What's an ethical businessperson to do?
Following the announcement that the 8 Gig iPhone price would drop by $200, Apple announced in an open letter that they would give a $100 rebate per phone to early adopters. They bowed to pressure by a bunch of whiners (read the comments) who seem to think that, as loyal fans, we should have some kind of magic insulation from the economic realities rapidly-changing technology. I can certain understand someone buying an iPhone very recently and being miffed about the drop, but such is life. Would any of you very early buyers have passed on an iPhone if you knew for sure that if you waited 2 1/2 months, you could get it for $200 less? I doubt it.
The exact same DLP projector I bought a few years ago for $10K now retails for $2,500. I'm not expecting a refund. I bought bleeding edge technology. I paid a premium *knowing* if I were a little patient I'd save a bunch of money.
Why did Apple cave? I own Apple stock. I think this was a stupid, unnecessary move on their part. This online reaction is not comparable to a campaign by a bunch of rabid fans so save a quality TV show from the death grip of network execs. This was a bunch of rabid fans who mistook their voluntary participation in a media frenzy for some kind of entitlement to immunity from reality. And Apple bit. It's not a good precedent to set.
That said, I bought 2 iPhones on June 29. Do I have an ethical obligation not to take the rebate? It's not like forgoing the cash would have one iota of effect on the program, the stock, or anything else. I think it's stupid, not wrong. Still, there's all that ranting I do about hypocrites and personal accountability... Randy Cohen, are you listening?