Apple leads tech slump as CEO Tim Cook apologizes for customer-service issues in China

“It was no April Fool, Monday, as the start of April lived up to the month’s reputation as the cruelest, at least for tech stocks, with losses from the likes of Apple Inc. and Intel Corp. leading the sector downward despite gains by eBay Inc. and BlackBerry Inc.,” Rex Crum reports for MarketWatch.

“Apple shares fell more than 3% to close at $428.91, after CEO Tim Cook issued a signed public apology on the company’s Chinese website for customer service issues over the company’s products in that country,” Crum reports. “The move followed reports last week that Chinese regulators were preparing to crack down on the company following complaints that its customer service policies weren’t on par with other markets.”

Crum reports, “As part of the move on Monday, Apple said it has ‘improved’ its repair policy for the iPhone 4 and 4S models in China, and plans to increase the ‘supervision and training’ of authorized service providers.”

Read more in the full article here.

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Citigroup analyst ‘concerned’ about China’s state-run media’s anti-Apple propaganda campaign – April 1, 2013
China’s state-run media’s persecution of Apple likely to end with China Mobile iPhone deal – April 1, 2013
China state-owned film studio sues Apple for ‘selling unauthorized movies’ – March 29, 2013
Chinese regulator calls for tighter supervision of Apple – March 28, 2013
Popularity buffers Apple Inc. from state-run media attacks – March 28, 2013
Apple and China seem made for each other, so why is China attacking Apple? – March 28, 2013
Manufactured Apple ire shows up for real against China’s state-owned monopolies – March 27, 2013
China slams Apple’s ‘empty and self-praising’ response to warranty complaints – March 26, 2013
What’s really behind China’s attacks on Apple and Android? – March 20, 2013
Chinese media attack on Apple exposed; backfires badly – March 19, 2013
Prominent Weibo users, Samsung spokesman paid to bash Apple – March 17, 2013
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology: Google controls too much of Chinese smartphone sector – March 5, 2013

39 Comments

    1. I love how the fool finally screws up by making one and all of the sycophants cheer like he’s Michael Jordan and then he takes off. Egomaniac. His comeuppance will be a joy to behold.

      1. Yep, Fwhatever and his anonymous alter egos jump in for another round of “Honey, I Lost the Election” bitterness while their elected officials contribute little of value to the nation’s problems. Fwhatever is a classic symptom of the *real* problem in this country.

        1. You mean like how the Republican-led Congress submits annual budgets as required by law, but the Democrat-controlled Senate has failed to pass a budget in four years and how Obama has yet to submit a budget, even though the law required it by February 4th?

          So, who’s “contributing little of value to the nation’s problems,” again, genius?

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterferrara/2013/03/31/the-age-of-unreason-senate-democrat-budget-mythology/

          http://www.grassley.senate.gov/news/Article.cfm?customel_dataPageID_1502=45151

    1. No, they did not!

      What did Samsung, Google, et al innovate today?

      Or do you believe copyright infringement (IP) is the ‘new normal’ innovation?

      Troll grande.

  1. Should apologize to the shareholders for being idiots. Drop the CIA Secrecy shit and try to bump the share price back up. People want a new mac Pro, Larger iphone, better software and more transparency about the company. Other companies will start to do things Apple are too arrogant to try thinking their products are the top notch. The turnaround where other companies figure it out is coming close. They should come up with a gaming platform, Expand their OS marketshare with more affordable products, raise their dividend and use the excess cash to buy other tech companies like Sharp, ect. Do A huge PR turnaround get people interested again as they feel like it’s going stale.

    1. i agree, it starts to feel like everyone at apple fell asleep a few months ago.

      when they only introduce a minor upgrade to ios, a slightly improved iphone 5s and a thinner ipad 5 in june coupled with a bad june quarter expect a complete breakdown of the stock.

    2. You’re describing what every other MBA-run corporate failure business does. Apple needs to make some changes but they need to remain elite, different.

  2. another apology? what is next? tim – i better keep my mouth shut – cook apologizing for doing nothing on iclouds in one year. or what about ilife, iworks? will there ever be an update again?

    lately cook said, apple is a software company … what a joke. what are they doing all day? all those 35.000 engineers and managers at cupertino? counting money?

    1. Is there a response to you’re rhetorical innuendos of complacency? Is it a sign of weakness to appologize? Are you a successful CEO of the worlds most successful company? Do you know the ins and outs of supply lines, product development, sales figures, developer relations, etc. I think not.

  3. You have to be an idiot not to appologize since the consequence would be a $18 billion loss to apple. Tim cook is a stellar strategic business man to put pride away and keep apples growth in china.

    1. As much as I hate to say it, I guess he did the right thing? Perhaps this will slow down the attacks? And it isn’t just Apple, other companies come under such criticism in China. Whether it is justified or not. Apple needs China but I don’t know that China necessarily needs Apple. That’s part of the problem of being a world wide company. Apple isn’t the first American company in China and it won’t be the last. And they’re dealing with communists. That’s even worse than dealing with politicians in California!

  4. Wow. A bunch of know nothing ranters about Apple’s stock falling a bit. None of you seem to realize that the apology (that really didn’t change anything major and is effectively just a PR thing) is one of many pieces to get China to fully open up its carriers to Apple. Will it work? In the end, yes. How long will it take? No one, literally no one, knows. This apology is just one of many steps required to get there.

    This apology has virtually ZERO affect on Apple’s bottom line.

    When the deals are finally done and Apple’s full line of phones and tablets are on ALL of China’s major carriers, everyone (except those Chinese administrators) will have forgotten this apology.

