Google head grovels after users vent fury at Nexus 4 shortages

UK head beaten up on own blog

Google's UK and Ireland managing director Dan Cobley has blamed LG for shortages of the Nexus 4 smartphone after angry customers mugged his upbeat 2012 Zeitgeist blog with a string of complaints about non-delivery.

"Surprising for me, but Andy Murray was searched for more than Jessica Innes (sic), announced Cobley in his Zeitgeist spot, a look back at the trends and topics that have dominated the year. "What surprised you?," he then asked, hubristically.

More than two hundred comments later - almost all scathing feedback on the company's inability to deliver the LG-made Nexus 4 smartphones - it is probably fair to say that Cobley wished he hadn't asked.

A common complaint was from customers who bought the much-sought-after-but-apparently-rarely-delivered handset as part of the Google's restocking on 4 December. At the time this was quoted with delivery times of "3-5 days."

"I know that what you are going through is unacceptable and we are all working through the nights and weekends to resolve this issue. Supplies from the manufacturer are scarce and erratic, and our communication has been flawed," countered Cobley, smacking the donkey's tail straight on LG.

"I realise that the people who ordered the Nexus 4 so early are among our most committed and loyal users and we are doing all we can to put things right."

"I am optimistic that we will be able to share some positive news shortly, but I do not want to cause any more disappointment by making a commitment until we are 100% sure we can deliver on it," he wrote.

Customer replies to this message could best be paraphrased as a simple 'don't offer smarthones you don't actually have to sell on misleading timescales'. Others questioned why Google hadn't made a more public statement on the issue.

Google launched the Nexus 4 on 13 November after a delay caused by Hurricane Sandy before, ridiculously, selling out from its UK website within minutes. Inevitably, handsets turned up on eBay at inflated prices in the days after.

Ironically, Cobley and Google can still celebrate the huge successes of 2012, starting with unfulfilled demand for the Nexus 4, which came after an identical sales success for the Asus-built Nexus 7 tablet.

Meanwhile, Amazon's number one selling laptop in the US and UK for weeks on end has been the Samsung Chromebook, which runs the company's Chrome cloud-based operating system. Google isn't the only company that must be hurting.

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