PowerBook G4 display manufacturing defect coverup (updated)

PowerBook G4 display manufacturing defect coverup (updated)

Summary: Apple appears to be censoring discussion of a display manufacturing defect in the  PowerBook G4 17-inch and have not acknowledging that the defect even exists. Notebook computers, especially 17s, are an expensive investment to have just go belly-up shortly after they come out of warranty.


PowerBook G4 display manufacturing defect coverupApple appears to be censoring discussion of a display manufacturing defect in the  PowerBook G4 17-inch and have not acknowledging that the defect even exists. Notebook computers, especially 17s, are an expensive investment to have just go belly-up shortly after they come out of warranty. Some people have had their machines die right after the one-year warranty expires.

One factor that may be hampering Apple's ability to identify and track such manufacturing and/or production problems is that international AppleCare complaints aren't tracked on analyzed in a central database. Instead it's a patchwork of databases kept by individual countries that isn't shared amongst the group. This renders Apple unable to detect worldwide complaint patterns that would alert them to defects.

Read more about the complaints and censorship and decide for yourself.

Update: A Web site was posted yesterday with uncensored discussion of this problem and loaded with specific, up-to-date advice on what people can do if they have this defect.

Topics: Laptops, Apple, Hardware, Mobility

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • And yet Apple is rated highest ....

    .... in customer satisfaction. Go figure!
    • or maybe the rest of them really....

      • Explain just how exactly ....

        .... you can suck worse then denying the problem exists and censoring anyone that says different! Use your head this time and not your emotions!
        • Probably because

          Apple isn't censoring, and is following their standard policy of
          investigating the issue independently to make sure it's valid, and
          not just a few dozen people trashing their laptops then whining
          about it.

          Since Apple has a documented history of extending warranties
          and replacements of their machines when hardware flaws are
          found, the above conclusion is the rational, non-emotional one
          whereas yours is nothing more than emotion-filled invective.
          • What Apple has a history of ....

            ... is denying problems exist until there is an uproar and then finally doing the right thing once their hand is forced. Your description is nothing more then RDF.
          • Look up non-sequitir

            A company behaving the way your describe does not get top
            marks for customer satisfaction. Ergo, your conclusion is wrong.
            Mine more accurately fits the data.

            Deal with it.
          • Were it not for the RDF factor ....

            ... and ardent supporters like yourself you might be right. You don't have to take my word for it. Just look at the stories about the problems with the iPhone 3G. If you can peak out from that RDF you might learn something. Deal with that!
          • Following that logic

            No company get to be as successful as MS unless they release a great product.
            Deal with it.

            I thought not. You 'logic' only applies to what you want, when you want it to. Not really logic, is it?
          • Apple's Deniability

            Of course those top marks were for last year.
            Apple does try to deny problems and censor their support forums when there are BIG problems.

            There was awhile where Airport Expresses manufactured over a few months suddenly stopped working about 2 months out of warranty. Whenever someone tried to start a topic about it on Apple.com, it was deleted within the hour. Tech support didn't know anything about the problem, even though some of those threads reached over a hundred posts in the little time they were allowed.

            Sometimes I REALLY hate Apple.
          • Hahaha

            Your blindness is quite funny.

            You're right, Apple never deletes threads. People just make that up.
          • Your description is painting with a rather large brush, eh? (NT)

          • The American way..

            Seems Apple is just being like most companies here in the USA.
            Wait till there is a class action suit then do what right.
          • How to offer but not help

            My Apple experience is a bit different. There was a design
            fault for a period of time in the eMac G4 series to which
            Apple openly confesses. It seems there was a capacitor on
            the logic board that caused the board to self-destruct,
            usually just after the warranty period. The symptom is
            inability to boot from the hard drive, and the solution is to
            replace the logic board. Apple even offered to replace the
            board if your machine falls within a specified range of
            serial numbers. Only catch is that if your machine is in that
            range, you must still have the problem checked out and
            confirmed at an Apple Genius Bar. By the time the Apple
            Genius squad has held onto your eMac and excluded every
            other possibility, you discover that the offer just expired.
            What a way to have your cake and eat it, too! Apple clears
            their corporate conscience (and liability) without ever
            having to actually fix anything.
          • Points valid...except

            [i]Apple isn't censoring[/i]

            What do you call deleting the posts of dissenters? I'm not saying they are right or wrong in how they are handling it, because we don't know how they are handling it yet, but they are CLEARLY censoring. Unless we've changed the definition of censoring to exclude hushing of opinions you don't like.
          • well...

            in a way they may be censoring them on their own forums... but they can delete any post that doesn't meet with their forum guidelines since they are privately owned and operated... if they were truly attempting censoring anyone, they'd do more than just uphold rules on their own website...
          • Of course they "censor", like everybody else...

