Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos apologizes for Kindle ebook deletion
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos apologise in a post to the Kindle Community forum on Amazon’s Web site, as negative reviews from DefectiveByDesign.org campaign supporters criticizing the Kindle’s use of proprietary software and Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) to remotely delete ebooks continued to pour in.
“This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our “solution” to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. 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.
With deep apology to our customers,
Founder & CEO
The Free Software Foundation and Defective By Design, which on Monday called on activists to post reviews calling attention to the Kindle Swindle’s arbitrary deletion of George Orwell ebooks from hundreds of users’ devices, welcomed Bezos’s apology, but said more must be done to remedy the problems exposed by Amazon’s actions.
FSF’s executive director Peter Brown explained, “Unfortunately this matter requires more than just changing internal policy. The real issue here is Amazon’s use of DRM and proprietary software. They have unacceptable power over users, and actual respect necessitates more than an apology — it requires abandoning DRM and releasing the Kindle’s software as free software.”
The deletion of the Orwell ebooks was Amazon’s third blatant demonstration of the control its software provides over users. In June, Amazon remotely deleted copies of Ayn Rand books, and prior to that, they disabled Text-to-Speech functionality for select titles — a move which was a slap in the face to all users and particularly to the visually impaired community.
FSF operations manager John Sullivan added, “Amazon has been a positive example for Defective By Design to point to in the world of DRM-free music. We hope that this controversy will show Amazon that they need to take the same enlightened approach when it comes to ebooks, so Kindle users can be confident that they won’t be Swindled again.”