Five Companies That Dropped The Ball This Week

Social Media Darlings Beset With Technical Issues

Facebook and Twitter both dealt with snafus this week that created headaches for users. Some social networking fiends were reportedly so upset that they considered stepping away from their PCs or putting down their mobile devices and actually, you know, having a conversation with another human being that didn't involve the Web.

Facebook users were left fuming after two site outages this week, the longest of which lasted 45 minutes. Twitter, in a site update, inadvertently re-introduced a security hole it patched back in August that allowed the insidious "onMouseOver" attack to once again annoy the heck out of users.

Facebook and Twitter are now much more than services, they're cultural phenomena. Without the outlets for expression and communication that both companies provide, it's frightening to imagine what the world would be like. Hopefully they'll get it together and we won't be subjected to such a scenario.

Netflix Pays Actors To Act Excited About Netflix Coming To Canada

Video streaming site Netflix is riding high on the hog with a stock price that has more than tripled over the past year. Which is why it's so puzzling that the company would stoop to the level of paying actors to attend its Canada launch event in Toronto and pretend to be curious bystanders. But that's exactly what happened this week, and Netflix was immediately outed by hawk-eyed Twitter users.

"Extras are to behave as members of the public, out and about enjoying their day-to-day life, who happen upon a street event for Netflix and stop by to check it out," reads a flier Netflix handed out to the actors. "Extras are to look really excited, particularly if asked by media to do any interviews about the prospect of Netflix in Canada."

Netflix eventually issued an apology, but its marketing team definitely needs to become better versed in the dark art of guerrilla marketing. Sheesh.

Verizon CEO Drops Double Whammy Of Sobering News

Hey Verizon subscribers, guess what? No iPhone for you! Well, at least not for a while. That's the way things are shaping up, Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg said this week at a Goldman Sachs conference in New York City. He suggested that Verizon won't get the iPhone until it finishes deploying its 4G network, which will be based on LTE, or Long Term Evolution.

"We don't feel like we have an iPhone deficit. We would love to carry it when we get there, but we have to earn it," Seidenberg reportedly said at the event.

The collective groan of those who've been waiting for AT&T's stranglehold of iPhone exclusivity to end got even louder when Seidenberg said Verizon may introduce tiered data pricing within the next four to six months. Yippee! This was inevitable, of course, but it's not the sort of thing that's going to make Verizon customers jump up and down with glee, either.

Google CEO Says Carriers Have Right To Bundle Crapware With Android

Google CEO Eric Schmidt claims to espouse the values embedded in his company's "Don't Be Evil" mantra, but sometimes you have to wonder.

At a recent press event, Search Engine Land blogger Danny Sullivan asked Schmidt why Google doesn't ask wireless carriers to give customers the option of downloading a "clean" version of Android, one that's free of the mind-numbing array of software trials and promotions -- known as crapware -- carriers love to package with Android smartphones.

Schmidt responded that doing so would run counter to the principles underpinning open source."The fact of the matter is that if we were to put those type of restrictions on an open source product, we’d be violating the principle of open source," Schmidt told Sullivan at a recent press event.

Nokia Gets All Defensive About N8 Delay

After reports surfaced about Nokia delaying its N8 smartphone due to software glitches, the Finnish handset maker got all defensive and suggested that the whole thing was just a big misunderstanding.

"There have been a few stories this morning about the N8 availability which we feel need clarification," Nokia harrumphed in a blog post this week.

Nokia says it expects the N8 to start shipments by the end of the third quarter and has advised preorder customers that N8 phones should begin to arrive in October. However, a Nokia spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal that Nokia was holding N8 shipments "to ensure a great user experience," which is essentially the same as saying, "It's delayed and we want to pretend it's not."

The worst part about the whole kerfuffle over the N8 is that it's unlikely to make much of an impact in the U.S. market, which has been a tough nut to crack for Nokia over the years.