Apple's Top 20 Public Apologies

Apple Maps mea culpa continues a tradition of atonement. Here's a list of the company's top 20 promises to do better.
15. For iMac Shipping Delays, December 13, 2009
Apple had trouble delivering its 27-inch iMac, introduced in October 2009. A report in Wired said some consumers had reported technical issues with the computer and speculated that the lack of timely delivery could be a consequence of these problems. Apple subsequently apologized to affected customer "for any inconvenience or delay." It did not acknowledge any manufacturing or technical issues.

16. For Mishandling The Launch Of MobileMe, July 16, 2008
Apple's .Mac service, launched in 2002, was discontinued in 2008 and .Mac customers were migrated to MobileMe, the predecessor to iCloud. Unfortunately, things didn't go so well. Some users were unable to log in, others reported synchronization issues. Apple promptly said it was sorry. Apple spokesman Bill Evans told Macworld that the "transition was a lot rockier than we had hoped." To make its apology more appealing, the company offered MobileMe subscribers a 30-day subscription extension at no charge.

17. For "Disappointing Some Of You" By Cutting iPhone Prices, September 6, 2007
When the iPhone went on sale in June 2007, it cost $499 for a 4-GB model and $599 for an 8-GB model. Two months later, Apple dropped the price by $200 and early adopters cried foul. Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO at the time, stood by the decision to cut prices but apologized nonetheless. "We want to do the right thing for our valued iPhone customers," he wrote in an open letter. "We apologize for disappointing some of you, and we are doing our best to live up to your high expectations of Apple."

18. For Financial Irregularities, October 4, 2006
From 1997 through 2002, Apple granted company stock options to some employees improperly. The shares were backdated--dated such that they were priced on a different date than they were granted. If the price of the stock on the set date is lower than it was on the actual grant date, the options recipient stands to gain by the difference in the share price when the options are exercised and the stock is then resold at a higher market price.

Apple concluded that there were irregularities, there was litigation, and Fred Anderson, Apple's former CFO, resigned from the company's board of directors. But Steve Jobs was cleared of wrongdoing.

"I apologize to Apple's shareholders and employees for these problems, which happened on my watch," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "They are completely out of character for Apple. We will now work to resolve the remaining issues as quickly as possible and to put the proper remedial measures in place to ensure that this never happens again."

19. For Concerns About Terrorism, September 17, 2001
Less than a week after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the United States, Apple cancelled its Apple Expo 2001 conference, which had been scheduled to open at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles exhibition center on September 26, 2001. "We're canceling Apple Expo in the wake of last week's devastating and tragic events," said Steve Jobs in a statement. "We're sorry to disappoint our users and developers, but their safety is our primary concern."

20. To Bill Gates, For Saying Microsoft Made Mediocre Products, 1996
In the 1996 documentary Triumph of the Nerds, Steve Jobs dismissed Microsoft for its lack of taste. "The only problem with Microsoft is they just have no taste, they have absolutely no taste," he said. "... I have no problem with their success, they've earned their success for the most part. I have a problem with the fact that they just make really third-rate products." After the program aired, Jobs called Bill Gates, then CEO of Microsoft, to apologize. Sort of. According to Andy Hertzfeld an early Apple employee and present Google employee, Jobs called Gates to apologize for saying that publicly, not to apologize for mischaracterizing the company.

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