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Apple Response to 3rd Grader's Letter: Get Lost!

Third grader Shea O'Gorman loves her iPod Nano, so when her class started learning about writing a letter, she decided to write Steve Jobs. In her letter, Shea wrote about her ideas to improve the gadget.

Three months later, she heard back ... from the big meanies at Apple's legal department telling her to shove off!

That's right, apple's legal department, telling a nine year old that apple does not accept unsolicited ideas. Apple's legal department told her not send them her suggestions, and if she wants to know why, she could read their legal policy on the Internet.

"We were stunned, we just were stunned, is the best word to say. It just wasn't the appropriate type letter to send to a third grader who had the initiative to write to them," said Shea's mom.

"It kind of seemed like they were saying well we don't want your idea like it's not good or anything," said Shea.

And her mom thinks it's even worse coming from apple. "They are a company who tries to promote itself as an educator of children. That was really, it was unacceptable. They know better than that," said Shea's mom.

CBS13 has the story: Link (with video) - via reddit


What a ridiculously incendiary slant on a story about a standard form letter. While such is to be expected from some local TV station desperate for eyeballs, what gives with Neatorama editors adding to it?
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Apples fan boy gut hurt too with neatorama publishing the news? Awww :p
Dude.. Its just a news and appled called her apologizing and is gonna change its letter reply policy, so loosen up :p
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I'm sure Bill Gates is thankful that Apple responds to suggestions that way. I suspect Shea won't be buying any more Apple products any time soon, nor will any of her friends.
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Ok so this one may tug at the heart strings and all, but there is a good reason for this. Say you write Apple a letter with your great new ideas. If Apple reads said letter and then uses some of your ideas you could potentially sue them saying they owe you for your intellectual property. They're better off just not accepting any of the ideas.

I used to work for a skateboard company that started a rag called Big Brother. Big Brother ended up making some fairly popular videos which then became Jackass. They would never watch any of the videos people sent in for just this reason.

I'm sure the lawyers could have said this to the girl in a way that didn't hurt her feelings, but come on, they're lawyers!
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Who gives a shit? It's a standard form letter. And no, I'm not an apple fan boy. Fuck macs, but it really is a slant from a local news place. It's not like they actually said "Get lost"
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Tiago,

Oh come on now, one has to be an Apple fan to find a news piece trumpeting the tragedy of receiving a standard form letter appalling? Why, I'm tempted to accuse you of being a Microsoft fanboy, except I know that Microsoft makes excellent spellcheckers a part of their programs, something you're obviously deprived of. :)
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This article and all others like it are intended to incite certain responses from its readers. Obviously we're all supposed to think how big and bad Appe is....
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If only they responded with a little more class, they could've had a customer for life. All they needed to do was word the letter better, or make her parents sign a waiver. That would be the right way to do it.

Apple worked hard to distinguish themselves as a "cool" company. They worked hard to build a loyal and passionate fan base. And it worked. You'd expect something like this from another company, but Apple? Apparently (and sadly), they're just like the rest of corporate America.
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Her parents and teacher could have used this as an opportunity to learn some things about form letters or the legal and social issues involved in intellectual property. Instead they treated her like a child and said, "Aw, did the big, mean company say a mean thing to you?"

Apple treated her like an adult, the ones trying to get her sympathy are the ones treating her like a silly child.
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In 6th grade when we had to write a letter to a famous person. The guy I picked out of the book of peoples addresses had moved. I got a return to sender stamp while the other kids got honest to god letters from their heroes. I was bummed. But I got over it with no internet stardom.

A return to sender would have worked and been a little easier of a letdown maybe.
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so here's an actual human at apple (or insert big company name here) and that human can't tell what kind of letters are what. dumb.
how to classify them? what a challenge!
a child might sue ! that was my 9 year olds idea ! i want a million. what a stupid legal climate.
easy to separate addresses out before going to the envelope stuffer and sending off the wrong form letter.
there could easily be one for kids.
there, another repeat response to an old story.
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I don't care if she was nine or ninty, corporate America needs to treat it's consumers better. Maybe a start would be to have actual people read and understand the letters coming in. A few years ago I wrote a letter of complaint to my bank. I got a form letter back that thanked me for my phone call and proceeded to address a subject that had nothing to do with what my concerns were. All you people that just want to say so what, it's our consumer dollars that made these companies what they are. Is it too much to ask that they take the time to respond appropriately to it's customers? They have every right to protect themselves legally but is anybody going to win a case against a large corporation by saying, "I sent them that idea in a letter."? Where's the proof? Apple was stupiod and insensitive.
And so what if this story is dated. I'd never heard it, so get down off your high horse and lighten up.
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This is Apple, this is how Apple has always been. Anybody who has ever had to deal with them knows this. Apple has always been a company that's real motto is "Think our way or you are uncool." Their product lines have followed this and will continue to follow this. If you need examples, iPod only works with iTunes, OS X only runs on Macs even though there is now no difference in hardware. Notice what they have done with the iPhone. Apple may make some nice products but they hate consumers.
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OK, Apple probably blew it with respect to coddling their fan base and get good PR. No argument there...

