit the consumer and require the cell phone providers to provide better service and more value-added features to keep customers happy. 

In the end, while the iphone is the catalyst for this type of consumer action, I don't think that Apple will suffer as AT&T, and perhaps even the other cell phone providers who hold their customers captive.

by Brandon Murphy

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Comments

Stephen

As someone who just took the iphone abroad and came back to the tune of $500 in roaming charges (data), I understand where this guy is coming from.

ATT's iphone department response is that the phone does not download data in the background. False. It does. It is constantly pinging the net. For this, we get roaming charges...

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