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Newsletter #411 Preview: Apple and Microsoft: Who Gives Better Excuses?

From the time we are children, we instinctively know how to find a reason for doing something wrong. For example, when you slap your brother or sister, and your mother is justifiably angered, you make the excuse that they hit you first, that you were only fighting back.

Unfortunately, this sort of behavior sustains itself into our adult years, and companies pay corporate communications people to give smart-sounding reasons for foolish behavior. The best of the lot may even work for governments, but this isn’t a political discussion, so I won’t go any further.

The best way for a company to prove its mettle is how it reacts when bad things occur. Over the years, both Apple and Microsoft have had plenty of opportunity to show ways to recover from unfavorable developments, from the failure of a product to catch on, to a serious product defect.

Just recently, Microsoft delivered a particularly lame excuse to reports that they had been feeding Windows updates to customers who had actually turned off the automatic update feature. Their answer? Sorry, folks, it didn’t happen. They must have configured their PCs incorrectly.

Of course, the implication here is that their customers are too stupid to know how to click an off button in a settings panel. But I could be insulting and add that they did buy Windows, which entitles you to be abused in some fashion. Yes, I could say that, and perhaps I just did, but this isn’t an article about platform wars. Rather, it’s how the companies behave.

Story continued in this week’s Tech Night Owl Newsletter.