Judge Green and your Justice Department dismantled Ma Bell 28 years ago. A lot of people thought it was about time. Cigars were passed out on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange!
But most Americans loved the telephone company. She was dependable. Customer service was off the charts. The Operator answered in 2 rings and never uttered a discouraging word. Employees were trained relentlessly to be courteous and helpful. And Ma Bell was also a great place to work. Remind you of anyone?
Dan Gilmor’s column in Salon the other day reminded me how my affection for my Apple devices parallels how most of us felt about the old phone company. And how Apple has made being loved and admired as good a policy in the free-for-all 2010 marketplace as it was for a 20th century regulated monopoly.
From the very beginning Apple, like Ma Bell, has been a profoundly customer-centric organization. They’ve understood that people, like an electric current, follow the past of least resistance. In the wired world there wasn’t anything easier to use than a black telephone. Today the unwired world nobody comes close to the iPhone and Appleware in general.
I’ve been researching android phones lately (strictly business) and am just stunned at the tower of Babel wireless has become. Multiple handsets running multiple operating systems. Multiple carriers with multiple service plans. Fall in love with a phone and you often discover that the carrier who offers it doesn’t serve your area (happened to me). Then please decide on how many minutes you want to buy, which talk, text, and data plans work for you. Some phones are free - some cost hundreds of dollars. And by the way, how many megapixels would you like on your phone’s camera! The friction in this market is incredible.
Buying an iPhone, however, is as simple as “Good Night Moon”. One carrier. One OS. Two phones. And they’ll even teach you how to use it.