Never forget the first rule of the technology business: Things break. Machines stop working, machines behave in ways that both the manufacturer and consumer don’t want them to, and malicious elements try to use those machines to gain access to both consumer and manufacturer information. Bugs happen, and no company’s ever completely safe.
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) might be the most valuable technology company in the Western world, but even it isn’t immune to the rule. Take the best-selling iPhone 4 as a prime example. Some 600,000 people pre-ordered that device ahead of its release in June 2010 (a record just beaten by the iPhone 4S), and each one of those buyers received a device with a faulty antenna that caused calls to drop if the phone was held too tightly.
So who’s taking flak from rule No. 1 now? Here are five tech companies suffering “bug” infestations:
Research In Motion
It’s bad enough that Research In Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) has watched its share of the global smartphone market shrink from nearly 19% in 2010 to less than 12% as of this August. It’s bad enough that shares in the once-powerful company have fallen from $70 in February to $24 as of Wednesday. So the last thing RIM needed was technical problems for its BlackBerry services in most of the world, affecting some 70 million users.
Across Monday and Tuesday, BlackBerry users in the Middle East, Latin America, Africa and Europe reported problems using the BlackBerry Messenger service, and many were cut off from the Internet entirely. Although the company claimed the problems were fixed by Monday night, they persisted into Tuesday in the U.K. and the United Arab Emirates.
The Taiwanese smartphone maker has been making waves in the U.S. this year thanks to the success of phones like the HTC Thunderbolt. As of the second quarter, HTC held a 14% share of the U.S. smartphone market — the largest of any company manufacturer using Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android operating system.
It was especially unfortunate, then, that the company released an update for its phones at the beginning of October that threatened the privacy of millions of users. The flawed update left users of the HTC Thunderbolt, EVO 3D/4G and Sensation phone models vulnerable to malicious information tracking through apps. Users’ text messages, email accounts, phone records and GPS location history were vulnerable to being recorded. The breach also looks bad on Google, considering that HTC’s devices are the most popular Android handsets around.