A History of Tech Company Mistakes and Apologies!

All the time, these companies out there, Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and what not, come up with miscalculated product innovations and in some cases plain gaffes, and in the end, they end up apologizing to their customers for their mistakes. Let’s look at a few of the famous apologies in this post. We are not targeting regular apologies due to natural product failures, but outright gaffes and arrogant wrongdoings that caused companies to apologize.

Apple iPhone, the Original & Its Price


In 2007, Apple released its groundbreaking product, the iPhone for the first time and they set its price at 600 dollars. It should be noted that Apple iPhone became one of the hottest selling products in history, thanks to Apple fans that run into billions. Within two months, Steve Jobs, the deceased former CEO of Apple, slashed the price of iPhone from 600 to 400.

The millions and millions who purchased iPhone for 600 dollars stood with gaping mouths and fingers up their brain. They felt cheated in plain daylight. Apple CEO did not apologize, but he wrote to those customers.


Mark Zuckerberg (CEO, Facebook) on Beacon, Facebook’s Ad Tool


In 2007, Facebook came up with a novel idea. That of letting your friends know of what you purchased online through Facebook. This app, known as Beacon was tremendously criticized by hundreds of thousands of users. Beacon program would simply talk about your purchases with your friends without your knowledge, and there was no proper way to opt out of this. Facebook said they made the program ‘opt-out’ rather than ‘opt-in’ because they wanted to enable people to share what they forgot to (amusing, isn’t it?) Here’s Mark’s apology:


Nokia Lumia 920 Demo Video Fiasco


Nokia released Lumia 920 smartphone with a new camera technology known as PureView only a few days ago. They demonstrated the camera with a video (supposedly taken with Lumia 920). But if you look at that commercial, you will see a van with a regular film camera mounted that has captured the entire video. Here’s the video slowed down to show exactly what is happening (thanks to the uploader, smartypunk):

It proved to be such a shame to Nokia and they put up an apology soon enough. Here is the text:


Google & Jews


Our search giant once returned results that insulted Jews in great detail. The first result for search term ‘Jew’ in Google was ‘jewwatch.com’, an anti-Semitic website proclaiming that they keep a close watch on Jewish communities. Google apologized soon enough. Here it is:


Other controversies were there with Google, including “she invented” (Google it), about 600 GB of private Wi-Fi data being taken by StreetView cameras, etc.

Whole Foods


The Whole Foods Market CEO, John Mackey was a well-respected businessman of his time. He, however, managed to get a wrong idea into his head that would kill his good name. He went into Yahoo! Finance forums, and created a pseudonym, ‘Rahodeb’ and started praising his company and criticizing the competitors. He had to apologize of course (in two sentences though). We couldn’t find the apology from the website, so we fished it out from Archive.org.

The Apple Maps Fiasco


Apple came up with Maps to use with iPhone’s iOS 6. Apple Maps was full of mistakes that anybody could spot. And now Apple fired the guy who worked on Maps, and Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, apologized. You can read about the complete Apple Maps fiasco here.

Microsoft’s Perverts


In June this year, Microsoft was releasing its cloud hosting platform, Windows Azure, in Oslo, Norway. And in the party that ensued, ‘cloud rap’ lyrics included “The words ‘Micro’ and ‘soft’ don’t apply to my penis & vagina.” MS had to apologize in these words:
Azure team:

This week’s Norwegian Developer’s Conference included a skit that involved inappropriate and offensive elements and vulgar language. We apologize to our customers and our partners and are actively looking into the matter.


And MS corporate communications team chief Frank Shaw tweeted:

This routine had vulgar language, was inappropriate and was just not ok. We apologize to our customers and partners.


At another time, Microsoft’s code implementation of HyperV virtualization product (read about this and others in Microsoft History) for Linux contained the term ‘Big Boobs’ in coded format. It contained “0xB16B00B5” and “0x0B00B135”. Since Linux code is open source, anyone could spot it.

Apple’s Poor Apology


In July this year, Samsung had a court case with Apple regarding design patent infringement of Apple iPad by Samsung products. Apple lost this case and the judge ordered Apple to post an apology. And Apple did. Here’s their apology. Tell me if it reads like one!

Not only did Apple apologize like a moron, but also it hid the Apology well in the website so that no one could easily spot it. As expected, the judge did not approve the given apology. And Apple had to come up with a better one. (They removed the original apology and it is no longer available in the website, which is why I have saved this PDF.) They managed to come up with this one, and the text is as follows:

apple's apology to samsung


Still, what a pathetic apology, won’t you agree?

[Updated: Feb 17, 2013]

Google Doodle for Asteroid


CNET picked up this story. In response to the happy news that an asteroid called DA14 sped past the earth at nearly 17,000 miles overhead without causing any damage to our ecosystem, Google posted the following doodle above its search box.

Google Asteroid doodle


However, hours later, a meteor struck down on Russia injuring hundreds of people. Google’s happy doodle immediately became a sadistic joke, and they removed it.



As you can see, the companies are not beyond errors. Some like Apple Maps are pretty funny mistakes indeed. When we see more of such gaffes, we will laugh out loud and will let you guys know here.

[Image: CNET]

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