6/18/96- On February 25th of 1996, I wrote the following letter to Charles Schwab Electronic Services, in an effort to persuade them to continue developing products for the Macintosh Platform. I released this letter to the newsgroup comp.sys.mac.advocacy, and recieved 428 hits on this page from then until May 17th. I have received a couple of unofficial responses from Schwab, but I recieved the following response from an official spokesperson, and I agreed that his response seems to have resolved the issue. To be fair, I have posted his response here for people who might be just catching up to either the news article or have been sent here by word-of-mouth.
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Dear Mr. Cohen: By way of introduction, I am responsible for Schwab's electronic product development, specifically for desktop software (StreetSmart and e.Schwab). We couldn't help but notice your open letter (on the web) to Schwab regarding its lack of support for the Macintosh platform. On behalf of Schwab, let me assure you that your concerns are unnecessary. In April of this year, our customer service staff began informing interested customers that we would make two new Macintosh desktop platforms available to our users this fall - both a StreetSmart upgrade of the Mac (2.1) and an e.Schwab product (1.1). While we have not "published" this information widely (since we are in a competitive business!), we have been informing any customer who has been having service issues related to the compatibility of our current Macintosh platform with Mac OS v.7.5.2. Work on this program actually began early in the year, and, frankly, I would not have announced it until just before launch, but for the concern we have seen expressed in letters, phone calls and e-mails such as yours - clearly it was time to correct a misimpression which we were at fault for generating. In fact, Schwab stands out uniquely in the brokerage industry as the strongest supporter of Mac platforms. Not only have we made a Macintosh version of StreetSmart available since the late 1980's, we are working very hard to insure that our web customers, many of whom are Mac loyalists, have equivalent functionality to our desktop product line. Finally, we are renewing our commitment by developing stand-alone applications (as noted above) at a time when virtually all service providers are focusing 100% of their resources on web-based applications development. The Macintosh customer base has been and will continue to be a critical customer segment. We are aware of your value and are dedicated to maintaining an appropriate breadth and depth of products to service your needs. In fact, many of us in Schwab's development area are Mac users ourselves - so we really do understand. While I am disappointed that this information did not reach you through our normal service channels, I also wanted you to be aware that we are out and about on the web, and that we truly do listen to our customers - in whatever medium they wish to speak with or about us. For your reference, I am an active web user and would welcome your thoughts, concerns or comments at any time regarding our product line, upgrades and capabilities. Mburns@schwab.com Mark Burns VP/Product Development & Technology Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. Electronic Brokerage
Charles Schwab Corporate service Chairman's Division 333 Bush Street San Francisco, CA, 94104 Attn.: Software Division I am an investor with Charles Schwab, and have been very happy with your services as a discount brokerage. Due to my busy work schedule, I find it very useful to have your electronic investment software, StreetSmart, available for me to execute trades, get quotes and balance information, and request transaction information on my account 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, there is a problem that I am now having that is causing a great measure of frustration and disappointment. I own an Apple Macintosh computer , with which I use your StreetSmart software to access my Schwab Account. There was not a problem with this arrangement until recently, when the new Macintosh OS system software (version 7.5.2), and other Macintosh hardware models were released. I upgraded my system, and realized that StreetSmart was partially incompatible with those systems. The specific problems I had were the fact that the setup options under the edit menu were unavailable, and we had to spend 1.5+ hours on the phone with 3 different Schwab Electronic support representatives in order to solve the problem. When I asked if these problems would be fixed in the new StreetSmart 2.0, I was told that there were no plans to develop this product for the Macintosh platform. I asked the reason and they said that it would not be cost effective to continue to develop a product for such a limited user base. Frankly, I am disturbed. This is a response I would expect from a software developer, but Schwab is not a software developer. It is the business of Charles Schwab, Inc. to satisfy the needs of their investment customers. I am not satisfied with this response. At a time when there are many investment brokerage houses vying for my business, there is no reason for me to stay with a firm that will not support my needs, merely because we are not part of the majority. I am forwarding this letter to a number of Macintosh user groups, on-line services, and mailing lists in the hopes that they will compose their own letters to you, to show you how many of your clientele (and prospective customers!) are being "snubbed" by your refusal to develop software for the Macintosh platform. I eagerly await your response, which I hope will be informing me of your decision to begin work on this anxiously awaited product. Thank you for your attention, [your name here] Schwab Account # -[include your account # with any correspondence]