At this point, most of us have heard about the dispute between Apple and the United States Justice Department regarding development of software that can defeat the security features on the iPhone. However, this post will not discuss any of the legal, ethical, or political implications of this matter, but will instead simply and objectively look at the potential marketing implications of this dispute, which has not been highlighted as much in the media. While not as widely discussed in the media, the marketing component was recently discussed in a variety of news articles.
The premise of the marketing implications that Apple may face is largely based on public opinion. The point has been made that complying with the order would raise concerns about privacy. The defendant, Apple, argues that complying with the court order requiring them to develop software that can create what they are calling a “backdoor” into their devices, could compromise all of their devices. The prosecution, the United States Justice Department, is arguing that Apples resistance to following the court order is “based on its concern for its business model and public brand marketing strategy,” and in turn its reputation. In potentially undermining their reputation and associated aspects, Apple is concerned about how it may impact their marketing.
Apple’s concern is that these actions would potentially have a negative impact on consumer trust, and in turn, their marketing strategy. It is argued by the prosecution that Apple is concerned with their appearance if they potentially compromised privacy and security. The defense argues that Apple has incorporated privacy and security into their brand, and it is something that many customers have come to rely on. The prosecution goes on to report that Apple is more concerned with their image than what the law, through the judge’s order, is requiring them to do.
There is another point that has been addressed in relation to this matter. Apple has made very few public comments on this matter. The prosecution points out that Apple has not indicated that they do not have the technical capability to handle the task, or that doing so would be an excessive burden on the company. The only comment from Apple on this particular point was an acknowledgement that they do have the technical ability to complete the task. This is important because there is a potential of Apple hurting their reputation with the appearance of not having the technical know-how to complete the task. However, the statements of both the prosecution and the defense dispel the potential negative impacts of this premise.
What do you think about the potential marketing outcomes for Apple in this situation?
Is just the fact that Apple is generating this much attention having positive or negative marketing impacts for them?
How could Apple spin cooperation with the United States Justice Department in a positive light for their marketing?