Earlier this week "fake Steve Jobs" (Newsweek journalist Dan Lyons) wrote a satirical tirade
against AT&T, lamenting the company's inability to adequately address iPhone bandwidth demand, and their recent comments suggesting they might impose new metered charges for iPhone users. In response, Lyons urged readers to use as much bandwidth as possible this Friday
in protest against AT&T's failure to understand that people using your product is a good thing
. As you'd expect, a fake CEO issuing a call for a real DDoS didn't amuse AT&T. The company issued a statement
calling the joke "irresponsible and pointless:"
We understand that fakesteve.net is primarily a satirical forum, but there is nothing amusing about advocating that customers attempt to deliberately degrade service on a network that provides critical communications services for more than 80 million customers. We know that the vast majority of customers will see this action for what it is: an irresponsible and pointless scheme to draw attention to a blog.
Is requesting users engage in a DDoS the best avenue of attack to make that point to AT&T? Absolutely not: a DDoS can lead to real problems with people not being able to call for emergency services (assuming the network was in the mood to connect the call in the first place). That said, apparently the effort to draw attention worked -- since a gigantic international telecom conglomerate is taking the time to respond to a fake CEO's blog post. As you'd expect, fake Steve Jobs had a response of his own
At least we didn’t rake in $40 billion in revenues and $10 billion in profit over the past nine months by selling a wireless network that doesn’t work right. And at least we’re not saying one thing in our advertising (unlimited!) and another thing when we talk to investors at Wall Street conferences.
Fake Jobs goes on to make a real point often missed: while AT&T wireless revenues have exploded, CAPEX investment back into the network has stayed the same or dropped over the last eight years -- despite
the fact that AT&T engineers predicted this looming explosion in iPhone user bandwidth demand. While AT&T still invests billions into their network, they frankly needed to invest billions more -- and certainly had the funds to do so. Instead they chose to please investors, cut corners, and as a result spent most of 2009 defending a network that for many users simply doesn't work properly.
To add insult to injury, AT&T wireless chief Ralph de la Vega last week came out with comments that seemingly blamed customers for actually using the network, and inaccurately argued the flat-rate model they've been making tens of billions of dollars off -- wasn't able to fund expansion. Of course de la Vega was talking to investors, who usually lack long-term vision. You''ll recall how the same investors whined extensively about Verizon future-proofing their network with fiber to the home, oblivious to how the investment made the company a game changer and solidified Verizon's competitive position for years to come.
As we noted during AT&T's recent 3G advertising fight with Verizon -- the best defense at this point isn't talk -- or more ads featuring Luke Wilson. The best defense is sucking it up, ignoring your myopic investors (at least up to a point), and investing the necessary money back into the network
. If investors complain, AT&T can direct angry users and satirical bloggers to their home numbers. It would save money on support costs and maybe AT&T's overworked Seth Bloom
could finally take a break. Anyone have Craig Moffett's
personal cell phone number?