A reply from Kobo

In case any one is curious, here’s the reply I got from Dan Leibu, CTO of Kobo. They’re definitely owning up to the problems which is nice.

Dear Ms. Schachter:

First and foremost, please let me apologize for the poor experiences you have had in upgrading your Kobo Reader. I’m deeply sorry for them and want to assure that this falls well short of my expectation for the quality of Kobo’s products.

The issues you encountered highlight gaps in both our customer communication and QA processes. Thanks to your feedback we have taken immediate action to close these gaps.

More specifically:

§ The initial upgrade included a major upgrade to the Adobe Reader Mobile SDK. This is the library that we use to support reading of Adobe DRM’d content. As part of this upgrade we were forced by Adobe to change the device fingerprint, which in turn required that our users re-authenticate their content. While we knew about this issue, we did not have any means to effectively communicate it to our customers before they upgraded. We are going to ensure that all future upgrades include appropriate messaging.

§ The second upgrade had a software defect that would cause the same issue to some customers including yourself. This defect should have been caught during our QA but it was not due to a gap in our test plans. We have since extended our testing to ensure smooth future upgrades.

In addition to these changes we have also implemented an extensive Beta testing program. As part of the roll out of new versions of the Kobo Reader software, we engage Beta testers to get early customer feedback and to ensure that the software is solid.

We definitely have not forgotten our Original Kobo Reader users – these are the people who made our business. Before the Original Kobo Reader’s success, we were a much smaller player in the ebooks space, and we have our early adopters to thank for propelling us to where we are today. I hope the release of the new features in 1.8, such as Newspapers, rich content, and access to a full dictionary, help to prove that.

We are committed to rolling out new features on our older devices, and if you are interested would love to count you among the ranks of our beta testers for future firmware updates.

If there is anything else that I can do to make up for these failures please let me know.

We are learning as we grow, and we promise to get better as we learn.

Yours sincerely,

Dan Leibu

I also got a reply from the director of Social Media who I had emailed at their request. Her email signature expressly forbade me from sharing her words in any public way, which is why you don’t see it here. That said, her reply was quite frustrating so it’s probably better I didn’t spread that around 🙂

2 Responses to “A reply from Kobo”

  1. farmwifetwo Says:

    The first upgrade went relatively smoothly. The first app upgrade locked down the device. The 2nd upgrade locked up the device. Called them this time… “can’t help, has to go to 2nd tier”, “that will be???”, “unknown”. So I did yet another system reboot – luckily, these factory reboots are leaving the new programming intact – and unlocked the machine again.

    So, I emailed them. Told them not to bother and told them politely that I was UNIMPRESSED with both the lockdown, the constant “let’s reload everything” of the app and the customer service. Like you, I bought mine in May, it’s one of the original devices.

    I have no complaints about the device… I have lots of complaints about the app and customer service. Debating whether to get just an iTouch – want it for communication apps for my autistic son – or it and a Kindle.

  2. assaf Says:

    Hey Jenn, Might want to check out this great app called Calibre for converting .pdf’s into the Kobo’s epub. Its free open source as well.


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