I love my MacBook and would like to say that I couldn’t see myself ever using anything other than a Mac but there is still a little doubt about such a statement. As anyone who follows me on Twitter knows, my MacBook’s hard drive crashed a week or so ago so badly that the data is irrecoverable (all 155 GB of it) and my only real hope to avoid disaster is to access my backup of my core documents from my external drive through Time Machine. It also helps that I can recover much of my iTunes library from my iPod and my mail is all accessed via IMAP using Google Apps.
So when the final prognosis came back on my ailing MacBook I was told it would basically take about 2 to 3 weeks for a new hard drive to arrive and be installed. 2 to 3 weeks!?!? Holy moley, that seems to me to be a long time to wait for a hard drive. As I understand it these components need to be ordered from The Core Group which is the local Apple distributor and the gatekeeper of all things Apple. The problem with this is that local Apple retailers/suppliers are dependent on this company for their stocks and it can take ages to receive anything.
Because of the delay I went and ordered a new MacBook which Core apparently had in stock. I was told it would arrive either by Friday or Monday and once my preferred retailer, C3, confirmed my payment via EFT, I could pick up my spanking new MacBook and start recovering my data and get back to work using my productivity toolbox. It now turns out I will have to wait another day or two before I can collect the MacBook and start my recovery and it struck me that a Mac is probably not the ideal solution for a business because of these sorts of delays. What if I couldn’t afford to get a new MacBook while the “old” one is being repaired (actually, I can’t really afford one and had to make a plan to get back to work)? I would be stuck and losing money daily. While Macs are awesome machines and in my ideal world I would outfit my whole office with Macs, when they eventually go down (and they do … eventually), you had better have a solid backup plan (both meanings intended) or you may as well close up shop and go home for the rest of the month. It isn’t just hardware supplies that take forever. Last year I ordered the Leopard upgrade DVD and if I remember correctly it took about 2 months to get the DVD (I maintain these sorts of things should be handled by download).
It shouldn’t take more than a couple days to order, receive and test a new hard drive. It shouldn’t take a week to get a new machine. It certainly shouldn’t take 2 months to upgrade software. These sorts of delays can make it difficult to switch to a Mac because the loss of revenue that would occur while waiting for a new part would far exceed the cost of the repair/replacement and could justify simply getting off the Mac bandwagon altogether.
I was chatting to my wife about this and how I probably wouldn’t recommend a total Mac solution for a business in SA and she pointed out that if more people in SA used Macs there would probably be bigger stock levels and reduced delivery times. Even if this was true, it is a Catch 22 situation because I don’t see more businesses moving to Mac without faster response times.
(I emailed C3 to ask them why my order has been delayed further and I had a meaningful and positive response within 15 minutes to say the delay was on the supplier’s side. If only the supplier responded as quickly and as helpfully as the fantastic people at C3)
I guess this is just another example of the dangers of having a monopoly which has a small and captive audience – there is no incentive to speed up delivery times and delivery better quality services.