3 tech giants make list of 'most hated' companies

Nokia, AT&T and Dell earn dubious 'honors' from 24/7 Wall St.

The folks at 24/7 Wall St. decided to ring in the New Year by getting their hate on. Editors at the investment web site developed a list of six criteria to determine which companies are the cream of the hated crop, including employee opinions, return on investment, consumer surveys, changes in brand value, media coverage and the view of taxpayers and politicians. (Also see: Secret Bank of America memo details WikiLeaks counter-strategy)

The end result was a roll call of the "15 most hated American companies in 2010." And making the grade were three major technology players: Nokia, AT&T and Dell. The Nokia choice was particularly eye-opening since the company is headquartered in Finland and not the U.S. But hate has no borders! 24/7 Wall St. said this about Nokia: Although it is the world’s largest cellphone company, Nokia’s (NYSE: NOK) reputation for the quality of its smartphones is in tatters. The company received the worst possible grades in JD Power’s 2010 Mobile Phone and Smartphone ratings for customer satisfaction for physical design, ease of operation and overall satisfaction. The only smartphone company with worse scores was Palm. Next up, AT&T: AT&T has received a great deal of negative press for its poor 3G service. That is not Ma Bell’s only problem. Independent research on customer satisfaction rates AT&T as poor. Consumer Reports recently reported that AT&T was the nation’s worst cellphone service provider, receiving a “poor” rating in all service categories other than texting. No doubt AT&T will issue a strong rebuttal, though given what 24/7 Wall St. wrote, it might be best for Ma Bell to respond via text. Finally, there's Dell: Dell performs poorly compared to most other online retailers, particularly in the PC and consumer electronics sector. ...Dell also experienced much negative press about charges brought against it by the federal government which covered accounting misstatements and other business violations. Recently, The New York Times reported that Dell sold defective PCs even though a number of its employees were aware of their problems. Other companies making the list include DirecTV, Dish Network and Bank of America. I suspect BofA might be on a list of its own after WikiLeaks publishes data from one of the bank executive's hard drive. ITworld readers are welcome to get their hate on in the comments section below. What tech companies would make your list?

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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