A Look at Apple's Handling of Customer Emails to Executives as Tim Cook Takes Charge

Steve Jobs has been famous for his willingness to interact with customers via email, issuing terse and sometimes surprisingly candid answers to users' questions and complaints on occasion. With Tim Cook now officially taking the reins at Apple, some have questioned whether he has any interest in similar interactions with customers.

Cook has clearly been flooded with emails over the past few days, many of which have offered him congratulations on his new position. Notably, Cook does seem to be taking the time to respond to those emails, suggesting that he may indeed be interested in personal communication with Apple customers. Most of the responses so far seem to have been of a simple nature thanking the senders, although some have included a bit more detail relevant to the senders' content.

One example given in a comment thread on an article at iDownloadBlog comes from a customer who mentioned that he used Apple products to communicate with his family from Iraq, to which Cook responded thanking him for his military service. Another example comes via an Auburn University fan, who connected with Cook, an Auburn graduate and devoted fan himself, over the school. Cook included in his reply a mention of Auburn's famous "War Eagle" battle cry.


Apple has historically paid close attention to emails sent to Jobs, and will likely continue to do so with Cook. One example of Apple's tracking of executive email contacts has been provided to MacRumors, showing Apple's efforts to respond to early criticisms of its MobileMe service, which experienced a series of missteps at its mid-2008 rollout. According to an internal Apple presentation highlighting the status of MobileMe support issues in early 2009, Apple closely tracked on a day-by-day basis the 242 MobileMe complaint emails sent to Steve Jobs over the first six months of the service's history.


Apple support staff analyzed each of the 242 MobileMe-related emails sent to Jobs over that period, categorizing them by "root cause" in order to better understand where customer complaints were coming from.

Jobs of course remains as Chairman of Apple's board of directors, and his email address presumably will remain active. It is unknown, however, if he will continue to answer customer emails sent his way now that he has stepped down. Jobs does not appear to have answered many emails, if any, in recent months, and thus he may have already stepped away from that communication channel.

And while customers hoping that channels to the chief executive remain open under Cook may be heartened by his recent responses, it remains to be seen whether he will continue to engage with customers via email once the flood of congratulatory messages passes and the emails become more focused on questions and complaints.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
117 months ago
Tim would probably rather you buy a different phone than return 7 iphones
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
117 months ago
Wait, you're telling me that in the first 6 months MobileMe was launched, Jobs received only 242 complaints?

If so, about 10% of those are from me.

Are we sure we aren't missing the "in thousands" small print somewhere?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
117 months ago

I am a dyed in the wool Georgia Bulldog (forgive the mixed metaphor), and I was trained to loathe all things Auburn. I love Apple's products, but I'm going to have a damn hard time giving money to a company that has a CEO who will in turn pump money back into the coffers of a team and school that I REALLY don't like...


Man, that is devoted... I rarely know, much less care, where the CEO of some company went to school.

Originally Posted by END3R
never have I heard of someone returning it 8 times, let alone twice.


This seems to always be done incorrectly on MR forums for some reason. It should be: "Never have I heard of someone returning it twice, let alone 8 times" :)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
117 months ago

"Hi Tim, can I please have an iPhone 4 that actually works? I am on my 8th phone in 9 months.

PS, WAR DAMN EAGLE"


A rational person might begin to think after that many it's not the phone. With all the people I know with iPhones, friends, neighbors and nearly everyone I work with, never have I heard of someone returning it 8 times, let alone twice.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
117 months ago

I'm going to have a damn hard time giving money to a company that has a CEO who will in turn pump money back into the coffers of a team and school that I REALLY don't like...

Is that the the only reason? You're doing pretty well. Boy those affiliations run deep in some people. If you base your purchases based on affiliations or donations, you'll prob end up never buying anything, ever from any company.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
117 months ago
I sent him an email on Aug 25th and got a nice reply less than 5 hours later. I imagine it's because a "thank you" is quick and easy, while something like answering a MobileMe complaint is not.


So what's tim 's email address? tim@mac.com???

tcook@apple.com
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone Maker Foxconn Says China's 'Days as the World's Factory Are Done'

Wednesday August 12, 2020 7:55 am PDT by
China will no longer be the world's manufacturing epicenter going forward, according to Apple's largest supply chain partner Foxconn, which has been gradually expanding its operations in other countries amid the U.S.-China trade war. "No matter if it's India, Southeast Asia or the Americas, there will be a manufacturing ecosystem in each," said Foxconn chairman Young Liu, according to Bloombe...

Leaker Jon Prosser: Apple Watch and iPad Launching in September, iPhone 12 Event to Take Place in October

Wednesday August 12, 2020 4:31 pm PDT by
Apple last month confirmed that this year's iPhone 12 models will launch outside of their normal September timeframe and will be "available a few weeks later," which has led to speculation about when an event might be held. Leaker Jon Prosser, who sometimes shares accurate knowledge of Apple's plans, today said that Apple will hold its iPhone 12 event during the week of October 12, with...

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Apple to Launch Bundled Subscription Services Called 'Apple One'

Thursday August 13, 2020 3:41 am PDT by
Apple will launch a new range of subscription service bundles called "Apple One" as soon as October, according to a new report by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The series of bundles would allow customers to subscribe to several Apple digital services together. This is expected to result in a lower monthly price than when the services are subscribed to individually. Bloomberg reports that the...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.6.1 With Fix for Storage Issue and Green Tinted Displays

Wednesday August 12, 2020 1:31 pm PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.6.1, minor updates that come a month after the release of the iOS 13.6 update with Car Keys and Audio Apple News+ stories. The iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.6.1 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings > General > Software Update. iOS 13.6.1 addresses an issue that could cause...

Apple May Release 4G-Only iPhone 12 in Early 2021

Tuesday August 11, 2020 5:28 am PDT by
In a research note shared by Business Insider, Wedbush Securities analysts said that Apple may release a cheaper iPhone 12 in early 2021 with no 5G connectivity. Wedbush initially believed Apple would launch a mix of 4G and 5G iPhone 12 models this fall. Following re-examination of Asian supply chains, analysts Daniel Ives, Strecker Backe, and Ahmad Khalil revised the predictions,...

Apple Removes Fortnite From App Store [Update: Epic Files Lawsuit Against Apple]

Thursday August 13, 2020 11:58 am PDT by
Just hours after Epic Games introduced a new direct payment option for Fortnite that skirts Apple's in-app purchase rules, Apple has pulled the Fortnite app from the App Store. Fortnite is no longer available for download on the iPhone or the iPad, and Apple provided a statement to MacRumors on Fortnite's removal:Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store...

iPad Pro Keyboard Comparison: Logitech's $160 Folio Touch vs. Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard

Tuesday August 11, 2020 2:11 pm PDT by
Logitech recently debuted the Folio Touch, a keyboard and trackpad case designed for the 11-inch iPad Pro that serves as an alternative to the Magic Keyboard. In our latest YouTube video, we compare the $160 Folio Touch to Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard to see which is better. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Logitech is selling the Folio Touch for $160, while Apple's...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.6 Supplemental Update With Virtualization Bug Fix

Wednesday August 12, 2020 1:20 pm PDT by
Apple today released a supplemental update for macOS Catalina 10.15.6, with the update coming a month after the original launch of macOS Catalina 10.15.6. The ‌‌macOS Catalina‌‌ 10.15.6 Supplemental Update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the System Preferences app. According to Apple's release notes, the update fixes a problem that could cause...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...