Breaking: Apple Presser Friday

Andy Grove
Steve Jobs

So the folks in Apple’s beleaguered PR department seemed to have prevailed in convincing the powers-that-be to directly address the PR imbroglio catalyzed by Consumer Reportsthumbs down rating of the iPhone 4. Other than the company’s super-controlled theatrical product launches, I can’t remember Apple ever holding an old-fashioned presser. Can you?

The question I have is whether Apple’s plan to submit to a live-tweeted public announcement this Friday at its headquarters, which will include, I assume, a (Steve Jobs?) Q&A with a potentially hostile (hand-selected?) group of reporters is the right antidote to put this (foreseen?) controversy to bed once and for all.

I’ll always remember another iconic tech brand’s handling of a similar PR peccadillo. The company was Intel, and the issue involved a flaw in its consumer-branded Pentium chip. The rumors of Pentium’s problems started online in the geek-populated user groups, and soon migrated to EE Times, which piqued the interest of the late Steve Young, CNN’s tech reporter. Young’s TV News package gave the issue bona fide “crisis” status. (MSM coverage had a way of doing that.)

At first, Intel was in denial. Then, it contritely decided to offer those who could prove they had a flaw a refund, which caused an uproar (and a precipitous decline in its stock price.) It wasn’t until Intel’s esteemed CEO Andy Grove pronounced that the company will replace Pentium PCs — no questions asked — that life at the world’s largest chipmaker, and its heretofore ascendant stock price, resumed normalcy.

So, Mr. Jobs, will you offer to replace — no questions asked — the 3 million+ iPhone 4’s you’ve sold in the last 80 days? And if so, is it really necessary to face the media live in order to make this pronouncement? Couldn’t you just post on the Apple website one of your famous, periodic missives that have invariably set tongues a-waggin’?

I recognize that a full recall is an enormously expensive proposition, but with Apple’s market cap dropping by 8 percent following Consumer Report‘s caustic report, wouldn’t this avenue be justified? And would any other solution, duct tape included, satisfy Apple-watchers? Even Consumer Reports has called for Apple to do the right thing.

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