It's Tough to Get Past the Idea That Tim Cook Has No Clue
Because this happens ...
And then this happens ...
I'm not going to rip Business Insider or Yahoo! Finance. Neither deserve it. Both outlets wrote perfectly legitimate and credible headlines. They took sane and logical queries from the objective information put in front of them.
But I am going to rip Tim Cook because, for as great of a job as he has done lately, he deserves to get ripped again -- endlessly, relentlessly -- on this particular issue.
He's executing -- rhetorically and in practice -- an inconsistent strategy.
It's bad enough that Apple lets Best Buy and other retailers sell its products. It's even worse that Apple permits these guys to effectively slum their products and dilute the brand. it means nothing to Apple's bottom line because, most likely, Best Buy or Wal-Mart
While you can't collude to fix prices, you can use suggested and minimum retail prices for the folks you allow to distribute your goods. I worked at a bicycle shop that lost Specialized products for a period because it discounted too heavily and too often.
In one breath Tim Cook says Apple won't produce crappy products. Fantastic. In another he says, we never had plans for a "cheap" iPhone. And, because he deserves it, I applaud him. Then, in practice, he gives third-party retailers what appears to be carte blanche over his company's image.
It makes absolutely zero sense. You can rationalize with them all you want, but no short-term justifications exist for how poisonous this practice can be to Apple over the long run. If I'm missing something in consumer law that precludes Apple from having the level of control I think they do, that only strengthens the argument to not participate in these arrangements in the first place.
One of Apple's strengths has always been image control. Tim Cook must move aggressively to reestablish that control.
--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.