Apple just released a bunch of new products, including iPods and an upgraded iPhone. But for many people, the new iPhone price cut was more significant than Apple's splashy product announcements. By significantly lowering the iPhone price so soon after its introduction, Apple alienated legions of loyal early adopters. You know the ones: they stand outside Apple stores in rain and sun, waiting to buy new products created by STEVE. These loyal followers felt they were getting royally screwed by Apple, having paid a couple hundred bucks extra just two months earlier.
In response to growing criticism, Steve Jobs has placed an apologetic open letter to iPhone owners prominently on the Apple web site. The apology includes store credit for folks who purchased the iPhone at its earlier high price. From the letter:
To all iPhone customers:
I have received hundreds of emails from iPhone customers who are upset about Apple dropping the price of iPhone by $200 two months after it went on sale. After reading every one of these emails, I have some observations and conclusions.
Therefore, we have decided to offer every iPhone customer who purchased an iPhone from either Apple or AT&T, and who is not receiving a rebate or any other consideration, a $100 store credit towards the purchase of any product at an Apple Retail Store or the Apple Online Store. Details are still being worked out and will be posted on Apple's website next week. Stay tuned.
We want to do the right thing for our valued iPhone customers. We apologize for disappointing some of you, and we are doing our best to live up to your high expectations of Apple.
What does this have to do with failed IT projects? Simple: do the right thing and most every time you'll come out ahead. When you make a mistake, acknowledge it and find a way to rectify it. If the CEO of Apple can do this publicly, then certainly we mere mortals can follow his example. It's good business, it makes sense, and it will build your long-term credibility. Do the right thing and your projects will succeed.