Greed iPodified 21 Oct 2005

59 comments Latest by ukai

So, there’s been a class action lawsuit filed against Apple on behalf of all iPod Nano owners. They claim that because the iPod nano scratches easily they not only deserve their money back but also “a share of the company’s profits on the music player’s sales. This is a great example of taking a valid claim and turning it into something ridiculous. And that’s the American way (at least when lawyers are involved).

59 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Anonymous Coward 21 Oct 05

They deserve a share of profits because … of their severe emotional distress that resulted from scratching of their ipod nano.

James 21 Oct 05

The severe emotional distress from scratching of their ipod ego, er, I mean, nano. :)

And if everyone got their money refunded, doesn’t that equate to getting ALL of the profits from their particular sale? If they’re wanting a refund as well as a share of the profits from sales outside of their class, you’re right, that’s ridiculous.

Jamie 21 Oct 05

I don’t agree with this lawsuit, but is this an indication that there was no Industrial Design QA? I mean we always hear about software QA. But what about product design QA? Did they do it? If so, don’t you think they would have uncovered the scratch problem?

not my real name 21 Oct 05

I bought a nano fully expecting it to get scratched. Both iPods I had prior to the nano got pretty darned scratched up before I was done with them.

Just LOOKING at the nano, you can tell that it’s going to get scratched up pretty bad, pretty easily. However, from my point of view, am I looking for an unscratchable piece of pretty plastic and metal, or am I looking for something to spend $250 on that actually serves a purpose?

Amazingly, despite the scratches on my nano, the sound quality is unaffected.

Oh, and the only qualm I have with Apple over the nano is not that they didn’t make the damn thing scratch-proof, only that they released it without having ANY kind of protective sleeve either included with the product, or for sale at the time of launch. That’s bad form, I believe.

beth 21 Oct 05

I want to know what kind of fool makes a $200+ investment in a piece of electronics and doesn’t shell out the extra $20 or so to protect it?

Not a lawyer 21 Oct 05

Lawyer-bashing? That’s just high-school morality. The American way is contrarian, struggle strengthens the country. And lawsuits are the way the system struggles. So the more lawsuits, the better off the country is in the long-run. What would you prefer they do, get guns and go shoot Steve Jobs? Is that the “American Way”?

Jeff Koke 21 Oct 05

I agree that lawyer bashing is kind of juvenile. My wife is an attorney. She handles municipal bond structuring for developers who want to build low-income housing. It’s unglamorous, tedious work that results in better housing for poor people.

The vast majority of lawyers are not involved in litigation, and of those only a small percentage do plaintiff’s work. They just get all the press because of high-profile lawsuits. It’s pretty ridiculous to brand “lawyers” as greedy and immoral because of the actions of a few practitioners of a small part of the legal field.

JF 21 Oct 05

I’m all for being a contrarian, but asking Apple for a percentage of profits because your iPod nano is scratched is the work of lawyers.

JF 21 Oct 05

And of course all lawyers aren’t bad. Do I have to preface *everything* by saying “This doesn’t apply to everyone” or “It depends?” When I post I assume reasonable people understand I’m trying to make a specific point and of course I don’t think everything applies to everyone in every case. Come on.

Andrew Knott 21 Oct 05

I don’t think Jason said all lawyers are bad. He just said it was the American way that lawyers do this kind of thing… It’s true, stop being so sensitive.

Andy 21 Oct 05

@Not a lawyer -> surely, you’ve *got* to be kidding. You cannot seriously think that living in a more litigious society counts as progress.

Anyway, this lawsuit beggars belief. So can I sue Ford if I scratch my paint job when I park my car badly? Duh, maybe you should have looked after your nano better.
They don’t have a hope in hell.

Chris S 21 Oct 05

Lawyer-bashing? That�s just high-school morality.

Not only that, I’ll be he’s even a rabid anti-dentite!

Dave Simon 21 Oct 05

Are these people going to sue GM, Ford, VW, etc. because their car gets a scratch when they park it in a parking lot?

Putting your nano in your pocket without a nano-condom is just asking for it to get scratched.

Colin 21 Oct 05

For Andy and all those criticizing Nano owners,

I have owned every generation of iPod that has come out. I keep my iPod in a felt bag with the headphones when not in use. When in use, it is generally in a jacket or shirt pocket with no other items. My black Nano scratched more in the first week under special care than any other iPod I have owned has under normal conditions.

There is a manufacturing problem with the Nano. Notice that Apple has chosen to include a slipcase with the iPod video. I don’t want Apple’s profits, I just want a recall or trade-in.

Olly 21 Oct 05

This sort of thing *really* annoys me. Why on earth should they get a slice of Apple’s profits? What have they done to deserve it, apart from whinge and moan about there iPod getting scratched?!

What a load of cock.

