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Apple announces another G4 order policy

Fourth change of mind in as many days

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Updated Apple's attempts to take control of what has rapidly become a PR gaffe of monumental proportions took yet another turn last night when interim CEO Steve Jobs announced the company's fourth policy on shipping already-ordered Power Mac G4s to customers in almost as many working days. Now, said Jobs, Apple will honour orders from customers who ordered 400 and 450MHz Power Macs before the company's decision to downgrade its product line from 400, 450 and 500MHz machines to 350, 400 and 450MHz models. When the downgrade was announced, as part of last week's fiscal Q4 results, it emerged all outstanding orders for G4s would be cancelled and would-be owners of the new machine would have to re-order. After protests, Apple's direct sales operation, AppleStore, emailed customers and promised that existing 400 and 450MHz orders would be fulfilled. Only orders for 500MHz machines would be changed, either to a 450MHz machine with the same congfiguration as before, all for $350 off the retail price, or a new configuration 450MHz Power Mac with an extra 128MB of RAM. Last Friday, Apple changed its mind again, claiming that such was the supply of PowerPC 7400 (aka G4) processors that all but a handful of orders would, in fact, need to be replaced. And now we have Jobs saying, yes, we can honour existing orders after all. Go figure... So, all orders submitted before 13 October "will be honoured at the originally quoted prices, including those placed with the company's resellers", Apple said. What brought about the change? According to reports, not only further complaints from understandably indignant customers, but the threat of a number of class action lawsuits. "We apologise to our customers for upsetting and disappointing them during this past week," said Jobs. "Our actions today will hopefully set things right." Meanwhile, British buyers appear to have been left out in the cold. An employee of one London-based reseller told Web site MacFixIt: "As of close of day on Friday, it would seem the policy on old orders has only been changed in the US. We could get no information out of Apple regarding if the change would affect the UK. We certainly weren't phoned to say reinstate your old orders." We hope that this time Apple has finally made its mind up. Hopefully made its mind up. Er... maybe made its mind up... ®

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