How Steve Jobs Deals With Product Failures

Posted May 8, 2011

Imagine being a CEO of one of the fastest growing technology companies with one of the best brand reputations. How do you deal with product failures? Fortune gave us an inside look on how Apple CEO Steve Jobs takes care of business.

In the summer of 2008 when Apple announced the iPhone 3G, the App Store, firmware 2.0, and MobileMe, the company hit a snag. Too many of the iPhone’s existing customers tried to upgrade the firmware and on the same servers that iPhone 3G customers were activating their accounts. MobileMe did not work for several days after expected. Steve Jobs was not pleased so he called the MobileMe team to the Town Hall auditorium at Apple’s Cupertino campus and told them to be ashamed of themselves.

Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?? asked Jobs. When he received an answer from the crowd Jobs asked, ?So why the f*** doesn?t it do that?

“You’ve tarnished Apple’s reputation,” he added. “You should hate each other for having let each other down.” After lashing them, he named a new executive to run the MobileMe team.

Jobs also pointed out in the meeting that his friend Walt Mossberg, a writer for Wall Street Journal subsidiary AllThingsD, did not like the MobileMe experience. Mossberg generally favors Apple products. “Mossberg, our friend, is no longer writing good things about us,” said Jobs.