Is Apple the Next BP?

AppleCould the antenna problems be Apple’s equivalent of BP oil spill disaster? If you’ve been falling all the tech blogs, that might be the impression you walk away with:

Amid the ensuing media frenzy, officials retreat into a defensive crouch by stonewalling reporters, issuing non-denial denials, spewing disinformation, or trying to silence and discredit outspoken critics. The story gets worse and worse, day by day. Like a slow-motion train wreck, you can’t help but watch as the bad news gradually destroys years of meticulously accumulated brand equity.

That’s what happened to BP (BP) in the early weeks of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. It’s what happened to Toyota (TM), during the early weeks of the sudden-acceleration crisis. And now it’s happening to Apple (AAPL), amid the unfolding saga of the iPhone 4’s already infamous antenna-reception defect. Attempts to change the subject? Check! Silencing potential critics? Check! What’s next?

One of my best friends, Steve, sent me a great link to a post that took a different take on the issue:

The biggest problem with the iPhone 4’s antenna isn’t whether it’s faulty or fine, it’s Apple.Apple has so far avoided the serious issue of whether the iPhone 4 has a legitimate hardware problem and instead obfuscated the issue by first telling users how to hold the new iPhone and then blaming a software glitch. As a result, Apple now has a big PR headache on top of an obvious hardware flaw.

The real problem that Apple now faces is the company has reached the pinnacle of the tech world. As much as they would hate to admit it, they are no long the underdog. Apple is now the alpha dog and everyone under the sun is trying to find flaws with the company. Regardless of what happens with the iPhone, this will continue to be a problem for Apple far into the future.

Let’s face it, we, the wonderful human race, lean more toward being cynics and pessimists than we would ever like to admit. So you can’t hold the iPhone 4 like they do in the commercial. Tough. Get over it. If you are actually trying to use the phone, you’ll never need to hold it that way anyway.

The sad issue that seems to be slipping by people is that Apple has once again revolutionized the tech industry with the release of iOS4. The iPhone is once again out in front of all its competitors. I am sure the guys at Google are busy working away at copying the new OS.

Did you read the Consumer Reports article closely? Despite the phone’s antenna issues, they still rated the iPhone as the best smart phone around. What does this imply for the rest of the industry? Let’s assume for a minute that the phone’s antenna sucks; this means the rest of the phones out there simply do not match up to what Apple can do. Innovation will always win out over the copy cats.

Can we realistically compare a faulty antenna to the worst oil disaster in American history? Will the fact that you might have to move your hand half an inch lead to same kinds of devastation and loss that BP has in its hands? What are your thoughts? Can Apple survive its very own “oil” disaster?

Want a fresh perspective on the iPhone’s performance? Check out this great post by Ed Dale.


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