            (This was meant as a reply to laura_b)
            Strictly speaking, yes Apple is censoring. As is 99% of any
            publication (on-line or not) in the free world. And, unless
            you approve of the publication of truly repugnant material,
            we all agree that censoring is a good thing, if in balance.

            However, the word "censor" is a hot button word, and you
            have been using it to create an emotional response. Apple
            is free to allow or disallow any topic they see fit. It is not
            "censoring" in the way you want us to respond. Apple
            uses their forums to provide a place to get help. Not for
            disgruntled people to vent their complaints. This is true
            for any of their forums. If you don't like their rules, don't
            go to their forums. Its a free country, you are free to start
            your own, or go to a forum that doesn't censor you. I
            would bet that if I went to the PowerBook forum mentioned
            other posts, I could get myself "censored".
          • Easy, now

            I said, several times, that I am not condemning them, but they are definately censoring dissenters. Unless you have another way that you would like to define what they are doing, or show me where we have changed the meaning of the word. Go ahead, I have no problem with it. I don't care if it's good or bad, right or wrong. It doesn't matter, because it is what it is. What have you said to counter that?

            That's right nothing. Read carefully before you decide that it's appropriate to lecture people.
          • Hilarious

            [i]Apple uses their forums to provide a place to get help[/i]
            Hmm... How can the do this exactly if they delete posts from frustrated customers who are having problems with Apple products?

            [i]If you don't like their rules, don't go to their forums. Its a free country, you are free to start your own, or go to a forum that doesn't censor you. [/i]
            Indeed it is a free country. That's why I chose not to buy Apple anymore. Nevertheless, if I were still an Apple customer and one of my products broke, and I posted on the OFFICIAL APPLE FORUMS and my post got deleted I'd be f'ing pissed. I would certainly not be DEFENDING the damn company. In fact.... that's why I don't buy Apple anymore... Imagine that!
          • There's censoring and then there's censoring

            When I go to a company's forum, it's to discuss issues I have with a product and hopefully find some help. If they delete posts regarding the problem, how would I (or anyone else) be able to share information and perhaps learn anything about a solution? Of course, since the solution seems to involve replacing hardware and possibly at their cost, I can see how Apple might want to discourage that.

            I've been to a number of forums that have included posts that trash the company's products and as long as they are not abusive, they are left in place. Ulead's, for one. Still, regardless of Apple's intent in creating such a forum, the perception is that they exist to let people seek help and information about difficulties they re having and sometimes, that means letting the company know that the problem is upsetting them. Especially when there are no user-serviceable parts involved. In today's consumer-driven economy, perception is all-important.

            Of course, I haven't seen the posts, so I can't comment on whether or not they are offensive. But Apple does have a history of not dealing with problems until it becomes a PR issue. The iPod battery failures comes to mind. I don't know if that actually was a real problem or if they just reacted to the noise being made. But they denied everything for quite some time. That isn't to say that they are always lax in acknowledging that something has gone wrong. But they do it fairly often.

            This isn't to attack Apple specifically, since Microsoft has a poor track record, too. As do many companies, especially American ones. This is to be expected. Companies aren't moral entities, they are profit-driven. But when they forget that they exist at their customer's pleasure, particularly if they provide primarily entertainment products, they risk losing it all. Apple's perch at the top of the heap in satisfaction also means that they have so much farther to fall.
          • I wonder

            Do you work at Apple? Do you have the employee manual where they state this "Standard Policy of Investigating the Issue Independently?"

            Please, since you're on the inside, t might be beneficial for them to update that policy to perhaps listen to their customers' problems, instead of ignoring them and "Investigating Independently."

            Just a suggestion!