Apple CEO Steve Jobs Thursday afternoon responded to a flood of complaints from existing iPhone owners over Wednesday's $200 price cut by promising the company would issue a $100 credit to anyone who bought an iPhone before the change.
"I have received hundreds of emails from iPhone customers who are upset about Apple dropping the price of iPhone by $200 two months after it went on sale," Jobs said in a statement posted to the Apple Web site.
In the open letter addressed to "all iPhone customers," Jobs defended the price cut, saying "now is the right time to do it. iPhone is a breakthrough product, and we have the chance to 'go for it' this holiday season." He also echoed -- albeit in more circumspect language -- comments made Wednesday in an interview with reporters from USA Today in which he told disgruntled owners "that's what happens in technology."
"There is always someone who bought a product before a particular cutoff date and misses the new price or the new operating system or the new whatever," Jobs said Thursday. "This is life in the technology lane."
But he tacitly acknowledged that Apple had stumbled. "We need to do a better job taking care of our early iPhone customers as we aggressively go after new ones with a lower price," Jobs said in the letter. "Our early customers trusted us, and we must live up to that trust with our actions in moments like these."
All current iPhone owners with the exception of those eligible for other rebates -- people who purchased an iPhone in the last 14 days, for example, can return it for a refund, minus a 10 percent restocking fee -- will be issued a $100 credit good either at Apple's own retail stores or its online shop, said Jobs. Details were not available, but he promised they would be posted to the Apple site next week.
"We want to do the right thing for our valued iPhone customers," he concluded. "We apologize for disappointing some of you, and we are doing our best to live up to your high expectations of Apple."
Apple's change of heart was in reaction to the overwhelmingly negative comments that iPhone owners posted to the company's own message forums -- and forums at other Web sites -- starting just minutes after the price change announcement Wednesday.