Wednesday, March 16, 2005

I love posting

From my posting history, that's obviously not the case. I'm going to make a concerted effort to post at least every week from now until forever, or until I get bored/busy/whatever again.

Someone out there, keep me honest, will ya?

I love warranties

This post over at Church of the Customer (feed) had me thinking about warranties and then also about something with a similar effect as a warranty: yearly new purchases of things, and trading the old one in to take the edge off of the sticker price of the new. By doing this you always have a warranty… and a payment to match.

It seems to me that an extended warranty of 3 to 5 years would outlast the relative usefulness of the device it's covering. Case in point: you purchase a sweet PowerBook G4 tomorrow, and in 1800 days (just shy of 5 years) it breaks. Will Apple still have parts to fix it? If they do, how much did it cost for them to maintain inventory to fix a 5 year old PowerBook? If they don't, what do they do? From a customer service perspective, they should probably provide you the current day equivalent of what you brought in. Realistically, it's probably not a good business model, and the cost you pay for the extended warranty is not close to the price of a new PowerBook (if it were, you wouldn't have purchased the extended warranty in the first place).

Perhaps Apple should come up with a "Previously Owned" program and along with that, a "Trade In" program. This would allow people like me who wouldn't normally justify forking over the cash for a new PowerBook G4 the opportunity to own one at a reduced cost. In addition, it allows the people that want to stay up with technology an opportunity to reduce the pain of purchasing a new PowerBook every year.

I’m not sure why, but I think of the luxury automaker Lexus when I think of “Previously Owned”. When Lexus sells a “Previously Owned” vehicle, they are breeding one more Lexus addict, and they are probably doing it at a young age (I’m not sure the demographics of a Lexus owner, but I’m sure it’s probably in the late 30’s to late 40’s). Starting them young equates to quite a few more Lexus’s (or is it Lexi) to be purchased over their lifetime.

I suppose in some way I’m talking apples and oranges here (pun unintentional). On one hand we have a $3,500 computer, on the other we have a $50,000 automobile. Regardless, I think it’s a page from the luxury automakers book that I think Apple should look into.

What do you think? Would it be profitable for Apple? Would Apple customers love it or hate it?