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Sorriest technology companies of 2014

Bob Brown | Sept. 30, 2014
Apple, Google, Microsoft, Snapchat, Samsung all get into the apology line.

Pop-up Ad Guy: 'Nuff said
MIT Media Lab's Ethan Zuckerman wrote an essay for The Atlantic in August in which he apologized for ruining the Web by coming up with the idea for the pop-up ad while with an early Internet company called Tripod. "I wrote the code to launch the window and run an ad in it. I'm sorry. Our intentions were good."

Yahoo: Over and over
Yahoo ended 2013 with a 5-day-long email outage that affected some 1 million users and that forced CEO Marissa Mayer to apologize. The company followed that up with an unsportsmanlike tweet about Gmail going down in January, and then shortly after that apologized to its customers for email troubles stemming from what it deemed a coordinated attack ("We regret this has happened and want to assure our

users that we take the security of their data very seriously."). For good measure, the Yahoo mail network went down again in February, prompting another apology.

Target: CIO pays for it
Target's CEO apologized in December for the massive credit card data breach that affected as many as 110 million customers. The CFO apologized in February before the U.S. Senate, stating: "I want to say how deeply sorry we are for the impact this incident has had on our guests--your constituents. We will work with you, the business community and other thought leaders to find effective solutions to this ongoing and pervasive challenge...We will learn from this incident and, as a result, we hope to make Target, and our industry, more secure for customers in the future." That was followed, dramatically, by the resignation of the company's CIO in March.

Samsung Electronics: Unhealthy
The semiconductor and phone maker in May offered its "sincerest apology" for the sickness and deaths of some of its workers, vowing to compensate those affected and their families. "Some of Samsung's former employees have passed away after contracting leukemia or are coping with difficult-to-treat diseases after having worked at our manufacturing facility," the company said in an emailed statement. Samsung's apology came in response to a proposal by families and the Supporters for the Health And Rights of People in the Semiconductor Industry (SHARPS) group. So far there have been 26 victims of blood cancers (leukemia and lymphoma) reported to SHARPS, who worked in Samsung's Gi-Heung and On-Yang semiconductor plants in Korea. Ten have died, the group said on it site in May. Chemicals as well as cleanrooms that protect wafers more than workers are among the factors cited in causing sickness.

The Home Depot: You may have heard...
The Home Depot started off its Sept. 21 letter to customers with "As you may have heard, on September 8, 2014, we confirmed that our payment systems have been breached, which could potentially impact customers using payment cards at our U.S. and Canadian stores... We apologize for the frustration and anxiety this may cause you and we thank you for your patience during this time." Yes, we're guessing most of those customers had heard of this historically large security breach.


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