Apparently, Sprint and Samsung have run in to some issues with prepping the maintenance release for the Epic 4G that was supposed to start distribution yesterday.
I'm going to go ahead and voice the big conspiracy theory that you might be thinking. They intentionally delayed the release of this patch because they wanted customers to go past their 30 day return window. Huh? By dangling a carrot (aka the maintenance release) out in front of you, you'll be more likely to keep your phone past the 30 day mark, and therefore be unable to return it for a refund/exchange.
I'll let you read through their post after the break, and then I'll give you my comments, and you can decide for yourself.
Here's a statement from Sprint on their support forums (note: bold emphasis is mine):
We learned this evening that there were administrative issues getting this software loaded to Google's servers. We don't yet have an expected time when this will be available but will update you as soon as possible. Please see the statement below that was sent by the Sprint Product Management team:
We were planning to release an update for your Samsung Epic 4G on 9/30. The file was delivered and on track for distribution but late this afternoon, we learned that an administrative issue prevented Google from releasing the update as we had planned. We are working to resolve the issue and will provide an update as soon as we understand the new delivery schedule.
We would like to clarify that the timing of this update has nothing to do with the 30 day return window that many of you on these blogs have been discussing and that this delay has nothing to do with any last minute changes within the release package itself. The delay is simply due to an administrative issue that we are working to resolve.
The following is strictly editorial opinion.
So are they lying about it having nothing to do with the 30 day return window?
Just to throw a little gas on the conspiracy theory fire, I'd like to point out that this update came from the Sprint Product Management team. Why is that significant? Product managers are generally paid incentives based on revenue attainment goals for the particular product line they manage.
If users began returning their Epic 4G phones en masse, then the value of those phones, and likely the associated contracts, comes off of the bottom line when figuring revenue for the product. Less revenue means less incentive paid out to the product managers.
To be clear, I have no real knowledge of Sprint's compensation package for their product managers. However, even if it's not tied to revenue attainment, it would make sense that it's tied to total number of units sold or some similar metric.
The Epic 4G was launched on 8/31/2010. Today is 10/1/2010, which marks 31 full days since the release. For those of you that bought the Epic 4G on day 1 of the release, the window has already passed. However, for those who purchased on day 2 (9/2/2010) or later, there's still a chance you can take your phone back and exchange it. By delaying the release of the maintenance patch, Sprint is (possibly) hoping to entice you to keep the handset, thus moving past the return window.
Do I really believe this?
I've seen companies do a lot of shady things over the years, Sprint included. It's extremely difficult to say with any certainty what the motives were behind the delay. Let's just say that it would not surprise me if there was some discussion within the confines of Sprint HQ along the above lines yesterday. However, it's also just as likely that this delay is due to some other technical/administrative reason, as they stated.
I'd really like to hear what you guys think. Take a couple of seconds and post a comment below. I'm going to go back to reading Dan Brown novels.