Full Bloody Circle (10/20/99)

Bet you thought Apple's G4 cancellation fiasco ended last Monday with Steve Jobs' public apology, right? Wrong. This debacle is longer than a Meatloaf song and has just as many false stops. Let's recap: a week ago on Wednesday, Apple, fearing that too much good news might send its stock price into the low teens, tempered their better-than-expected earnings with the announcement that the whole Power Mac G4 line was being downgraded 50 MHz while the prices were remaining the same. In addition, just to add a poke in the eye to that kick in the teeth, it was also revealed that all pre-orders for the original, faster G4 systems had been cancelled. That was the beginning of Apple's "Week That Felt Like A Month."

Then on Thursday, following much wailing and gnashing of teeth by the Macintosh community, word got out that Apple had revised their policy; the Apple Store would in fact reinstate pre-orders for G4 systems at the originally quoted prices. But on Friday it seemed that only Apple Store pre-orders were being reinstated; orders placed through resellers would not be honored. And then Monday came, bringing the official Apple press release and its revised revised policy stating that Apple would "honor all orders... placed before Wednesday, October 13, at the originally quoted prices, including those placed with the Company's resellers which were accompanied by a purchase order, or a cash or credit card deposit." And that was the end of that-- in theory, anyway. (Kudos to MacWEEK's editors for somehow untangling the whole mess and laying out the baffling facts in their editorial.)

But that "purchase order/deposit" clause left a lot of people wondering. Just because you pre-order something with a credit card doesn't mean you've put down a deposit; usually the reseller doesn't bill your card until they ship you the goods. Which means that the vast majority of non-Apple-Store G4 pre-orders were not covered by Apple's revised revised policy, as confirmed by many people who called and asked. Thank goodness, then, for the revised revised revised policy as noted by MacNN: "as of midnight [Tuesday night], Apple is telling resellers that it is now honoring all orders placed on or before October 13th at pre-configuration-change pricing-- regardless of whether a deposit was made on the machine. (This includes credit card orders, which were explicitly discounted in a statement to us yesterday.)"

And so, faithful viewers, only one week after the initial G4 order cancellations, Apple has finally managed to work its way all the way back to right where it was before the whole mess started-- while amassing a ball of negative energy so dense, not even apologies can escape. Heck, if Apple could somehow harness that power, they'd have a PowerBook that could show A Bug's Life about eighty thousand times on one charge-- and yet we doubt that Apple's intentionally collecting negative vibes in the interest of battery life product development. Anyway, thankfully, the whole mess is over. Unless there's a revised revised revised revised policy on its way right now. (If there is, we bet it says "All pre-October 13th G4 orders have been cancelled again.")

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The above scene was taken from the 10/20/99 episode:

October 20, 1999: The Cancellation Saga continues, as Apple iteratively agrees to reinstate more and more of the deep-sixed G4 pre-orders. Meanwhile, the mind reels amid a Mac the Knife report that the man behind the G4 slowdown with no price break was not Steve Jobs, and a personal anecdote illustrates the importance of being very careful when dealing with stores like CompUSA...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 1858: Whose Bad Acid IS This? (10/20/99)   Now that the whole "G4 pre-order cancellation" thingy has finally been resolved, people in the market for a professional Macintosh are still feeling pinched by Apple's bizarre plan to alleviate G4 availability problems by selling slower systems at the same price...

  • 1859: Always Check. ALWAYS. (10/20/99)   Yes, Virginia, there are iBooks available for the patient-- and they're even more available for the not-so-patient. We at AtAT can now say that a blood-relative has taken delivery of her brand-spanking-new Blueberry iBook, though if she hadn't gone down to CompUSA and rattled a few cages, she'd still be waiting...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

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