Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

Reactions to Steve Jobs' performance

July 17, 2010: 6:52 AM ET

A sampling of opinions -- the good, the bad and the ugly

Photo: Apple Inc.

Given how much attention Apple (AAPL) was getting before Steve Jobs' "Antennagate" press conference Friday -- CNBC greeted it with a countdown clock and eight simultaneous talking heads -- it's not surprising that his performance got widely reviewed. We counted 131 headlines on Techmeme Saturday morning, not including the 52 links to live blogs of the event.

Reactions were predictably mixed. The analysts were pleased. The competition was miffed. The press was snarky. The bloggers were all over the lot. And Consumer Reports? Well, see for yourself.

The analysts:

"Apple needed to address their loyalists and those prospective buyers who have been sitting on the fence in lieu of the noise about 'antennagate.' We think he did both." Forrester's Charles Golvin.

"We see Apple's decision to offer free cases to all iPhone 4 buyers as a best-case scenario for the company, because we believe the company adequately proved the antenna issue is an industry-wide problem and the case solution is of minimal cost to Apple." Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster

"Apple's announcement today was well handled, balanced possible cost and disruption against customer satisfaction. The fix however may not go far enough for some, possibly sustaining near term reputational risk." RBC Capital's Mike Abramsky

"The event should serve to limit (though unlikely to quash altogether) negative press + consumer perception of the quality of iPhone 4. Apple did leave some unanswered questions, such as providing a definitive answer on whether a full software/hardware fix is likely in the next several months (which we believe is a possibility)." Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty

The press:

"Many expected a mea culpa from Steven P. Jobs, Apple's chief executive. Instead, he turned the iPhone 4's antenna problems into a marketing event." New York Times' Miguel Helft

"Chief Executive Steve Jobs defended Apple Inc.'s newest iPhone against complaints that it has a flawed antenna design, arguing that all smartphones have reception problems and saying the issue has been blown out of proportion." Wall St. Journal's Geoffrey Fowler, Ian Sherr and Niraj Sheth

"That was the right thing to do, but doing the right thing sort of got lost in Jobs' 15 minutes of justifying the reception issues." Infoworld's Galen Gruman

"While Apple can be applauded for addressing the problem, the tone of its response reeked of arrogance, with Jobs saying the issue had been 'blown out of proportion' by the media. As many analysts predicted, consumers wound up with a rubber bumper, and a half-baked apology. But knowing the reverence many people feel for all things Apple, Jobs probably thinks that's going to shut most of them up." MarketWatch's Therese Poletti

"What I'd prefer, since Jobs is asking, is a company that doesn't pee on my leg and tell me it's the "most revolutionary rain storm ever!" A free case is all well and good. Just lose the attitude, Steve. You screwed up. We know it. You know it. Just admit it." Slate's Farhad Manjoo

The competition:

"Apple's attempt to draw RIM into Apple's self-made debacle is unacceptable. Apple's claims about RIM products appear to be deliberate attempts to distort the public's understanding of an antenna design issue and to deflect attention from Apple's difficult situation." Research in Motion's (RIMM) Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie

"It is disingenuous to suggest that all phones perform equally. In our own testing we have found that Droid X performs much better than iPhone 4 when held by consumers." Motorola's (MOT) Sanjay Jh

"In general, antenna performance of a mobile device/phone may be affected with a tight grip, depending on how the device is held. That's why Nokia designs our phones to ensure acceptable performance in all real life cases, for example when the phone is held in either hand." Nokia (NOK) press release

The bloggers:

"That thunk you heard was the iPhone falling off its pedestal." PaidContent's Tricia Duryee

"Apple's not really ready to say it's sorry about the iPhone 4 antenna design, but it is willing to give all you darn squeaky wheels free cases for your trouble." Engadget's Paul Miller

"We called Apple's iPhone bumpers a ripoff at $30, but it's hard to argue with free. Those of us on staff who already have bumpers plan to apply for the refund." Ars Technica's Jacqui Cheng

"I had a theory about today's Apple iPhone 4 Press Extravagana. Apple was just too eager to get all the press that cares about Apple stuff into one room at the same time on one day's notice. They were either going to (1) get Steve Jobs to hypnotize everyone with a reality distortion field "there is no problem" and have them walk out dazed and confused but with vague warm feelings towards Apple. Or (2) they gathered all the press to one place to simply kill them. It was 50/50 in my book. Apple went with no. 1, probably based on a coin flip." TechCrunch's Michael Arrington

"In the end, it doesn't really matter: however begrudgingly (and some of his points are quite valid), Jobs made the right decision for Apple, its employees, its shareholders, and its customers in taking the hit and moving on." CNET's Tom Krazit

Consumer Reports:

"Consumer Reports believes Apple's offer of free cases is a good first step. However, Apple has indicated that this is not a long-term solution, it has guaranteed the offer only through September 30th, and has not extended it unequivocally to customers who bought cases from third-party vendors. We look forward to a long-term fix from Apple. As things currently stand, the iPhone 4 is still not one of our Recommended models." CR's Paul Reynolds

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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About This Author
Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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