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Thursday, September 06, 2007, 09:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET)

Jobs says Apple won't offer refunds to early iPhone adopters

Many of Apple's most loyal customers are feeling taken by the company after it announced an unprecedented 33 percent price cut on its iPhone handset after just two months on the market, but chief executive Steve Jobs in an interview Wednesday said that's just the tough luck of technology.

Asked what he would say to customers who just bought a new iPhone for $599, Jobs told USA Today that his company's move is just an unfortunately reality of the cut-throat technology world in which we all entangle ourselves.

"If they bought it this morning, they should go back to where they bought it and talk to them," he said. "If they bought it a month ago, well, that's what happens in technology."

Jobs went on to say that Apple's high-volume manufacturing will prevent it from taking a considerable hit on costs following the $200 price reduction.

"We're also willing to be more aggressive. We think we have a real winner, and customers love the iPhone," he explained. "The product's been extremely well accepted; we want to put the pedal to the metal. A holiday season is approaching; we'd have to wait another year for another one."

In the meantime, however, Apple's dramatic iPhone price cut has drawn the ire of thousands of its most faithful customers, many of which waited hours on long lines in late June to fork over what now seems to be an unreasonable fee for being amongst the iPhone elite.

In fact, the move has sparked an outright rebellion in the Apple support forums, where discussion threads filled with hate mail are piling up faster than Apple can delete them. One customer created a thread to note that Apple in a matter of hours had managed to delete over 2,200 customer complaints only to watch that very thread become victim to censorship itself.

"The more the day goes by, the more furious I become," wrote VSiskos in "1 Million People Slapped In The Face Today," one of the forum threads still standing as of Wednesday evening.

Under's Apple's standard return policy, customers who bought a product within 14 days of a price reduction can ask to be reimbursed the difference, and some Apple stores have reportedly done the same for iPhones purchased earlier than that.

But as Philip Elmer-DeWitt blogs for Business 2.0, those random acts of flexibility seem only to have further inflamed the wounded feelings of those who weren't extended the same courtesy.

"They told me to shove it," wrote tulanejosjh. "14 days or nothing."

"Same here," added jmolina1313. "The guy treated me like I was on drugs!"

Many customers seeking refunds on Wednesday reported being treated rudely, which is not something you often hear about Apple employees and quite a contrast to the scene in the same stores two months ago.

"The last time I walked into an Apple Store there were lines of employees clapping and giving high fives to congradulate us on the wise decision to buy an iPhone," wrote ck2875. "I wonder if going back for this would be similar?"