Mark 21 Oct 05

Could it be that because of Apple’s history of cult like following to their products and brands, the seeking of profits is not so much out of greed, but more to send a message to the company that the public is concerned that a trend in sub-par quality might be developing?

Also, regarding the scratches and the comparison to car paint. Do you recall the video when Jobs’ pulled the unprotected nano from his jeans pocket? Wouldn’t that imply a certain level of quality and / or sustainability of the screen that’s apparently not being met in reality?

I think it’s this same thinking behind automobile tv commericials - professional driver, closed course, do not attempt…

Has Apple’s advertising — or even the preview video — implied the Nano can withstand “life” better than it actually does?

John Y. 21 Oct 05

As a Nano owner, I’d say the iPod Nano withstands life pretty well. I don’t find that it’s scratched appreciably more than other plastic small electronics that I use or have used in a similar way (cellular phone, PDA, etc.). Those scratches it has acquired don’t in any way hinder my ability to use the product.

Further, if somebody expects something they buy to remain completely flawless, it would be wise to keep it in some kind of protective case. Let’s not be silly, people. Plastic will scratch; that’s life. Either take preventative steps or stop whining.

pwb 21 Oct 05

John and Beth, sorry but I disagree. The nano is my fifth iPod and it scratches much more easily. I have not purchased protection for any of my other iPods, nor for the several cell phones I have owned, Blackberry, etc. Apple screwed this one up. A major selling point of the nano is it’s aesthetics.

G. ETOVERIT 21 Oct 05

I bet they win. I bet just to keep it out of the news Apple will settle somehow. It’s a stupid lawsuit… stuff get’s scratched, get over it.

JF 21 Oct 05

There are two issues here.

1. The Nano scratches more easily. That’s certainly possible and Apple should address this.
2. The class action lists that people should get a piece of Apple’s profits. That’s wrong.

Colin 21 Oct 05


Just to play devil’s advocate…let’s say Apple knew about the problem before they shipped or shortly after. They are refusing to acknowledge the problem for fear that it will dampen Nano sales, but have fixed the problem in Nanos now being manufactured.

Punitive damages in cases like this, such as “percentage of sales”, are intended to insure that companies do not treat customers and product support merely as a cost equation (ie: only make it right if recall cost

Colin 21 Oct 05

is less than estimated sales loss + legal cost). If it takes suing Apple to make them publicly recognize a “known” flaw, then merely making ammends is not good enough at that point.

Mark 21 Oct 05

Why is it wrong in your opinion? Thanks to this same public, Apple’s profits have quintupled and quadrupled over the past couple of quarters. Now it appears that Apple is getting lazy and producing slip-shod products. Why wouldn’t the public want a piece of the profits they handed Apple back in addition to the cost they paid for the products?

Again, I think it is to send a message to the Board that they probably otherwise would ignore if it was just a “refund their money” type deal.

I don’t know. I don’t own a Nano, just trying to promote continuation of the discussion.

brad 21 Oct 05

I don�t agree with this lawsuit, but is this an indication that there was no Industrial Design QA?

Apple pretty much sucks at QA/QC, both in the design phase and manufacturing stage. Just go to a site like Macintouch and look at all the problems people have reported, some of them related to design (e.g., iPod nano scratches and the infamous non-functional PowerBook screen latches) and some of them related to manufacturing defects (e.g., 40% failure rate of first generation G5 iMacs). I’ve owned six Macs since the 1980s and all of them either came with serious hardware defects or developed them within a couple of years. In fact the only Apple product I’ve owned that has so far been trouble-free is my iPod. This in contrast to the two IBM ThinkPads that I’ve owned that have been absolutely rock-solid in terms of hardware quality and reliability (if only they ran OSX and didn’t look so damn ugly I’d be happy!)

So while this group’s claim for a share of Apple’s profits is ridiculous, I think overall these lawsuits are a good thing if they force Apple to take quality control more seriously.

Darrel 21 Oct 05

I’m missing the ‘problem’ here. Pretty much everything I own that is made of plastic scratches if I shove it in and out of bags, pockets, across desks, in boxes, etc.

My 3 year old TiBook looks like shit. Why? Because I use it. Still works great, though.

Darrel 21 Oct 05

Apple pretty much sucks at QA/QC, both in the design phase and manufacturing stage. Just go to a site like Macintouch and look at all the problems people have reported,

Go to *any* vendor-specific fan-site and look at all the problems people report.

Chris D 21 Oct 05

Being Canadian, I’m not used to this lawsuit happy culture.
However, reading this caused me some emotional distress and I feel that 37s should be giving me a percentage of their sales as punitive damages. :P

beth 21 Oct 05

PWB, every phone, discman, minidisc player, camera, or electronic gadget i’ve ever tried carrying around on a regular basis has gotten scuffs and scratches, no matter how durable and rugged. Whether or not the Nano is more susceptible to scratches, it’s should just be common sense to get some sort of protective case with it.

