And yet, Apple hasn't changed any of its ways. The corporation continues to operate behind closed doors. When Apple makes mistakes, such as the MobileMe e-mail debacle, the company puts up a vague status message -- while 20,000 users are left without e-mail access for a week. To make matters worse, Apple downplays the problem as affecting a meager "1%" of users.
And Apple ignores the media, too. Ordinarily, Steve Jobs only speaks to a small group of journalists. The company wants to keep a lid on upcoming products, which is understandable, but even when journalists inquire about other matters, Apple can be famously unresponsive. Apple didn't return Pogue's phone calls regarding the MobileMe matter, nor did the company return Wired.com's.
"Unfortunately, they are dropping the ball, not communicating, and adding to the problem by increasing the frustration of their users via their unwillingness to shoot straight with us," MobileMe user Joe Holley wrote in the support forums. He mentioned that the lack of mail access may have robbed him of a potential job opportunity.
Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray, said he's been in general very pleased as an Apple customer. However, he noted a recent change: In the past when he called Apple's customer service, he didn't have to wait at all; nowadays, he has to wait several minutes. He added that the Genius Bars at Apple stores are becoming increasingly crowded.
These might appear to be trivial issues, but combined with the aforementioned list of user problems, they suggest that Apple isn't keeping up with its rapid growth.
If the company doesn't address these problems quickly, it could wind up looking more and more like its Windows-based competitors.