My reaction to both apologies is that they are both "too little, too late." The damage has been done. Amazon's image took a hit and the company probably lost more than a few potential Kindle customers this week, me included. I was already concerned about the limitations on my personal usage of e-books bought for the Kindle, so being reminded just how easily those books can be stolen back from me by their seller ended my fascination with the Kindle. The price of the reader and the restricted value of the books convinces me that the Kindle is not the way to go. Bad move, Mr. Bezos.
The President's image has also taken a hit. He played the "race card" last night on behalf of a personal friend of his. That was cheap and it is very disturbing. My personal respect for President Obama took a huge hit because of his eagerness to defame the Cambridge police on the behalf of a personal friend whose behavior helped spark a police incident about which the President apparently had heard only one side of the story. How stupid was it for him to allow a local Chicago issue to overwhelm the message he wanted to send about his healthcare legislation? Very stupid. The President acted more "stupidly" than he accused the police of acting. His apology, if that's what this statement was supposed to be, was very necessary but it only came after he made matters worse by trying to defend his original statement earlier this morning.
I should mention, too, that my respect for Professor Gates is gone. I've seen the man on Book TV a couple of times and was impressed with him. Now, reading the police report (none of which Gates has denied) and seeing how Gates taunted the policeman and escalated the whole incident with his mouth and attitude, it will be difficult for me to take the man seriously again. He is obviously a hypocrite.
At least Jeff Bezos admitted that he and Amazon were 100% wrong, as can be seen from this quote from his blog entry:
"Our 'solution' to the problem was stupid, thoughtless and painfully out of line with our principles," Bezos wrote. "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."See this Computer World article for reaction to the Amazon apology.
He signed his missive with the comment, "With deep apology to our customers."
How can so many supposedly brilliant people do such stupid things? Maybe someone should write a book called When Stupid Things Happen to Smart People.