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Motorola Apologizes To Outraged Customers For Lying About Updates

Eric McBride
11

Promises, promises. Do you guys remember the Android Upgrade Alliance? It was basically an agreement that Google and OEMs made with consumers that guaranteed system updates to all of its phones for 18 months following their release. Well apparently, Google’s newly acquired OEM (Motorola) has outraged many of their customers when they announced via their forums that they have abandoned their Android update promise for the Photon 4G and the Atrix 4G. Not only that, but they have also admitted that they have indeed left many of their loyal customers in the dark.

Doran Else is one of those people. He purchased his Photon 4G last October due to its speedy dual core processor and because of the newly formed relationship between Google and Motorola. He now, understandably, feels as if Motos promise was simply to lure customers to their products. He recently stated the following in an email:

"Just seems they were happy to join the alliance when it helped them sell handsets. Now that it's time to do the work, they're all dropping devices. This latest announcement from Moto is just ridiculous."

By abandoning their commitment, it basically means that thousands of Moto customers will be forced to use Android Gingerbread (2.3) on their devices. As Motorola originally made a commitment to Photon, Electrify, and Atrix owners to update their devices to Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0), many owners now feel cheated and lied to.

While this isn’t the first time an OEM hasn’t made good on its promise, this case stands out from the others. Motorola made the promise of upgrading devices for 18 months, and considering that Google owns Motorola, it really makes me wonder just what prevented these updates from happening. When you combine those two points with the fact that Motorola seems to have abandoned a big portion of its old devices, it’s not too difficult to see why this has upset so many of their customers.

Although they might be a minority, many owners of Motorola devices actually purchased these phones due to the fact that they met the upgrade specifications. Jacob Depenbusch was one of those customers, and stated:

“Had they not promised an update, the phone would've been out of the question. And then they reneged on the promise. They benefited financially from lying to us, and these phones certainly aren't cheap. This is an appalling business practice."

He has a point. In fact, multiple Motorola owners have now filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau due to a failure to provide a motorola android update.

Danny Brewer, an Atrix owner, said that “the fact they are offering $100 to swap to another Motorola phone (which is a deal Moto is currently running) is laughable. I will not be touching it or another Motorola phone with a barge pole. I don’t want a new phone. I want my current phone, that I have to keep for another year, as that’s how long my contract is for”. He went on to say that “there are very few companies that I have felt I needed to boycott, but Motorola has just earned that honor”.

This is a pretty craptastic situation for Google and Motorola, as a big percentage of these complaints came from customers that really loved their devices. They simply wanted to be able to keep using them. This could have easily been avoided had the promise of a motorola android update been rolled out. 

While most consumers probably won’t care about the Android update fiasco, it’s no excuse for the company that Google owns to back out of commitments. Motorola has also admitted to this, and were pretty open about stating that they can understand consumer reaction to this: “I think some of them have gotten a raw deal. We understand strongly and apologize for it” (Punit Soni - Software Product Management for Motorola).

According to Motorola, they spent a lot of time debating this action, but added that they don’t believe any further devices will be suddenly added to the list of phones that won’t receive the update. This move was apparently needed, as Punit went on to say that “if we didn’t make the hard call here, we would be in trouble going forward".

As you can see from some of these comments from users on Twitter (courtesy of Cnet), this is exactly the type of press that Motorola doesn’t need:

What do you guys think about this? Were you expecting Google’s acquisition of Motorola to get off to such a bumpy start? Would YOU be upset of you owned one of these devices? How would you react?

I don't know about you guys, but my mother always tells me not to make promises I can't keep...

Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Picture credits: Cnet and unplugged.rcrwireless.com

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Comments

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  • DieBagger Oct 8, 2012 Link

    This is even worse than HTC not releasing an update (or at least the source) for ICS on the DHD... And for me this was a dealbreaker, not going to buy another htc device (and being the "it guy" -> not recommending it to anyone else).

    Why should I pay > 500 € on a phone if the company thinks they can forget about me as soon as I hand over the cash...

