Apple Weathers Hits to Image

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Appleis recent problems with random shutdowns in its popular MacBook laptop have tested the faith of customers, some of whom switched from the Windows world because of technical issues on that side of the fence. An Austin-American Statesman article highlights some of them, including Matthew Swanson, whose wifeis random shutdown problems led him to create the Web site www.macbookrandomshutdown.com, which has seen over 1,500 visitors with similar tales to tell.

Mr. Swansonis wife bought the laptop to run an online business, leading to increasing frustration as the random shutdowns cost them lost work files and, potentially, lost customers. "When you pay full price for these machines, you expect them to be tested and stable and everything," he told the newspaper. Last Thursday, Apple issued a firmware update that it supposed to fix the problem.

IDC senior analyst Richard Shim commented: "As you become a bigger player, you become more susceptible to quality issues. [Apple] is growing really quickly right now, and theyive got to keep up with demand, continue to innovate and commit to quality all at the same time."

Analyst Rob Enderle, long known for being critical of Apple, also weighed in. "I think they are feeling invulnerable right now. Because theyive been so successful as of late, it looks like they can do no wrong and that customers will take whatever they give them. But thatis the quickest way to stop a (growth) trend that I know of."

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