While RIM’s costs rise, Apple’s costs fall. And while other smartphone makers have reported high warranty costs, Nokia’s are only half as high. Is there something about being small and smart that drives up warranty costs?
While handheld mobile computers, phones and electronics in general seem to have higher warranty costs than their tethered cousins, it’s not true for every company.
A reader asked why Research In Motion Ltd. seemed to have much higher warranty costs than either Apple Inc. or Nokia Corp. The quick answer is that it’s a matter of complexity of design, features, and capabilities, as well as the manufacturer’s position, if any, in the extended warranty market.
But of course, there’s much more to the story than that.
iPhone vs. BlackBerry
The reader who prompted this long-winded explanation, however, had a more specific comparison in mind. He wanted to know why RIM’s smartphone warranty costs were so much higher than Apple’s smartphone warranty costs. He wasn’t asking about smart vs. dumb or consumer vs. commercial customers. He was asking about BlackBerry vs. iPhone.
Apple’s warranty costs over 37 quarters, ending with the first quarter of 2012. And depending upon which data series you look at — claims or accruals — you could say that Apple’s warranty costs are either drifting down to one percent or slowly rising to 1.5%. Whichever it is, they’re a long way from five or six percent.