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What that Lenovo apology should actually say

We just want to help.


Mike Wehner


Posted on Feb 19, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 12:07 pm CDT

Huge tech companies making equally huge mistakes isn’t particularly rare. And when one of them gets caught doing something dumb, the damage control mastery begins. Well, most of them are masters at damage control, but apparently Lenovo missed that day of Business 101.

In the wake of the news that Lenovo sold computers with extremely dangerous adware vulnerability pre-installed, you’d expect the company to backpedal quickly, apologize, and offer whatever kind of support it could to right its wrong. Instead, the company sent out a horribly short-sighted press release that downplays the seriousness of the situation and takes advantage of the fact that most computer users won’t actually understand why the software was bad to begin with.

So, the opposite of the right thing to do. 

In order to make things perfectly clear, I’ve provided a rough (read: obviously sarcastic) translation of the press release below. This should clear up any confusion about the adware, called Superfish, that Lenovo was using, and why it is a big deal.

Lenovo: “Superfish was previously included on some consumer notebook products shipped in a short window between September and December to help customers potentially discover interesting products while shopping.”

Translation: We put this adware on your brand new computer even though we know nobody has trouble finding places to shop online. I mean, seriously, the only reason we put it there was because they paid us to do so.

Lenovo: “However, user feedback was not positive, and we responded quickly and decisively.”

Translation: Our customers weren’t as dumb as we thought, so we had to cut our deal with Superfish short before it blew up in our faces.

Lenovo: “Lenovo stopped preloading the software in January. We will not preload this software in the future.”

Translation: We knew this was about to go south, so we stopped putting Superfish adware on new computers last month, but it seems that was too late.

Lenovo: “We have thoroughly investigated this technology and do not find any evidence to substantiate security concerns.”

Translation: The obvious risks that this adware poses were outweighed by the money Superfish was paying us to put it on your brand new computer without your knowledge.

Lenovo: “The relationship with Superfish is not financially significant.”

Translation: The really sad part is that we weren’t even paid very much money to this to you. Imagine what we’d be willing to do for serious cash. You don’t even want to know. It’s horrible. 

Lenovo: “Our goal is to find technologies that best serve users.”

Translation: Our goal is to do whatever it takes to make our shareholders happy, and if that means selling your trust to a sketchy adware organization for a few dimes, count us in. 

Photo via Sam Azgor/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

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*First Published: Feb 19, 2015, 9:51 pm CST