The problem with success is that it breeds customers, if you're a vendor. With customers come questions and concerns. Invariably, having lots of customers, including non-techie customers, means that the polish on a company can be smudged.
Such may be Apple's fate as it grows at a torrid pace, adding a range of Microsoft customers that bring with them lowest-common denominator questions and technical support issues.
By broadening its share of the computer market and diving into whole new businesses, the company has become a case study in the challenges of taking a cherished brand with a devoted (some would say cult) following into the mainstream. "The customer base is now more diverse, including students and mainstream consumers, and it's harder to satisfy as a whole," says Lopo L. Rego, a marketing professor at the University of Iowa who studies the impact of customer satisfaction on financial performance.… Read more