b. As you might expect, I have received numerous replies to yesterday's item on this subject - almost all of it negative. Several readers commented that their Apple product came with a promise of free support that Apple now appeared to be breaking. A few readers noted that they would be more willing to consider playing for SOS-APPL support if the advice given was more competent (some anecdotal SOS-APPL horror stories were included here). Some readers simply felt this was a bad marketing decision (losing an advantage that Apple computers had over the competition) and/or another example of Apple's arrogance towards its customers. My view is that, for better or for worse, Apple is simply trying to save money. But it looks like Apple will take a lot more flak over this in the days ahead.
Update: A reader who wishes to remain anonymous reminds me that (as reported in MacWEEK recently), Apple has also cut back the hours of its support. "Effective Saturday, March 1, 1997, Apple will begin to offer 5x12 (five-day, 12-hour; 6 am to 6 pm PT) telephone service on its technical support line for customers who purchase computers in the consumer channel (e.g., Performas).