Sunday, May 9, 2010



Think it's a rarity when a corporate behemoth issues a

public apology? Not in 2009 at least! The year saw several

big IT giants issue regret letters after public outcry.

Internet search giant Google had to apologize more than

once in 2009, Microsoft too had to say sorry on charges of

racial discrimination. The list included many other big

names too.

Here's where and why technology companies issued public apology in


Gmail goes offline, Google red faced

The year 2009 saw Google's Gmail continue its march

on the growth track. However, as Gmail grew, so

seemed to be the woes for its users. The year saw

Gmail services getting disrupted several times; sometimes these outages

were regional while on other occasions global. Consequently, the search

giant Google had to often extend apology to its sea of users for the

inconvenience suffered. The latest outage occurred in September.

According to the company, the outage saw Gmail going offline for a

"majority" of its email users, including its paid consumers.

Earlier in May, millions of people were cut off from Google's search engine,

e-mail and other online services after too much traffic was routed through

computers in Asia. About 14 per cent of Google's users encountered

problems with the Internet's No. 1 search engine. The frequent outages

made analysts wonder if Gmail is getting too unwieldy for the search giant

to manage.

Microsoft repents 'photo editing'

Software giant Microsoft found itself at the end of a racism

row forcing it to tender an apology. The software leader

apparently altered a photo in a company advertisement on

its website to change the race of one of the people shown in the picture.

A photo on the company's US website showed two men, one Asian and one

black, and a white woman seated at a conference room table. However, on

the website of Microsoft's Polish business unit, the black man's head was

replaced with that of a white man. The colour of his hand remained


Spokesperson Lou Gellos said, "We apologise and are in the process of

pulling down the image." Some bloggers said Poland's ethnic homogeneity

may have played a role in changing the photo.


Google sorry again, this time for first lady

Internet search giant's image results recently created a stir when it was pointed out that the image results for US first lady Michelle Obama showed a racist image in the top results. The image search result which showed Michelle

Obama as a monkey woman was later removed by Google.

Google also apologized for the image. In a statement, the company said,

"Sometimes Google search results from the Internet can include disturbing

content, even from innocuous queries." "We assure you that the views

expressed by such sites are not in any way endorsed by Google," the

statement added.

Google also ran several advertisements to explain the appearance of racist

and anti-Semitic material in its search results.

Vista a mistake: Microsoft CEO

Over the years, Vista has witnessed criticism from several

quarters. However, for the first time the operating system

was laughed off by none other than the company's CEO.

Ahead of the launch of its new operating system Windows 7

in October, Microsoft laughed at Windows Vista which

according to its CEO tarnished the company's reputation. At an event,

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer said that the company never

recovered from the poor performance of Vista.

Ballmer was quoted as saying, "We got some uneven reception when Vista

first launched in large part because we made some design decisions to

improve security at the expense of compatibility. I don't think from a

word-of-mouth perspective we ever recovered from that."

Apple sorry for Baby Shaker app

The year saw the iconic Apple too extend apology to its

users. Just three days after launch, Apple pulled the plug

on its Baby Shaker app. The application was pulled

following a strong protest from child advocacy groups who

termed the app highly offensive.

The 99-cent application created by Sikalosoft allowed

users to silence a virtual screaming baby by violently

shaking the iPhone. The app description showed, "Never, never shake a

baby." It also advised, "See how long you can endure his or her adorable

cries before you just have to find a way to quiet the baby down."

In a statement Apple apologized for allowing Baby Shaker into the iTunes

store, and said, "This application was deeply offensive and should not have

been approved for distribution on the App Store."

Amazon apologizes for Kindle book deletions

In July this year, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos issued an

apology over a surprise deletion of books that Kindle

owners had purchased and downloaded to their


Bezos apologized in a posting on the Kindle

Community forum for the deletion of two books, George Orwell's Animal

Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, explaining that the company will be

changing its policy in the future.

"This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies

of Nineteen Eighty-Four and other novels on Kindle," he wrote.

"Our 'solution' to the problem was stupid, thoughtless and painfully out of

line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the

criticism we've received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful

mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our


VMware says sorry to Microsoft

VMware's Scott Drummonds apologized to Microsoft after posting a

YouTube video that misled viewers on the reliability of Microsoft's Hyper-V.

The video showed Microsoft Hyper-V crashing while running VMware's

VMmark platform. The video also implied that Hyper-V crashes caused

April's massive TechNet and MSDN outages.

Scott Drummonds' apology reads, "The video was a bit hyperbolic in its

dramatization of Hyper-V's reliability. Unfortunately, my intention to stir

the pot with eye-poking banter has put my credibility and by association

VMware's credibility in question among some of you. … We will absolutely

work our best to live up to the high standard you've come to expect from

us. And when we mess up, we'll be the first to address the mistake head


Yahoo apologizes for lap dance

In October 2009, US-based Yahoo apologized to its

Taiwanese clients over a lap dance show organized during

its brainstorming meeting for Internet engineers in Taipei.

The rare move came after girls wearing bras and miniskirts performed in

front of male participants seated on stage during an event that was part of

a Yahoo Hack Day, where developers work on creating new web


Chris Yeh, head of the Yahoo Developer Network said in a statement, "This

incident is regrettable and we apologize to anyone that we have offended

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