Not a lawyer 21 Oct 05

Guys, they didn’t GET the profits, they are suing to get them. They’ll probably lose the suit and even if they win, they won’t get a share of profits (most likely). Have some confidence in the system, it generally works very well. People who argue things shouldn’t be tried are the types of people who argue against progress. If they lose, it sets a legal precedent, that’s progress!

And yes, a more litigious society is a healthy society. Less litigious implies oppression. We live in a country where David can fight Goliath. Unless you’re arguing that the big corporations rule and the small guy shouldn’t be allowed to fight, the ONLY alternative to more lawsuits is vigilanteism.

sixtoe 21 Oct 05

That’s it. I’m suing Microsoft for scratching my soul.

Not a lawyer 21 Oct 05

FWIW, my nano does have scratches but no more than my cell phone and WAY less than my original iPod. It’s my understanding that these scratch-prone nanos were 1% of 1% of all the units made, which Apple already agreed to replace. Apple has done all it could, IMO. And that’s why this guy will lose his lawsuit.

Bryan Warhold 21 Oct 05

People are just too vindictive.

James 21 Oct 05

If someone were suing Microsoft for the same sort of thing, there wouldn’t be near as much noise being made over the issue.

Dan Boland 21 Oct 05

And yes, a more litigious society is a healthy society.

Maybe more than none, but what about all the frivolous lawsuits that are clogging up courts? Or when people file lawsuits to purposefully bankrupt an adversary?

Craig 21 Oct 05

Yet another reason to go with competitors over iPod :D My Zen Touch used to get scratched all the time but my new iAudio X5 with its scratchproof materials is great and looks as good as new a month on.

Lisa 21 Oct 05

2. The class action lists that people should get a piece of Apple�s profits. That�s wrong.

So true. What is wrong with people? Why do people think they deserve something for nothing? Because your nano scratched you should get a part of a company’s profits? I can see getting your money back for the product, but come on!

The people that file these lawsuits think they are going to get something big out of it. 99% of the time, what happens is that the law firms make millions off the case and the people on whom they are filing on the behalf of get very little…oftentimes after years of litigation.

Not a lawyer 21 Oct 05

To Dan Boland, define “frivolous”. What’s frivolous to you may not be frivolous to me and vice versa. And the beauty of the system is that there doesn’t need to be an objective standard for “frivolous” because our justice system determines it the correct way: in court. That’s why there’s hearings before the actual case, where a judge determines whether it goes to trial. “Frivolous” cases never make it to court. The (in)famous hot coffee lawsuit many people use as an example was actually not frivolous if you look at the case evidence (and given that McDonald’s lost, it’s hard to argue that it was frivolous).

The “clogging up our court system” argument is the argument that Republicans use to push tort reform to protect corporations from lawsuits.

Show me the cases where someone filed a lawsuit to bankrupt a competitor. Sounds like urban legend.

NotDumbLikeYou 21 Oct 05

By the way, the vast majority of animosity directed towards lawyers is a result of ambulance chasing, regulation through litigation, and frivolous class-action suits.

Stop whining about how admirable lawyers are, and how hard they toil. When we say, “Lawyers are bloodsucking whores” we are not referring to public defenders or defenders of our freedoms.

We’re calling attention to lawyers that burden our society and our civil justice system. Those who get 600 Million dollars in a class-action suit while the victims get a $5 coupon (off the purchase of another product from the company that screwed them in the first place.)

SvN is fast becoming unbearable (due to the comments, not the posts as some of you might argue.) Maybe it’s time to turn them off, or simply discuss a narrower range of topics. I’m really not interested in the opinions of “fans of 37S” on anything, especially social and political issues.

Got any good tidbits about interface design? UI development? Running a small business?

Darrel 21 Oct 05

Yet another reason to go with competitors over iPod

To each their own, of course, but I didn’t rank surface scratches as a high criteria in my decision process.

Anonymous 21 Oct 05

I�m really not interested in the opinions of �fans of 37S� on anything, especially social and political issues

but 1.) you took the time to click on “Jump to latest” or 2.) scroll through, maybe even read, the opinions of “fans of 37s”

after which you posted your opinion? the last time i checked nobody had a gun to their head to even look at these opinions nor post an opinion.

Not a lawyer 21 Oct 05

Jason, imagine I posted a complaint about a web site and I ended it with this:

“This is a great example of taking a good site and turning it into something ridiculous. And that�s the internet way (at least when web designers are involved).”

