Epistles of Thomas

October 5, 2012

When is an apology not an apology?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Thomas @ 22:36

The word “apology” seems to be misused more than properly used in our society. Today I was reading about Motorola’s apology for breaking its promise to upgrade phone owners to a newer version of Android. I happen to own an Atrix 4G so this “apology” applies to me … and yet is it really an apology?

Here’s what they had to say:

“I think some of them [customers] have gotten a raw deal,” said Punit Soni, who runs software product management for Motorola Mobility. “We understand strongly and apologize for it.”

Certainly understanding is a part of apologizing but in my lexicon an apology also has the meaning of making something right. Now clearly Motorola (and Google the parent company) could make this right by standing by their promise but instead they have chosen to misuse the word “apologize” as if merely pronouncing it correctly makes things right. He justifies their actions by saying that “If we didn’t make the hard call here, we would be in trouble going forward.” Of course this fails to assuage outraged Motorola owners who have made it clear on the Moto forum that they will never buy another Moto phone and some are leaving Android altogether. I think the deeper issue is that Motorola (and Google) have lost their customers’ trust and abuse of the word apology isn’t going to bring that back. If those customers are not left to buy Moto phones once their current contract is up then Moto has an even bigger problem going forward.

All of this speaks to the deeper issue which is false public apologies in our society. It seems to happen daily. Some company or politician upsets the unwashed masses and is then forced to make an apology. Those who bought a phone or voted for a politician based on their false promises are left with a sour feeling. And we wonder why people are so jaded and cynical… We think nostalgically about a time when people kept their promises no matter the cost. I’m not sure that time every existed, but if it did it is long past. A word to the wise – don’t make promises you can’t keep or write cheques you can’t cover.

You can read the details here: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1035_3-57526994-94/android-users-outraged-over-motorolas-broken-promise/

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