Weekend Open Forum: Biggest tech failures of 2011

By on December 16, 2011, 7:30 PM

There are always valuable lessons to be learned from failures -- and boy has 2011 been a pedagogic year for some tech companies. Sony, for example, has no doubt learned about the importance of securing its network infrastructure, especially when it holds the information of millions of customers. And in the event that something goes wrong again they now know it's better to come clean sooner rather than later.

Netflix and HP probably learned a thing or two about about communicating with their customers as well. The first tried and failed to split its business in two, and announced a 60% price increase for streaming and DVD-by-mail customers, while HP alienated partners and shook customer confidence when it announced it was halting its webOS projects and possibly exiting the consumer PC market.

We could go on for a while listing Research In Motion's recent mishaps, or the back and forth patent battles in the mobile sector headed by Apple versus Samsung and Microsoft versus every Android manufacturer. Some were also dissapointed by the iPhone 5's no-show -- though the 4S is a huge sales success -- and in general 2011 was something of a failure for any tablet manufacturer that wasn’t Apple and maybe Amazon.

What about Google's Chromebooks? Was the decade long wait for Duke Nukem Forever worth it? Cast your vote in the poll below and let us know about the tech failures we missed in the comments.

Fail stamp image from Shutterstock




User Comments: 30

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cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Sometimes I wish I could vote for more than one. There are a few more I would add to my list but unfortunately I can only place a single vote.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Boy, that's quite the list of failures. Didn't really think there were that many until you put them together like that. There are a bunch worthy of a #1 vote. I had to go with the Netflix/Qwikster fiasco though. That single event will in all likelihood bring down one of the most profitable (I believe at one time they were worth 6 billion) and highly-touted companies to exist in recent memory.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

What, no 3D TV & gaming ?

Scshadow said:

dividebyzero said:

What, no 3D TV & gaming ?

3D TV and gaming is doing fine, dbz. Its just still in its infancy. When 3d TV sales go down(they're going up currently and prices are falling) and there is any evidence its losing traction, then I can agree with you. 3DS is up there because it had a poor launch and the user experience of handheld 3d is questionable. Glasses free is where its at. No holding your head at a certain angle or straining to look at a small screen.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

dividebyzero said:

What, no 3D TV & gaming ?

That's been failing for decades .

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

Modern Warfare 3=biggest fail. But then again I am a battlefield fanboy so I may be slightly biased... Btw I don't recall how Crysis 2 was a failure. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

I was disappointed that there was no Diablo 3 but I don't think that constitutes a fail.

Guest said:

"Modern Warfare 3=biggest fail. But then again I am a battlefield fanboy so I may be slightly biased... Btw I don't recall how Crysis 2 was a failure. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

I was disappointed that there was no Diablo 3 but I don't think that constitutes a fail."

I thought it was a fail because it was released in DX9 not in its full DX11 which was a huge disappointment to the PC community.

and my opinion of the "alien invasion" was abit lame.

Ranger12 Ranger12 said:

ah yes, I remember now. It was underwhelming how simplistic the graphics options were before the DX11 update.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Matthew said:

dividebyzero said:

What, no 3D TV & gaming ?

That's been failing for decades .

And Duke Nukem Forever hasn't ?

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

Hahaha, touché.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

So far I'm in the minority but for me HP's dismissal of webOS after spending over a billion dollars on Palm (money going to the trash, literally) and their near retirement of the PC is hands down this year's biggest tech failure.

SOPA comes very close and would have been my first choice if it was a done deal, but it's not and I have faith liberties on the Internet will remain intact in the end.

Sony's network issues also deserve a big FAIL, but it's not as crucial as the aforementioned two in my opinion.

ramonsterns said:

The 3DS. Gimmick, within a gimmick, within a gimmick.

ghasmanjr ghasmanjr said:

I have to go with the Sony breach seeing as how I have a PS3. It's a damn good thing that I have a 360 as well, because I was bored this summer without the ability to play online with my playstation friends. Their "welcome back" gifts were nice, but you just can't excuse the fact that the network was down for an ENTIRE MONTH. That was simply pathetic.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

3dtv hurts my eyes. Played assassins creed revelations on it and its darker and to look at differents assets (i.e. the map, the ammo, the central character, other npcs) your eyes can't just glance, you need to refocus every time. after a hard day in the office coding on dual monitors there is no way I would want a tv where that is the only way of viewing. Its a gimmic that can't be used by alot of people because of visual impairment and can only be an option rather than a complete substitute until the technology radically changes.

