O2′s outage over the last two days isn’t the only time a tech company has messed things up. Research in Motion, Google, Samsung, we’re looking at you.
So let’s keep it in perspective and recap some of the worst offenders in recent memory.
BBM service suffers outage
Fresh from its controversy surrounding last summer’s riots (when it was labelled as the main organising tool of the rioters), BlackBerry’s instant messaging service BBM suffered a colossal outage last October. Tens of millions of BlackBerry owners all over the world were affected. RIM promised it was looking into the matter, but it still took almost a week to rectify.
RIM offered free apps to disgruntled users as a way of saying sorry, but they weren’t having it. Instead, they chose to sue, launching class-action lawsuits in the California in the US, and Quebec in Canada.
It was just the start of a disastrous few months for RIM. It’s also seen its BB10 operating system delayed until next year.
The great BT flood of 2010
A BT exchange in London’s Paddington was flooded in March a couple of years ago, knocking out broadband and phone services for tens of thousands of people around the capital. Most of those affected were in north and west London. The flood also caused a fire. But the problems weren’t contained to London.
Customers as far north as Potters Bar and even Nottingham reported problems with Pipex UK broadband, which is owned by TalkTalk. In fact, no fewer than 437 exchanges across the UK were affected. Major fail.
Google’s Street View Wi-Fi data purloining
Google’s Street View is an awesome service, but getting it up and running was no mean feat. The company had to send out cars to cover miles of road, taking pictures as they went. The thing is, while they did, they were also recording data from unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots. What kind of data? Try emails and even passwords. Oh dear.
Google initially denied the accusations that it’d collected personal info. Then it admitted it had done so, but by accident. Then it blamed it all on one rogue individual. But then a couple of months ago an investigation by the Federal Communications Commission found an engineer discussed the whole thing with a senior manager. So the boss knew. And that changes things quite dramatically.
Facebook changes your email address without you knowing
We know, it’s not like Facebook to make changes without telling you. At the end of last month, the social networking giant helpfully changed the email on your profile page to the same but ending in @facebook.com. Seriously. Check it out if you don’t believe us. And obviously it didn’t feel the need to tell any of its 900 million members. (Come on, as if they’re important.)
It announced the @facebook email service back in 2010, but not many people signed up. So instead it added 900 million new members overnight.
Thankfully you can change your profile email address back by clicking “Update info” on your profile, scrolling to “Contact Info” and clicking “Edit”.
Samsung Galaxy S2 Ice Cream Sandwich delays
If you bought a Samsung Galaxy S2 earlier this year, you’d expect a prompt update to the then latest version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, right? The S2 was Samsung’s flagship handset, a true rival to the iPhone, and one of the fastest-selling phones of all time. Surely it having the newest operating system wasn’t too much to ask?
Well Samsung did roll out the update, but in a way that left owners fuming. Anyone with an S2 was promised Ice Cream Sandwich, only for it to be delayed. And Samsung left owners of SIM-free S2 handsets until last.
Admittedly it wasn’t all Samsung’s fault; the company had to wait for the networks to finish testing the update, to be sure it would work no matter which network owners were on. It’s symptomatic of the whole update rollout farrago that’s plagued Android. With it happening to such a high profile handset, let’s hope Google has learned its lesson.
O2 leaks your number to websites
Yeah, this happened. And it was just earlier this year.
Lewis Peckover, a system administrator for a mobile gaming company, was the man who found it out. When people on O2 connected to a website via their phone’s data package, their number would be passed on to the site.
“We found that whenever you visit any website, O2 are sending your plain text easy-to-read, easy-to-capture, full mobile phone number to every site you visit,” Peckover told the BBC. Though plenty of O2 customers were affected, not all were. O2 blamed it on technical changes made as part of routine maintenance.