For Apple, there may be a downside to success. Sales of the Cupertino (Calif.) company's Macintosh machines are growing three times as fast as the overall PC market. Its iPod music player is burying the competition. And the stylish iPhone is setting the wireless industry on its head. But as Apple pulls in millions more customers with different kinds of products, it's getting harder to keep them all happy.
By broadening its share of the computer market and diving into whole new businesses, the company has become a case study in the challenges of taking a cherished brand with a devoted (some would say cult) following into the mainstream. "The customer base is now more diverse, including students and mainstream consumers, and it's harder to satisfy as a whole," says Lopo L. Rego, a marketing professor at the University of Iowa who studies the impact of customer satisfaction on financial performance.