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Most memorable tech industry apologies of 2012: From Apple to Google to Microsoft

Vendors have had plenty to be sorry about in 2012 between outages, product delays and other issues

By , Network World
November 08, 2012 03:16 PM ET

Network World - Tech vendors have been as bombastic as ever promoting the magical and amazing things their latest smartphones, cloud computing wares and network gear can do. When things go wrong, they're naturally a little less visible, but plenty of companies have sucked it up and done the right thing this year (perhaps with a little legal prodding here and there) and publicly apologized for minor and major customers inconveniences.

IN PICTURES: 11 sorriest tech companies of 2012

Here's a brief rundown of the sorry, sorry action so far in 2012:

*Apple Maps flap

Apple has a reputation for not apologizing for much of anything (or even deigning to comment on anything slightly controversial). It even twisted a court order in the U.K. in October into a sort of non-apology apology/advertisement and then a snoozy newspaper ad.

Tim Cook

But actually, the company has said sorry numerous times in recent years, for everything from long waits for buyers of the first iPhones in 2007 to the notorious antenna-gate problems with the iPhone 4. This time around, CEO Tim Cook issued an apology in the wake of the company's release of disappointing maps technology in iOS 6. The apology read, in part:

"At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better."

One Apple executive who reportedly didn't want to sign off on the apology -- iOS chief Scott Forstall -- has now left the company in a management shake-up. And Forstall was joined in departing by John Browett, Apple's retail chief, whose group's problems with store staffing over the summer resulted in another Apple apology

*Cisco stops pushing cloud on customers

Responding to customer backlash over making Cisco Connect Cloud service a default management system for high-end Linksys routers, Cisco apologized and made it so customers need to opt in to the service if they want it. The default is now a traditional setup for management over the LAN.

Customers balked at Cisco Connect Cloud for numerous reasons, including worries about Cisco snooping on their network use and strict terms of service that restricted access to certain content, possibly including spam and porn, among other things.

Brett Wingo, vice president and general manager of Cisco Home Networking, wrote in July:

"We believe lack of clarity in our own terms of service has contributed to many of our customers' concerns, and we apologize for the confusion and inconvenience this has caused. Cisco Connect Cloud and Cisco Linksys routers do not monitor or store information about how our customers are using the Internet and we do not arbitrarily disconnect customers from the Internet. The Cisco Connect Cloud Service has never monitored customers' Internet usage, nor was it designed to do so. Cisco will not push software updates to customers' Linksys routers when the auto-update setting is turned off."

T-Mobile

*T-Mobile: Sorry about the sneaky ads

T-Mobile USA begged for forgiveness in April after slipping advertisements onto Android smartphone customers' update notification screens promoting the carrier's free VIP Zone offering. The carrier stopped the practice after the complaints came rolling in.

The apology: "During a recent software update, a message to promote T-Mobile's free VIP Zone was mistakenly sent to certain customers and appeared on the notification bar for some Android devices. After T-Mobile was made aware of this mistake, the company stopped the notifications. T-Mobile apologizes for the inconvenience this may have caused customers."

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