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Biggest tech industry apologies of 2010 - so far

AT&T, Facebook, Google, McAfee, Adobe and others say “We’re sorry”

By , Network World
June 21, 2010 12:01 PM ET

Network World - While apologies from BP to the world regarding its environmental disaster and even from a U.S. Congressman to BP have stolen headlines of late, the tech industry has not been without its fair share of apologies during the first half of 2010 either.


Google: Sorry about Buzz, Street View privacy issues

Google acknowledged in February that it blew its rollout of the Buzz social network and issued a slew of changes to address privacy concerns, in particular an auto-following feature.

"We've heard your feedback loud and clear, and since we launched Google Buzz four days ago, we've been working around the clock to address the concerns you've raised," wrote Todd Jackson, a Google product manager, in a blog post

Also read: Tech companies had lots to be sorry for in 2009 

"We're very sorry for the concern we've caused and have been working hard ever since to improve things based on your feedback. We'll continue to do so," he added.

By May, Google was under siege for another error in privacy judgment, and again was issuing an apology ("The engineering team at Google works hard to earn your trust—and we are acutely aware that we failed badly here. We are profoundly sorry for this error and are determined to learn all the lessons we can from our mistake."). 

This time, the company was being called out for its Street View vehicles collecting people's Internet communications from open wireless networks. But Google's apology didn't stop outraged parties from jumping in, with a consumer group calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google and an ISP filing suit over Google allegedly violating state and federal privacy protection laws.

Earlier in the year, Google also apologized to a Chinese authors' group over its scanning of books by local writers into an online search system, moving to defuse copyright concerns around the project in China. 


Adobe apologizes for old Flash bug

Adobe in February issued a mea culpa for allowing a 16-month-old bug in its Flash Player to fester without a patch despite the fact that the plug-in itself was updated four times since the flaw was revealed.
Adobe did eventually fix the bug in the beta for Flash Player 10.1. Emmy Huang, a product manager for Adobe Flash Player, explained in a blog post how the lack of follow-up took place and said actions would be taken to avoid something similar happening in the future.


McAfee's antivirus snafu

McAfee in April apologized for its anti-virus update that took down Windows XP computers around the world, although the company said the problem affected a small percentage of its customers. ("We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused our customers.")

A statement issued by a McAfee spokesman says that less than .5% of McAfee users were hit by the update, which misidentified a legitimate function as a virus and killed it. The results were computers locked in a reboot loop.

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