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.

cook war eagle email
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.

jobs mobileme customer emails 1
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

bigcat318 Avatar
127 months ago
Tim would probably rather you buy a different phone than return 7 iphones
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mattwolfmatt Avatar
127 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)
cms2 Avatar
127 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)
END3R Avatar
127 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)
SpinThis! Avatar
127 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)
sesnir Avatar
127 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

tile sticker e1570533758981

Tile CEO: 'We Welcome Competition From Apple, But We Think It Needs to Be Fair'

Tuesday May 4, 2021 9:51 am PDT by
Just after Apple announced its AirTags, Tile CEO CJ Prober relayed his concerns about competing with Apple in the tracking space, and said that Tile would ask Congress to investigate Apple's business practices specific to Find My and item trackers. Prober this week did an interview with Bloomberg, where he further expanded on Tile's complaints about Apple and why he feels that Tile is...
signal instagram ads3

Signal Shares the Instagram Ads Facebook Doesn't Want You to See

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:29 am PDT by
Encrypted messaging app Signal has had a series of Instagram ads blocked from the social media platform, after it attempted to show users how much data the Facebook-owned company collects about them and how it's used to push targeted ads. In a blog post, Signal described how it generated the ads to show users why they were seeing them, simply by declaring upfront the information that the...
tracking disabled ios 14 5

Analytics Suggest 96% of Users Leave App Tracking Disabled in iOS 14.5

Friday May 7, 2021 1:51 am PDT by
An early look at an ongoing analysis of Apple's App Tracking Transparency suggests that the vast majority of iPhone users are leaving app tracking disabled since the feature went live on April 26 with the release of iOS 14.5. According to the latest data from analytics firm Flurry, just 4% of iPhone users in the U.S. have actively chosen to opt into app tracking after updating their device...
fortnite apple logo 2

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney Admits App Store's 30% Cut Is Similar to Consoles, Would Have Accepted Special Deal With Apple

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:54 pm PDT by
Apple's legal battle with Epic Games is continuing on, and during the second day of the trial, Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney continued his testimony against Apple. Sweeney was grilled by Apple's lawyers, and made several points seemingly favorable to Apple. In addition to mentioning how he prefers Apple's iPhone and values Apple's privacy policies that he's aiming to dismantle, Sweeney...
snapchat dark mode

Snapchat Rolls Out Dark Mode on iOS

Wednesday May 5, 2021 1:17 am PDT by
Nearly two years following the release of iOS and iPadOS 13, which included native, built-in, and systemwide dark mode, Snapchat, one of the world's most prominent social media networks, has finally rolled out a dark mode theme for iOS users. Snapchat began testing a dark mode theme of its app design late last year with a small group of iOS users. Now, Snapchat says that as of this week, it...
netflix sign up

Apple Discussed 'Punitive Measures' Against Netflix for Dropping In-App Purchases

Wednesday May 5, 2021 11:03 am PDT by
As the Epic Games v. Apple trial progresses into its third day, Apple's internal documents and communications with various companies are continuing to surface, giving us some insight into the dealings that Apple has had around the App Store. Back in December 2018, Netflix stopped offering in-app subscription options for new or resubscribing members and instead began requiring them to sign up ...
iphone 12 preorder purple

Apple Begins Transition to Randomized Serial Numbers With Purple iPhone 12

Wednesday May 5, 2021 9:17 am PDT by
MacRumors previously reported about Apple's plan to switch to randomized serial numbers for future products starting in early 2021, and this transition has now started with the new purple iPhone 12 model in multiple countries. With assistance from Aaron Zollo, host of the YouTube channel ZolloTech, we can confirm that the purple iPhone 12 released last month has a new 10-character serial...
airtag 1

AirTag Anti-Stalking Measures 'Just Aren't Sufficient' Says Washington Post Report

Wednesday May 5, 2021 6:03 pm PDT by
The safeguards that Apple built into AirTags to prevent them from being used to track someone "just aren't sufficient," The Washington Post's Geoffrey Fowler said today in a report investigating how AirTags can be used for covert stalking. Fowler planted an AirTag on himself and teamed up with a colleague to be pretend stalked, and he came to the conclusion that the AirTags are a "new means...
iphone 13 pro max dummy notch

iPhone 13 Pro Max Dummy Model Depicts Smaller Notch

Tuesday May 4, 2021 1:08 pm PDT by
Apple's iPhone 13 models are expected to feature a slimmed down notch, marking the first major change to the TrueDepth camera system since it was introduced in the 2017 iPhone X. We're still months away from the launch of the iPhone 13, but Lewis Hilsenteger of Unbox Therapy managed to get an iPhone 13 Pro Max dummy model that represents what we can expect from the new 2021 device. Dummy...
iPad Pro July Shipping

12.9-Inch iPad Pro Now Delivers as Late as Mid-July

Wednesday May 5, 2021 7:10 am PDT by
While the new 12.9-inch iPad Pro is set to launch in the second half of May, orders placed today are estimated for delivery as late as mid-July on Apple's online store in the United States — some two months later. The new 11-inch iPad Pro is faring better so far, with some configurations available for delivery in the last week of May. The new 12.9-inch iPad Pro features a Liquid Retina XDR ...