Seattle (WA) – Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos apologized to its customers for the remote deletion of George Orwell books from Kindle devices. But while the reaction seems to be appreciated by media and customers alike, the incident highlighted the possibility of remote access to Kindles, which may have caused serious damage to the perception of a device that was well on its way to become the standard ebook reader device.
The apology came through an unusual blog posting, in which Bezos admitted to Amazon’s “stupid” behavior. Bezos wrote:
“This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our “solution” to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we’ve received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.“
As previously reported, Amazon remotely deleted George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984 from Kindles, when it learned that the ebooks had been sold by a company without authority to do so. The deletion came without warning; Amazon reimbursed customers for the purchase price, but was hit with a wave of outrage that especially highlighted privacy issues.
While the company quickly admitted that the deletions were a mistake, Amazon remained largely quiet until yesterday, when Bezos personally apologized. However, we wonder if it is enough to call Amazon’s decision “stupid” and “thoughtless”. We wonder, if Amazon needs to send a clear message how it will handle such issues in the future and what it will do to prevent unauthorized parties from selling ebooks. Simply stating that Amazon will “make better decisions going forward” and make decisions ”that match [Amazon’s] mission” may not cut it.
The case revealed an obvious problem for Amazon and shed light on a not-so-appealing wireless capability of the Kindle. Both issues need to be addressed and Amazon will have to clearly state that it will not access any content on Kindles. And, perhaps, it would be a nice move if the company returned deleted books free of charge.
Feel free to chime in with your thoughts by writing a comment below.