Elizabeth, sometimes you run across a system that has the feel of being designed by a bunch of fresh-from-school engineers without enough experienced supervision. This story has that feel.
The company as a whole may very well know better, but the company isn't a homogeneous whole.
As to accountable, the only time that happens is for safety (think automobile recalls). If the interior door cosmetic panel has a push-in plastic fastener that fails after the warranty expires, and fails consistently, I doubt the automobile company will recall the panel.
This is another case in which it would be good to hear from the company's designers to see why exactly they made the washer this way. You say that "the designer group had very little knowledge of reliable solid-state electronics." But shouldn't the company know better? And shouldn't they be held accountable somehow or try to improve this situation?
What should be the perception of a product’s real-world performance with regard to the published spec sheet? While it is easy to assume that the product will operate according to spec, what variables should be considered, and is that a designer obligation or a customer responsibility? Or both?
Biomimicry has already found its way into the development of robots and new materials, with researchers studying animals and nature to come up with new innovations. Now thanks to researchers in Boston, biomimicry could even inform the future of electrical networks for next-generation displays.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.