Do You “Forgive & Forget” when a Company Apologizes? Apple & Amazon Hope You Do.

photo credit: So gesehen. via photopin cc

I have made several comments on this blog about the new “Maps” in iOS6. I really wanted to like it. I still want to like it.

But, ouch, I just don’t (so far).

I personally ran into some trouble with the maps already, and described my adventure here.

Basically, the bottom line is this:

We rely on maps to show us the way, and errors are simply not acceptable.

The internet has been blazing with complaints.

Apple’s Apology

Tim Cook
photo credit: Wikipedia

And to everyone’s surprise, Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, recently issued this apology:

To our customers,

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.

We launched Maps initially with the first version of iOS. As time progressed, we wanted to provide our customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps. In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up.

There are already more than 100 million iOS devices using the new Apple Maps, with more and more joining us every day. In just over a week, iOS users with the new Maps have already searched for nearly half a billion locations. The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback we have received from you.

While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.

Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard.

Tim Cook
Apple’s CEO

This wasn’t the first time that an apology was issued by Apple. Steve Jobs himself issued an apology over a pricing issue with an early iPhone (although he never really admitted to doing anything wrong.)

Amazon’s Apology

Jeff Bezos
photo credit: Wikipedia

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos issued an apology in 2009. People who had George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm on their Kindles woke up one morning to find them …. gone. Vanished. Amazon had removed them. People cried foul. After a big kerfuffle, it was learned that Amazon removed them because they didn’t have the right to sell them in the first place.

Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, offered this apology:

This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. 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 mission.

With deep apology to our customers,

Jeff Bezos
Founder & CEO

My Thoughts

Does this work? Do we forgive them?

I can’t speak for others, of course, only for me. But I can share my thoughts.

Amazon, I think, back in 2009, did a dumb thing, a quick knee-jerk reaction to their problem. But Jeff Bezos’ apology is outstanding. It sounds sincere, honest and direct. He admits that they blew it, and that they deserved the flash of anger that they received. I’m good with that. Amazon makes great products, supplies awesome content and provides stellar customer services.

Amazon: All is forgiven.

Apple is another story. They are not completely off the hook as far as I am concerned. I’m delighted that Tim Cook admits the mess and has gone so far as to suggest alternatives. BUT … if I may say … I wish they could hand the maps back over to Google for a while longer. It appears to me that they released a product that simply wasn’t “Apple-ready”. I am a solid Apple fanboy girl lady. But that means that I expect no less than perfection from their awesome products. These maps fall short and it thoroughly surprises me that they “let it out” for iOS6.

Apple: Apology Accepted (but) Disappointment Remains.


19 thoughts on “Do You “Forgive & Forget” when a Company Apologizes? Apple & Amazon Hope You Do.

  1. Hmmmm, what do they say about ‘to err is human, blah blah blah’ – the problem is that often the map app is not just a nice to have novelty but a very important tool. It would be a great pity if this incident would make consumers, especially fan ladies like you, lose confidence the the Apple brand. For now, perhaps keep the good old fashioned paper version map book in the car as a back up 🙂

    • You hit the nail right on the head, Jacquie, when you said that the “map app is not just a nice to have novelty”. Absolutely! It is a TOOL … big difference. 🙂 Good to see you!

  2. Nice post. Not all apologies are created equal. I read an article a long time ago about the characteristics of people who make BIG mistakes (multi-billion dollar mistakes) and survive. They are proactive in letting higher-ups (or in the case of Amazon & Apple, customers) know about the mistake and have developed some solutions to cut the loses. You did a good job of analyzing the differences in the apologies using these criteria.

    • Thank you, Pat. I think you have a great point about developing solutions. I feel Apple is missing the boat on this by simply “suggesting” alternatives. A more solid solution would be to officially re-lease the Google maps while they improve their own product. We should want to use Apple’s product because it’s better, not just because “it’s there.” Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment. 🙂

  3. I must say since I got my iPad and the new iOS I have been nothing but disappointed with all the problems I had. Considering the price and dependency on technology you just cannot make such stupid mistakes as launch an inferior product/app. An apology is nice but does not fix the fact that they have lost me as a customer.

    • Whenever I have great trouble with some electronic device, I get incredibly frustrated. They are wonderfully wonderful when they work, but it’s a nightmare when they don’t. I’ve been lucky… everything works beautifully for me (except those horrid maps). I hope your next experience is a better one! 🙂

  4. Daniela says:

    I really enjoyed reading this post even though I am not a technology savvy person by any stretch of imagination. Having said that, I completly agree with you and the views you express about Apple’s maps. Moreover, I actually think that in some way it is actually good that this issue with maps occurred, it shows that not even Apple’s products are faultless. In other words it may signal that tides are changing and Apple’s global dominance may not be as invincible. Every brand and every product has its time of glory. Who can now remember times when IBM was making PCs?
    As always great post,
    Kind Regards,

    • I agree, completely, Daniela. All Things Change. Civilizations rise and fall, and obviously companies do, too. I remember, as you do, when IBM was dominant. I’m guessing that the “dominant” player of 10 years from now is a company we haven’t even heard of, yet. 🙂
      As always, thank you for your thoughtful comment!!

  5. Apologies are all well and good if an honest effort is made to correct them and then do something to compensate their customers for any inconvenience.
    I would have been upset to have a book I thought I owned disappear. They knew – or should have – that “they didn’t have the right to sell them in the first place.”
    You’ve raised some good points.
    Thanks for visiting my blog.

    • I completely agree … an honest effort to correct and then compensate for inconvenience. In Apple’s case they have not fixed the problem, and that is disappointing. Thank you so much for your visit and your thoughtful comment! 🙂

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