The press conference on Friday was an all too familiar scene: a somewhat grumpy CEO making a reluctant apology, noting that the press has blown things way out of proportion and complaining that the company isn’t being treated fairly, since everyone in the industry has similar problems.
The company was: BP? Goldman Sachs? Toyota? Nope.
As anyone following the news knows, it was Apple.
Now this is something different. For the first time in a long time, Apple and Steve Jobs are on the defensive, forced to address some very real quality problems.
It is a dramatic shift. Apple has been on an incredible roll the past several years. Apple is the company that can do no wrong, the company that everyone admires. Now, however, Apple has an issue.
It is clear that this is an unfamiliar and unpleasant spot for Apple and Steve. In his news conference on Friday, Jobs seemed bothered and somewhat angry. I thought his attitude was a bit: “I’m Steve Jobs. I’m CEO of Apple. You are not. So what makes you think you can point out a problem in my product?”
In truth, this doesn’t seem like a huge issue. It isn’t a major product flaw and Apple has apparently provided a reasonable solution.
Still, it is clear that Apple is now being held to a very high standard and rightly so. When people believe you are the finest technology company in the world, the pressure is on. Small quality concerns quickly become big issues.
I suspect Apple will have a tough time living up to its reputation in the years ahead; this might be just the first of many disappointments to come.