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?
The first Tacoma Narrows Bridge was a Washington State suspension bridge that opened in 1940 and spanned the Tacoma Narrows strait of Puget Sound between Tacoma and the Kitsap Peninsula. It opened to traffic on July 1, 1940, and dramatically collapsed into Puget Sound on November 7, just four months after it opened.
Noting that we now live in an era of “confusion and ill-conceived stuff,” Ammunition design studio founder Robert Brunner, speaking at Gigaom Roadmap, said that by adding connectivity to everything and its mother, we aren't necessarily doing ourselves any favors, with many ‘things’ just fine in their unconnected state.
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