Do you take that as a criticism of one specific web designer or all web designers? You later claimed that reasonable people should understand that you were not talking about all lawyers. You preach about the importance of clear language on web sites, you should understand when your own language is unclear.

pwb 21 Oct 05

Beth, did you read my post? I’ve had at least 10 other mobile devices that don’t scratch as easily as my nano. Please explain to me why only the nano should merit a case?

Jason 21 Oct 05

Any word on when the BASECAMP look/feel refresher will happen. It’s Friday and I’ve been excited/waiting all week for it.

pwb 21 Oct 05

Walt Mossberg: “I have never tested or owned any portable electronic device that picked up as many scratches as quickly as the iPod nano.”

John revel 21 Oct 05

My 3 year old TiBook looks like shit. - Darrel

My 3 day old Nano looks like shit

A Noonie Moose 21 Oct 05

I have owned every generation of iPod that has come out.


Lisa 21 Oct 05

People, chill out…so much negativity.

If you are so angry with 37s for posting such posts, I’m sure there are posts you are interested in reading somewhere else.

Although I must say, they are amusing :)

Anonymous Coward 21 Oct 05

And of course all lawyers aren�t bad. Do I have to preface *everything* by saying �This doesn�t apply to everyone� or �It depends?� When I post I assume reasonable people understand I�m trying to make a specific point and of course I don�t think everything applies to everyone in every case. Come on.

Thank god someone finally said this in regards to discussion. Why is there a god damn need for people to demand the speaker to tell everyone, what everyone already knows, that there’s always a percentage in everything. Just because you don’t have a valid response in the debate doesn’t make this idiotic statement valid.

Don Wilson 21 Oct 05

That was me ^

Colin 21 Oct 05

At this time, Apple has agreed to replace the cracked screen problem, not the scratch-prone problem.

Swati 22 Oct 05

Oh wow. So according to some people on this post, anyone who has ever “jokingly” or “lightly” said any lawyer jokes or stereotypes…should be bashed very heavily…

He he, some people are so amusing.

adam 22 Oct 05

I loves me some lawsuits! I went out today and bought a nano just so I could get in on this sweet action. Of course, at the same time, I bought a case for it to keep it from getting scratched, cause I want to have my cake and eat it too.

Anonymous 23 Oct 05

Obviously, this will never happen. Lawyers have to make a large suggestion at first for damages, so they can negotiate downward.

Often times in law suits, you sue for $100 million because you’re capping your damages … only expecting to really recover $1 mil or $100,000 or $10.

It’s a lawsuit with merit … it looks funny that they are demanding what they are demanding, but they will wind up settling for less … like a replacement programme.

Mike 23 Oct 05

Talk about greed?!? Who is greedy here, the people expecting a good solid product or Apple for producing the umpteenth variety of an iPod to squeeze the last dollar out of their market share?

Tim 24 Oct 05

A bit off-topic, but my iPod nano (not scratched) froze yesterday and I’m not able to sync it anymore..
I called Apple, and after a few questions they told me they are going to replace it within a week… this is what I call Customer Service… thanks Apple.

Darrel 24 Oct 05

It�s a lawsuit with merit

Well merit was never really a prerequisite for winning a lawsuit, but, really? There’s merit? My Honda is scratched to hell…even a spot of rust! Can I sue?

Shit scratches. Get over it.

Who is greedy here, the people expecting a good solid product or Apple for producing the umpteenth variety of an iPod to squeeze the last dollar out of their market share?

Well, both are greedy. One’s just using a more acceptable approach. And I can’t blame Apple…every time I go into the Apple store, in the span of the 20 minutes or so I’m in there I see a half dozen people walk in, ask for a specific iPod, and walk out with a new one. I can’t believe how fast they’re selling those things.

beth 24 Oct 05

PWB: I do get your point. It sucks that the Nano scratches more quickly than other devices. The point I was trying to make, however, is that any expensive piece of electronics warrants proper care (a case.)

Does this mean someone with a scratched iPod is entitled to Apple’s profits? No. Does this mean the customers are entitled to a refund? Maybe. If I were Apple I’d eat ithe cost and exchange them to keep my customers happy.

pwb 24 Oct 05

any expensive piece of electronics warrants [a case].
NO, NO, NO!!!! Why do you think that?

ukai 03 Jan 06

The 5G video scatches as bad as the nano. What i don’t understand is some people say the scratching get so bad you cant see through them, but after the start to scratch why not then realize you need a case. Anyway,
I can sympathize with everyone because I have had a cracked screen problem similar to the ipod nano cracked screen problem. (it seemed as if it occured for almost no reason while in my pocket, I know something must have caused it but whatever it was was not a very large stress) And, I have found that the people at Apple tech service and customer service can be real A-holes. Class action lawsuits are B.S. because they just make a lawyer rich and the real victims get little. If you care enough about the issue don’t sign on to the class action suit and instead sue them yourself at your local justice of the peace.