Chelsea Kate Isaacs, a senior at Long Island University, was recently given an assignment about the school's new practice of giving all incoming students an iPad. Isaacs wanted to get a quote from Apple regarding the iPad's use in academic settings. Unfortunately for her, several phone calls to the Cupertino-based company's media relations department went unanswered. After about "5-10 messages," Chelsea decided to email Steve Jobs to see if he could give the PR team a kick in the butt and get them to respond.
"Mr. Jobs, I humbly ask why Apple is so wonderfully attentive to the needs of students, whether it be with the latest, greatest invention or the company's helpful customer service line, and yet, ironically, the Media Relations Department fails to answer any of my questions which are, as I have repeatedly told them, essential to my academic performance," she wrote.
"For colleges nationwide, Apple is at the forefront of improving the way we function in the academic environment, increasing the efficiency of conducting academic research, as well as sharing and communicating with our college communities.
"With such an emphasis on advancing our education system, why, then, has Apple's Media Relations team ignored my needs as a student journalist who is just trying to get a good grade?"
Unlike the PR department, the Apple CEO did respond to the 22-year-old journalism student. However, he wasn't interested in helping her.
"Our goals do not include helping you get a good grade. Sorry," Steve emailed back.
Chelsea responded to Steve, asking if it wasn't the company's job to return the calls of clients or customers. Steve responded again, telling Chelsea that Apple has 300 million customers and "we can't respond to their requests unless they involve a problem of some kind." When Chelsea told Steve that she was one of his 300 million customers and that she did have a problem, Steve told her, "Please leave us alone."
The email chain has sparked some debate across the blogosphere. Though many argue that if Jobs had time to reply three or four times, he had the time to forward her request to the PR department but chose not to help the student. Others say that while it was rude for Jobs to tell her to leave him alone, Isaacs was quite snooty in her correspondence and seemed to think she was entitled to speak with someone at Apple or that they should feel obliged to return her call because she needed a quote for an assignment. Who do you think is in the wrong here? Full email chain is below for those interested in reading the correspondence in its entirety.
From: Steve Jobs To: XXXX@my.liu.edu Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2010 18:27:36 -0700 Subject: Re: Mr. Jobs - Student Journalist Concerned about Apple'sMediaRelations Dept.Please leave us alone.Sent from my iPhoneOn Sep 16, 2010, at 5:32 PM, XXXX@my.liu.edu wrote:> You're absolutely right, and I do meet your criteria for being a customer who deserves a response: > > 1. I AM one of your 300 million users. > 2. I DO have a problem; I need answers that only Apple Media Relations can answer. > > Now, can they kindly respond to my request (my polite and friendly voice can be heard in the first 5 or 10 messages in their inbox). Please, I am on deadline. > > I appreciate your help. > > > Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile > > ——-Original Message——- > From: Steve Jobs > Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2010 17:10:12 > To: XXXX@my.liu.edu > Subject: Re: Mr. Jobs - Student Journalist Concerned about Apple's > MediaRelations Dept. > > Nope. We have over 300 million users and we can't respond to their requests unless they involve a problem of some kind. Sorry. > > Sent from my iPhone > > On Sep 16, 2010, at 4:37 PM, XXXX@my.liu.edu wrote: > >> Thank you for your reply. I never said that your goal should be to "help me get a good grade." Rather, I politely asked why your media relations team does not respond to emails, which consequently, decreases my chances of getting a good grade. But, forget about my individual situation; what about common courtesy, in general —- if you get a message from a client or customer, as an employee, isn't it your job to return the call? That's what I always thought. But I guess that's not one of your goals. Yes, you do have a creative approach, indeed. >> Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile >> >> ——-Original Message——- >> From: Steve Jobs >> Date: Thu, 16 Sep 2010 16:19:13 >> To: XXXX@my.liu.edu >> Subject: Re: Mr. Jobs - Student Journalist Concerned about Apple's Media >> Relations Dept. >> >> Our goals do not include helping you get a good grade. Sorry. >> >> Sent from my iPhone >> >> On Sep 16, 2010, at 3:22 PM, XXXX@my.liu.edu wrote: >> >>> Dear Mr. Jobs, >>> >>> As a college student, I can honestly say that Apple has treated me very well; my iPod is basically the lifeline that gets me through the day, and thanks to Apple's Final Cut Pro, I aced last semester's video editing project. I was planning to buy a new Apple computer to add to my list of Apple favorites. >>> >>> Because I have had such good experiences as a college student using Apple products, I was incredibly surprised to find Apple's Media Relations Department to be absolutely unresponsive to my questions, which (as I had repeatedly told them in voicemail after voicemail) are vital to my academic grade as a student journalist. >>> >>> For my journalism course, I am writing an article about the implementation of an iPad program at my school, the CW Post Campus of Long Island University. >>> >>> The completion of this article >>> is crucial to my grade in the class, and it may potentially get published in our university's newspaper. I had 3 quick questions regarding iPads, and wanted to obtain answers from the most credible source: Apple's Media Relations Department. >>> >>> I have called countless times throughout the week, leaving short, but detailed, messages which included my contact information and the date of my deadline. Today, I left my 6th message, which stressed the increasingly more urgent nature of the situation. It is now the end of the business day, and I have not received a call back. My deadline is tomorrow. >>> >>> Mr. Jobs, I humbly ask why Apple is so wonderfully attentive to the needs of students, whether it be with the latest, greatest invention or the company's helpful customer service line, and yet, ironically, the Media Relations Department fails to answer any of my questions which are, as I have repeatedly told them, essential to my academic performance. >>> >>> For colleges nationwide, Apple is at the forefront of improving the way we function in the academic environment, increasing the efficiency of conducting academic research, as well as sharing and communicating with our college communities. >>> >>> With such an emphasis on advancing our education system, why, then, has Apple's Media Relations team ignored my needs as a student journalist who is just trying to get a good grade? >>> >>> In addition to the hypocrisy of ignoring student needs when they represent a company that does so much for our schools, the Media Relations reps are apparently, also failing to responsibly handle the inquiries of professional journalists on deadlines. Unfortunately, for a journalist in the professional world, lacking the answers they need on deadline day won't just cost them a grade; it could cost them their job. >>> >>> Thank you very much for your time and consideration. >>> >>> Sincerely, >>> >>> Chelsea Kate Isaacs >>> Senior >>> CW Post - Long Island University >>> >>> Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile