Apple Update

Petition demands Apple fix MacBook Pro graphics woes

Passes 10K signatures, part of long-running campaign to get Apple to fix bad video cards in 2011 laptops

A petition started last year that urges Apple's CEO to recall older MacBook Pro laptops to fix a graphics problem has passed the 10,000-signature mark, part of an ongoing effort by customers to get Apple to step up.

"Everyone who bought a macbook pro spent a huge premium to buy macbook pro's [sic] and did not expect to have a manufacturing defect," the introduction to the Change.org petition reads. "This issue had made a 2500$ investment a piece of junk in 2 years. We do not buy Apple products with this in mind."

The petition was launched late last year by Raj Dsouza of Sydney, Australia. As of Monday, it had more than 10,300 signatures. The petition's goal: 15,000.

Addressed to CEO Tim Cook and Craig Federighi, the senior vice president in charge of software engineering -- and thus not really the right person to pester at Apple for a hardware malfunction -- was short and to the point.

"Replace or Fix All Early 2011 Macbook Pro with Graphics Failure," it read.

The petition was only part of a long-running campaign by MacBook Pro owners with notebooks they purchased in 2011. Those 15-in. and 17-in. laptops came with both an integrated graphics chipset made by Intel and a discrete graphics processor unit (GPU), either Advanced Micro Devices' Radeon HD 6490M or 6750M. The larger-screen MacBook Pros were priced starting at $1,799 (15-in.) and climbed to $2,499 (17-in.).

Apple refreshed the MacBook Pros in February 2011; two years later, a now-enormous discussion thread on Apple's support forum kicked off.

"As of two days ago, the problem has become substantially more severe," wrote abelliveau on Feb. 1, 2013, in the thread's opening message. "The computer was working fine, when all of a sudden the screen [went] completely blue. I had to force restart the computer. Since then, the screen has gone awry on numerous occasions -- each time necessitating a hard reset."

That thread has grown to include more than 7,800 messages, and has been viewed an amazing 1.1 million times. By any measurement, but especially for an Apple support thread, that's massive with a capital "M."

On the thread, users have traded horror stories of their MacBook Pros' graphics breakdowns, swapped tales of trying to get Apple to repair the notebooks -- sometimes with success, many times without -- and raked the Cupertino, Calif. company over the coals.

In some cases, MacBook Pro owners said that Apple or a reseller had replaced the system's logic board multiple times under their AppleCare or third-party warranties, or because of national or regional consumer protection laws.

Messages on the thread continued to accumulate Monday.

"Add my MBPro to the list!" chimed in llhjunk1 yesterday. "It just crapped out today. Started with blocks of pixels blacking out on external monitor. Shut down unit, rebooted with nothing plugged into the computer, noted horizontal lines throughout initial screen and if it boots through, next screen is deep blue with colored lines."

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