Five Apologies You Won't Hear in Tech

NEW YORK, ( TheStreet) -- Netflix ( NFLX) chief Reed Hastings has offered a mea culpa for gouging subscribers in an effort to drive a new video streaming strategy.

And while fessing up to blunders is a rare but somewhat welcome move, it seems like a good time to look at other goofs in tech that might be worthy of an apology.

Netflix' eagerness to not get bogged down in its costly, aging mail-order DVD business while pursuing the cloud-based venture of video streaming is understandable. But the transition has been as jarring to consumers as it has been to investors.

While Hastings has offered up an apology of sorts and a puzzling company split to prove his point, other companies like Apple ( AAPL), Yahoo! ( YHOO), and Research In Motion ( RIMM) have taken a far less conciliatory path in handling mess-ups.

Here are some outstanding goofs by tech companies that probably deserve an wholehearted apology, but don't hold your breath waiting.

No. 5 -- HP Breakup

For a nearly a year after his arrival, HP's ( HPQ) new chief Leo Apotheker quietly assessed the PC giant's problems as he prepared a grand solution.

On Aug. 18, Apotheker made what was seen as a rash move to kill the Palm WebOS TouchPad products, explore the spinoff of the world's largest PC business, and retool the company as more of an enterprise software company.

Overnight, the stock fell 23% as investors fled in the aftermath of the breakup strategy.

Though the company has backpedaled on any immediate carve-out of the PC division, and has revived limited production of TouchPad tablets, there's been no atonement yet by Apotheker.

No. 4 -- Yahoo! Snubs Microsoft

Yahoo's board said it had its shareholders' best interest in mind when it rejected a $31 a share takeover offer from Microsoft ( MSFT).

It's three years later, the stock is worth less than half the $31 offer price, and the company is exploring its options.

The Yahoo! board has taken heat for its missteps, but there has still been no acknowledgement of how boneheaded the Microsoft rejection strategy proved to be.

No. 3 -- RIM's Complacency

As Apple's iPhone and Google ( GOOG)-powered Androids ushered in a new generation of superphones, Research In Motion scoffed and proudly stood its ground saying simple email phones were more than adequate.

It's not exactly clear if co-CEOs Jim Balsillie (above) and Mike Lazaridis actually believed that at the time but being three years late to the market with smarter phones makes the company look just a little out of touch.

The company's most recent results last week added to concerns that the BlackBerry maker may have fatally missed the boat in a fast-moving market. The stock has lost more than half its value this year.

As for the co-CEOs, there's been only upbeat assessments of new phone opportunities.

No. 2 -- Nokia, Unbending to a Fault

Nokia ( NOK) was late to flip phones, late to touchscreens and turned its back on the U.S. market yet somehow still reigned as the top phone maker in the world.

But that stubborn approach to the rapidly changing gadget world eventually left Nokia on what its new CEO called a burning platform.

Nokia shareholders took it in the teeth with the stock down 43% this year.

The company has jumped on a new platform - Nokia phones running Microsoft Windows 7 -- but you won't hear many misgivings or reflections from executives on the bad turns that took Nokia on its big misadventure.

No. 1 -- Apple's Antennagate

Probably the biggest non-apology in recent tech history was Apple's reaction to the outcry over its flawed iPhone 4 antennas.

Bloggers, general users and product reviewers like Consumer Reports called out Apple for its defective iPhone that lost signals when people held the device in their hand.

Apple's response: First came the retort that people weren't holding the phone correctly, then there was the demonstration of rival phones that Apple claimed had antenna problems.

Apple clearly didn't want to issue a huge product recall, which it would have had to do if it admitted there was a problem. So after fessing up to nothing unusual about the iPhone 4's reception the company gave out free bumpers and covers to help insulate the antennas.

Not only did Apple never admit to a problem or announce a fix, it went on to sell another 50 million iPhones.

--Written by Scott Moritz in New York.

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