Forgive And Forget? 10 Famous Tech Apologies10:00 AM EST Tue. Nov. 27, 2012
Just because you're worth big bucks doesn't mean you can't make mistakes. Unfortunately, the tech companies featured here learned that the hard way.
Whether for a security breach, a product that just fell flat, or a PR stunt gone horribly, horribly wrong, here are 10 famous tech apologies -- and a glimpse into the mishaps that caused them.
A typical Apple product launch is marked by sprawling lines of shoppers and glowing reviews. But when the company debuted its new Maps app in iOS 6, this wasn't exactly the case.
The app, which was meant to replace the native Google's Maps app for iPhones and iPads, was found by many users to be buggy and inaccurate. It also mislabeled major city milestones, suggesting the Boston Garden entertainment arena, for example, was an actual garden.
Apple CEO Tim Cook posted an apology for the faulty app on Apple's website, stating: "We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better."
Microsoft had to apologize to customers this June after things got weird during a dance routine at one of its developer events in Norway.
The routine, which was meant to be a plug for Microsoft's Azure cloud platform, was brimming with sexual references that would make even the most lax PR manager cringe. After the event, Frank Shaw (pictured), head of corporate communications for Microsoft, apologized to customers via Twitter.
"This routine had vulgar language, was inappropriate and was just not ok," Shaw wrote. "We apologize to our customers and partners."
In what ended up being one several Research In Motion PR blunders over the past year, former RIM co-CEOs Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie apologized to millions of customers in October 2011 after a massive BlackBerry service outage spanned the globe.
Lazaridis and Balsillie also offered free premium BlackBerry apps and technical support to customers affected by the outage, which was the largest in RIM's history. Service, for some customers, was lost for as long as three days, with the outage affecting parts of Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the U.S. and Canada.
When a couple of keen-eyed reporters from The Verge tuned in to Nokia's Lumia 920 smartphone launch, they noticed something strange: the reflection of a full-fledged video camera in a film that was supposedly captured by the Lumia 920's new camera.
Turns out, Nokia's film wasn't shot with the Lumia 920 at all -- it was shot with that high-end camera spotted by the folks over at The Verge. Once word got out, Nokia came clean and asked for forgiveness.
"This [video] was not shot with a Lumia 920. At least, not yet," wrote Heidi Lemmetyinen, editor-in-chief of Nokia's official blog, in the post. "We apologize for the confusion we created."
When Google accidentally released its not-so-rosy third-quarter earnings several hours early this year, its shares dropped by more than 9 percent. And CEO Larry Page (pictured) felt he owed investors an apology.
"Sorry for the scramble earlier today," Page said at the opening of the company's official earnings call.
Google attributed the premature release to a mistake by R.R. Donnelley, which later said it was participating in an investigation of the cause.
LinkedIn's claim to fame is being a sophisticated, business-savvy social networking platform, but that reputation was blemished this June when millions of its users' passwords were compromised.
According to reports, a Russian hacker stole more than 6 million passwords from the site, and even posted them online as a testament to his hacking skills. All affected users were asked to update their passwords and were issued an apology from LinkedIn.
"We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused our members. We take the security of our members very seriously," wrote LinkedIn Director Vicente Silveira in a company blog post.
Sony had to apologize for its own large-scale security breach last April, when more than 70 million login credentials for its PlayStation gaming console, along with personal user information including emails, birth dates and billing addresses, were compromised.
In addition to issuing a formal apology, Sony offered impacted customers free PlayStation downloads and access to premium games in an attempt to make amends.
In March 2011, Intuit's cloud-based services for SMBs, including QuickBooks Online and Intuit Payment Solutions, came crashing down, frustrating the droves of users who rely on these services to run their businesses.
The service failures technically only spanned three days, but some businesses had trouble tapping into Intuit's solutions for nearly a week.
Intuit owned up to the fact that the outage was likely sparked by human error during scheduled maintenance operations. An apology was issued to patch things up: "This was a disappointing week, both for you and for Intuit," said Kiran Patel, executive vice president and general manager for Intuit's Small Business Group, on the company's website. "And yes, that may be an understatement."
Intuit isn't the only cloud provider guilty of an outage. Amazon has a couple outages under its belt, actually, but one of the biggest happened in April 2011 when its Elastic Compute Cloud and Relational Database Service went kaput, dragging down with it popular sites including Foursquare, HootSuite and Reddit.
The outage lasted four days. Amazon issued a formal apology (buried at the bottom of a lengthy document explaining the cause of the crash) to its affected customers.
"Last, but certainly not least, we want to apologize," the document read. "We know how critical our services are to our customers' businesses and we will do everything we can to learn from this event and use it to drive improvement across our services."
Some apologies are more sincere than others. Just ask Samsung.
After a U.K. judge ruled in October that Samsung didn't infringe on Apple's designs for the iPad, Apple was court-ordered to publicly apologize to its rival. But instead of crafting a heartfelt plea for Samsung's forgiveness, Apple posted a snarky, half-apology (at best) on its U.K. website, which basically just rehashed the court's findings.
The judge almost immediately demanded Apple try again, which resulted in a new, still-questionable, notice that apparently was OK'd by the court: "On 9 July 2012 the High Court of Justice of England and Wales ruled that Samsung Electronic (UK) Limited’s Galaxy Tablet Computers, namely the Galaxy Tab 10.1, Tab 8.9 and Tab 7.7 do not infringe Apple’s Community registered design No. 0000181607-0001," the notice said, linking to the court's official findings.