iPhone Rebates & Power Of The People

[qi:020] The $200-price cut announced by Apple (AAPL) yesterday turned into a bit of a PR disaster for the company. The cuts penalized the fanboys (including yours truly) for being early adopters, and prompted iPhone owners to express their outrage across the web and beyond. In an interview in USA Today, Steve Jobs remarked:

That’s technology. If they bought it this morning, they should go back to where they bought it and talk to them. If they bought it a month ago, well, that’s what happens in technology.

Now there’s a way to annoy the people who have stuck by the company through thick and thin. Today, realizing that Apple’s goodwill was at risk, Jobs announced a $100 credit to all early iPhone buyers, promising to do the right thing.

Is it really the right thing? Not in the classic sense, because unlike the 14-day-returnees, you aren’t getting cash back. It’s a sop, really — albeit an admittedly good-natured one — since the $100 you get back is only good for another Apple product.

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.

I wonder if Steve Jobs’ open letter, and the $100 credit, would have happened in another time when social media tools weren’t as prevalent as they are today. Regardless, the good thing is, Apple listened.

Update: Dave Winer doesn’t want the money; just a T-Shirt