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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dear Tim Cook: Apple’s retail focus should be on delighting customers, not generating cash

“‘At Apple, our most important resource, our soul, is our people.’ So starts the Apple Credo. When I started a year-and-a-half stint working for Apple retail in 2008, we were given this text on a fold-out business card and told to carry it around in our name-tag lanyards,” Serenity Caldwell writes for Macworld. “From the reports I've heard in the last few weeks, however, it seems like one employee hasn't looked at his Credo lately.”

“Apple's new senior vice president of retail, John Browett, has been accused by several websites and blogs of cutting employees and their hours in the name of cost-efficiency and keeping stores from becoming ‘too bloated,’” Caldwell writes. “Rumors got so out of hand that company spokeswoman Kristin Huguet took the uncharacteristic-for-Apple step of publicly commenting on those reports, telling Dow Jones that the changes were ‘a mistake... and are being reversed.’”

John Browett, Apple Inc. senior vice president of retail

John Browett, Apple Inc. senior vice president of retail

Caldwell writes, “Boy, I sure hope so. While I don't doubt everyone at Apple is happy that retail boasted a modest 22 percent profit margin last quarter, the second the company forgets that the stores are not solely about selling computers is when its retail operation becomes a failure. A manager of mine once told me, ‘The Apple Store is a place to ask questions and find out how a Mac fits into your life. The fact that we sell the computers is just gravy.’ So if John Browett hopes to turn the gravy of the Apple Store's operations into its sole existence, he's potentially looking at a catastrophic mistake.”

Read more in the full article – very highly recommended – here.

MacDailyNews Take: If these rumors are true, we’re looking at the single biggest error made by Apple so far in the post-Steve Jobs era. Mr. Cook would do well to be very, very careful with how he addresses this issue. Browett is Cook’s biggest hire to date. Apple Inc. shareholders should be concerned.

In fact, concerned Apple shareholders might want to email CEO Tim Cook directly and ask him if these rumors about Browett are true and, if so, what exactly he’s doing about it:

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