    1. What are you talking about??? A 3% drop in one day is huge. And if you’ve been paying attention, every time Cook opens his mouth AAPL drops a 1 or 2 or 3%. He has a huge negative effect on the global perception of Apple which leads to a huge drop in AAPL which leads to negative effect on global perception of Apple. It’s a classic vicious cycle. Cook has to go.

      1. Do you know for a fact that the apology and the stock price drop are linked? AAPL stock moves based on so many other factors and rarely can a single event be tied to the movement. It might be an idea to study the market for a while before jumping to conclusions.

      2. Jensen, Shadowself talked about Apple’s *bottom line*, not the price of AAPL. A company’s bottom line is not impacted by its stock price unless it is issuing or buying back stock or leveraging it for an acquisition.

        Regardless of how you feel about a 3% drop in AAPL yesterday, it has no direct effect on Apple the company.

      1. But it is an *inscrutable* one!

        …enigmatic, mysterious, unreadable, inexplicable, unexplainable, incomprehensible, impenetrable, unfathomable, unknowable; opaque, abstruse, arcane, obscure, cryptic.

  5. Tim is a highly capable CEO who is multi competent in many areas
    Watch tim on the Walt mosserg interview on youtube and I think you’ll agree
    If tim has a weakness it’s that he can’t get his talent over to the public, do some research before you label him a dildo. I am more than happy with TIM as APPLE CEO

    1. The CEO is both the internal and external face of the company. If you have to search out a youtube video to find a decent performance, then he’s not a good CEO by definition.

      1. The Walt mosserg interview is one hour and 40 minutes long
        And gives the biggest insights into how tim thinks. I would advise anyone who hasn’t made up their minds about tim cook to watch tim
        In this environment then decide.
        For example when the conversation turns to convergence of desktop and mobile environments ( remember this is a pre window 8 interview ) Walt puts the case for convergence ! But tim is
        Opposed,well windows 8 has been launched ( convergence o.s.) and it has failed ! So tim way of thinking was right all along, and there are many more examples like that in that interview.

        What I would like to say is what is the alternative,do you bring in a CEO from outside the company ? What would his decisions be?

        Clone iOS devices
        Big plastic phablets
        Open source iOS fragmented OS like android
        Nasty and cheap products

        I think I will stay with tim cook quality .

        1. I get what you’re saying but you’re describing an operations manager–a COO–not a CEO. And like most people in this busy world, I don’t have an hour and 40 minutes to listen to Tim Cook, especially since I’ve found him to be an uninspiring bore thus far.

      2. Which TV commercials have you seen where the CEO is the external face of the company?

        Can you name the CEO of Allstate? Hint: It’s neither Dennis Haysbert nor Dean Winters.

        How about McDonalds? Seriously, not Ronald, right?

        Nike? Hint: Can’t be an athlete because if a COO can’t become a CEO then an athlete surely can’t become a CEO.

        Starbucks?

        BMW?

        Yes, I’m looking at the top brands listing at toptenz.net (except for Allstate)

  6. All political comments seem irrelevant to this article. Let’s really analyze Apple and Cook.

    Here is what ai think is going on.. Steve Jobs died and likely had a 5, 10 or (insert number) year plan based on assumptions about the competitive landscape of 2011.
    Tim cook, while executing this plan, realized that:
    1- there are changing circumstances that require a major change or at least some strategic modifications to this plan. Before forging ahead with new products (itv…iwatch, iwhatever) they need to work on quality control of current offerings (iCloud, maps, Siri). They also need to figure out security if they want to grab enterprise, education and hold on to them With the latest security company purchases, it looks like this is happening. So for Cook to take his time and not react to negativity in the media (both tech and Wall Street – both have a elatively small audience ) and offer buy backs or other incentives to keep investors, , it’s because he is still comfortable with Apple’s lead on Main Street, and because he is focused on a promising pipeline (the bottom line will follow).

    2- growth in a communist country like China is nowhere close to growth in a free market. Tim Cook is no coward… He is basically apologizing for show and to satisfy specific elements in the Chinese government. Recall that china needs him for Foxconn and for being able to keep steeling US IP so China doesn’t want to see Apple go anywhere. I think as many mentioned, there is a negotiation going on that involved the Goverment asking AAPL to make concessions and an apology with a few customer service upgrades is good PR. Didn’t SJ apologize in 2007 for slashing the iphone price from 600 to 400, didn’t he offer free cases? People have to stop thinking Steve Job never apologized.

    3- tim Cook also realized many people in charge are not the right fit. There is a major management restructuring with Forstall gone…. This may have created a 9-18 month delay to whatever was planned iOS wise. I think there is a lot of work in this field. IOS SOFTWARE is great, easy and the mass market loves it. Apple however is a design leader, and for it to be criticized for lack of taste is a problem. it is no willing to let it slide.
    The jailbreak community has also shown how things can be more practical on the platform (fewer steps to change common settings…)
    So Anybody with common sense would understand that it takes a while to steer a ship as big as iOS and if they are silent about future plans, it’s because they are working hard at them and Apple never announces anything until it’s ready to go to market.

    So what is currently happening:
    1- services are being overhauled. That’s a big undertaking.
    2- security is being developed but may not be ready for prime time or a backlash would be inevitable.
    3- a look and feel that unifies hardware and software is being ramped up but will likely be an evolutionary chane so as not to alienate current users.

    All of the above is not as sexy as the iNewthing and that is why the tech media is growing bored with Apple and unfairly accusing it of no innovation.
    Wall Street is impacted by the tech sentiment, and by delusional ads such as Samsung that claim iPhone is not as cool as Samsung anymore, but there are no real studies to substantiate this claim at all.

    What will happen is a return next year to the iphoen from many that are trying android but are stuck in a 2 year contract. This will start to show new growth and once the stock goes back up above 700, the analysts will come around and upgrade it.

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