Antennagate Lesson: Only the Consumer Matters

I held off commenting on the Apple iPhone 4 “Antennagate” situation as long as I could, but it’s everywhere I turn. My local news on TV this morning was showing clips of Steve Jobs’ speech yesterday, bringing the current situation to the masses. I have followed everything about this unfolding tech drama closely, and the message I got from Jobs yesterday matches what I have said for years. It doesn’t matter what the techerati say or think about a given technology or gadget. Ultimately the only opinion that matters is the consumer’s.

That may sound trite but Apple (s aapl) understands that better than any company. That underlying message was bubbling to the surface throughout Jobs entire presentation about the iPhone 4 antenna problem. We want everyone to love our products, but the only opinion that matters is the customer’s. They are the ones who buy the products, they are the ones who use them and show their friends. Most importantly, they are the ones who will buy our products in the future based on the experience of ownership from each of our products.

The numbers prove this philosophy. The iPhone 4 problem has been all over the news for weeks, yet as Jobs pointed out Apple is selling as many phones as they can make. Customers are snapping them up in spite of the major controversy, and are keeping the phones. The press and tech bloggers may crucify Apple for the iPhone problems, but people are not hesitating to put their money on the table.

No matter what you think about Antennagate, or about Apple as a company — customers love them, love their products, and buy them in massive quantities. Jobs understands better than anyone that this is what matters. Is the antenna problem a deal breaker? For some it surely is, but for the majority of customers obviously not. This is ultimately what matters, not good press.

Related research on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): To Win In the Mobile Market, Focus On Consumers