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  • Dvoraak Oct 8, 2012 Link

    To most, updates may seem like a minor issue but when Windows 8 turns the mobile market into a 3 way dogfight with 2 out of the 3 OS's being largely unified between varying models, Google's fragmentation may stand up and be counted as a noteworthy negative feature. It's reasonable to expect your phone to be current for the duration of your contract. Windows screwed 7.5 users but I doubt Windows 8 devices will get hamstrung the same way.

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  • Eric McBride Oct 8, 2012 Link

    @DieBagger - It is worse. And just like you, this would be an absolute dealbreaker for me.

    And you make a good point..why pay all that cash companies can keep promises?

    @Dvoraak - Good points man. This could turn into even more of an issue when Win 8 hits the market.

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  • David H. Oct 8, 2012 Link

    It's already way to late for me. When I search for smart phones I filter out Motorola and don't even consider them an option. That's after having a motorla flip phone in 1992, the Motorola Q and the Milestone.
    My new phone is a Samsung.
    The reason I won't buy Motorola again is software upgrades, promised features etc.
    I bought the Milestone which was "flash capable", but had to wait forever to get the upgrade which allowed it and most of the time never knew if I'd actually get it, since many did not.
    The worst part of the whole thing is the locked boot loader, so you can't even have control over your device and upgrade it yourself.
    If they'd just released that when thousands of Milestone users were complaining I'd think differently.
    But they didn't and recently I hear the same complaints from Atrix users, RAZR, Electrify.etc, etc..
    they simply have bad practices as a matter of habit.

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  • Eric McBride Oct 8, 2012 Link

    @David - Lots of people feel exactly the same as you do bro. Between the locked bootloaders and crappy update situation, its not hard to see how hard Moto has put its foot in its mouth.

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  • Russell Hippert Oct 8, 2012 Link

    The total number of affected devices is eight. So this isn't just two or three phones. Motorola still does not have plans in place for the $100 JB credit for non-Verizon customers in the U.S. and may very well have no plans for those outside the U.S..

    Affected Devices:
    Atrix MB860, Atrix MB861, Atrix ME860, Electrify MB853 ,Photon MB855, DROID X2, MB870, XT882, MT870

    More info can be found at supportmymoto.com

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  • Ilgaz Oct 8, 2012 Link

    I just checked if there was a upgrade promise to 4 while buying my phone from htc. Nothing else except raw specs. Htc kept its promise in my case, if they didn't, I would go for a third party ROM with donation and become a person who can stop at least 10 others from buying a new htc.
    Beware of pissed off existing customers, they can really crash you, look to Nokia, who you think managed to dead stop all symbian sales? We, existing users did. We did a favour.

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  • Ilgaz Oct 8, 2012 Link

    Sorry for double comment but I suggest technical users not to convince newbie average people to "root" their devices and go with third party.
    If they don't care or know what they are doing, it is a very serious security risk. even if you will maintain their device,it becomes pointless if user is ignorant enough to install random apks from shadowy sites.
    Older times, Linux chat channels offered auto bans for anyone chatting (therefore, using their system) as root to teach them. Hundreds were banned in a day and that was the time Linux was purely technical user friendly.
    Motorola/google is also inviting a security risk to scene.

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  • Eric McBride Oct 9, 2012 Link

    @Russell - Yeah man...8 devices certainly is a big deal. I can definitely understand why some of Motos customers are lashing out!

    @Ilgaz - Im the same way...for me its no big deal, as I always root. But as you said...pissed off existing customers can be a real nightmare for a company.

    People should read up more over at XDA to see the true joys of rooting!

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  • CJ Brown Oct 10, 2012 Link

    I've been irritated with Verizon Wireless over their crap-tastic zero customer service help with the update for HTC Droid Incredible; while HTC customer service has been helpful on their end? I don't want to factory reboot to accept a software update when I am getting a new Android Smart Phone any month now. Angry DINC users have been going @ Verizon & HTC for months now (& I can't blame them) -

    http://www.htc.com/us/support/htc-droid-incredible-verizon/software-updates

    You'll get plenty of help in the HTC official forums, but the moment you post your anger & frustrations in the Verizon official forums? they get deleted immediately (so much for helping to solve a software update problem, Verizon) :-/

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  • Eric McBride Oct 11, 2012 Link

    @CJ - I know what you mean. Some of these companies offer ZERO customer service, and then wonder why they lose customers.

    Go figure.

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