But the fact of the matter is that their response is quite typical for all technology oriented companies. Don't any of you work in engineering or product development?

Apple undoubtedly gets HUNDREDS of letters every day from all kinds of random folk with piles of ideas on how to improve Apple products. Most of these will be complete garbage from crackpots, but once in a while somebody has a good one in there (even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while). Well, it's not a certainty, but there's a good chance that Apple is ALREADY working on that innovation of invention in their own labs. When the new product comes out with "Feature X" on it and the crackpot doesn't get credit (meaning a fat check from Apple) they get pissed and sue. This used to happen all the time and still happens in most consumer technology companies. Almost all do just like Apple did and attempt to protect themselves by returning all unsolicited product ideas right to the sender IMMEDIATELY. They do not hold onto them; they do not pass them through the research department; they do not post them on bulletin boards in break rooms. They get turned around right at the mail department. It's the only way. Sorry kid. I used to work for a large autommaker and we'd have backyard inventors sending in 200 mpg carburetor ideas all the time. They all got sent back, with similar legalese attached.
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I like neatorama partially because they post some old stuff ... not everyone caught it the first time around, or it's something nostaligic that deserves reviving.

Get off neatorama's back, guys.
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Apple makes machines, they're not a babysitting company for emotionally unstable children. This "scandal" is downright stupid. Companies don't have time to be nice to people who send in ideas. Legally, it's a bad idea to even read a letter full of suggested ideas. People should understand this and understand that if you send SJ a letter you aren't going to get a handwritten response. Pretty much everybody who has responded here is in agreement, but the outrage of this girls mother is so egregiously misguided that I don't feel superfluous sounding off in protest.
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Why is anyone surprised? Isn't this the same company that when some NVidia employees leaked about the ICube(tissue dispenser) they punished the consumers by not letting them have a decent 3d card.
Besides, what can you expect from a company led by one of the biggest jerks to come out of Silicon Valley, okay so Mr. Jobs is only surpassed by Larry Ellison.
Get it through your head, Apple is the most thoroughly ungrateful company out there. If you need proof, look at their ad campaigns during the height of Microsoft funding their survival.
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Dear Little Girl in this story,

Welcome to the real world, sweetheart. Unfortunately, this is how it really happens. Your parents and the local media are lying to you if they tell you that you should be shocked or confused by this response. In the real world, after you get out of school, this is how hard it will be to get your ideas out to people. The trick is to finish your education, so that you will continue to milk your mind for ideas as well as develop the tools to make them happen.

Signed,
Jason E.
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Hey Dave Bullock, are you the same Dave Carnie that used to edit for Big Brother? I used to LOVE that mag back in the day, such hilarious stuff on there.

As far as this Apple letter goes, THEY'RE LAWYERS ... how in the hell else do you think that they're going to respond.
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oh good christ, its just a form letter. Some quota hire at Apple was probably too lazy to read the thing and threw it in the form letter respone pile. People are such oversensitive boobs nowadays.
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Does anyone really still believe that Apple is a caring sharing company that makes free lollipops out of magic pixie dust? They're a major corporation, so they're assholes like all the rest. Slightly more so, as they pretend they're not assholes. Just try and change an iPod battery by yourself.

Yeah she got sent a form letter. But why was she expecting better from Apple? If she's learning about letter-writing, then she should learn that a lot of the time, your missives are only met with cursory disdain and, increasingly, automated dismissal responses. It's not really newsworthy, is it?
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I think some people like to make a big deal of everything...

Plus, if the little girl and all the people she knew stopped buying ipods, I don't think a big company like apple would care.
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Whatever. This is yet another example of the "Entitlement Fairyland" we're living in.

"I'm in third grade, so if I write a multi-billion dollar company (with mommy's help, no doubt), the CEO should fall all over himself trying to hear my brilliant suggestions."

Get over yourself. Apple execs aren't assholes (because of this). You aren't entitled to be listened to because your 9, or because you get your face in the newspaper, or because you think you're special.

argh
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Whatever. Oh yeah.

A Cease and Desist Order is a legal document that can be enforced by a court.

From what the article said, what this girl received was a form letter which said "hey we can't accept your ideas".

These aren't the same thing. How can a news organization get away with slanting this story?
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This may be, but if I see them using my idea for an iPod nano with a thin candy coating and a chocolate center I will definitely be suing someone.
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Dear Chris,

Thank you for your recent suggestion for Neatorama. Unfortunately, our legal department is currently busy, so it may take us 3 months to get back to you with a mean letter :)
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