I put the Sony data breach as my main fail but Duke was up there as well. Surprised to see Chromebooks on there but then I haven't seen one in the wild and did think it sounded like a stupid idea for 600quid.

fimbles fimbles said:

I think the whole Playstation network hack can only be classed as WIN!

After the way poor george hotz was treated. The bigger they are the harder they fall :P

inventix1136 said:

Julio said:

SOPA comes very close and would have been my first choice if it was a done deal, but it's not and I have faith liberties on the Internet will remain intact in the end.

You have an administration that put the last 5 out of 5 Justice Department appointees from the ranks of RIAA lawyers. This has nothing to do with piracy but everything to do with power. You are critical of the government -- bang, your website is no longer there, no proof needed to yank the website. If SOPA does not pass, then something similarly draconian will emerge, possibly worse.

Remember that SOPA is the bastard child of, well, the bastard Lamar Smith, who first proposed the Protect IP legislation on which SOPA is based upon.

P.S. If there is a person who deserves to win a darwin award -- and SOON, it is Lamar Smith since he is a greater threat to U.S. than the 3rd Reich ever was.

mattfrompa mattfrompa said:

Nothing on this list even compares to SOPA. The amount of rage inducing corruption and disregard for the security,innovation,privacy, etc. far surpasses the lack of foresight in any of the other choices. The fact that it has come this far is in my opinion a very bad sign. However I'm still hopeful that the US Government will wake up and listen to people who actually know how the internet works, not just outdated businesses who want to control something they have no business even attempting to do. The 3DS never infringed upon my first amendment rights...i think...

Guest said:

I was unsure about what to vote for until I saw SOPA hanging out at the middle of the page.

yRaz yRaz said:

AMD FX rebrand, just because I wanted one... I was hoping that I could finally upgrade from my 720 BE. PSN was a big fail and so was duke nukem. Duke didn't bother me much since I hadn't played any of the games but I was still looking forward to a kind of "retro" game.

Here's to a better 2012?

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

You should've put a single option which would be called "Google, everything but their mail and search engine".

treetops treetops said:

I shake my fist at all you duke nukem forever haters . I went with the anti pirate act Id hate to have to watch shows that come on for free on regular tv at designated times. I would go with netflix but even though they lost many users I believe with the increased prices they are making more money month to month then ever. (just guessing about netflix)

Guest said:

SOPA and Bulldozer are the worst offenders but Google is being overlooked (fortunately for their share price). They've really been floundering lately, everything they try and do in-house has failed or been stagnant for a while now; Google TV, Google Buzz, Google Wave, Google Talk, Google+ (might be too early to say for sure, but it looks that way), Google Chromebooks, etc.

To date their only real successes are still only search and Gmail (ancient now), and YouTube and Android (acquisitions rather than Google's own ideas). I suppose Chrome too.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

SOPA comes very close and would have been my first choice if it was a done deal, but it's not and I have faith liberties on the Internet will remain intact in the end.

I don't think SOPA is dead yet. I was following it a bit on Reddit (more "live" and major news outlets weren't covering it) and it seems to me they just shut it down because they wanted to go home for the holidays. It will be back next year. They apparently wanted some "experts" to weigh in on it, but I believe those experts are government experts, not private sector experts. Plus, I thought they had moved at least a part of the discussions to classified, so its hidden from the public. It is definitely a move up from Thursday when it looked like it had full support to pass (by every amendment being shot down), but there are still lots of scenarios that allow this to pass.

Guest said:

I'll happily add a few fails to the list. Besides the Google growing to be as evil as ever, shoving down out throats Gmail with YouTube, making Chrome the only proper client to use it etc. I'll mention Facebook as a whole changing frequently navigation on the website, moving options with a extremely creepy, stalker like "Document your life" Timeline feature changing one straight column into two with messages left to right to left to ****. Besides that (And I know I'm willingly participate right now) launch of every possible consumer electronic, interview or whatever infested with non subject related discussions about Apple and how particular product is a copy of iProduct and how Apple is awesome and all the brain wash type of posts.

Guest said:

I'm adding Norton to this list.I bought a Gateway/Acer Touchscreen,Windows 7 (Too much sharing,in my HO),installed Norton 360,& was hacked. Ha-all of these should be on the list!

So,after being told by Gateway-Level 2 that "The computer is shot", (reformatting wasn't even offered) I returned it to where I purchased it from.

I then bought an HP & tried using Norton again. On it's watch,my pc was infected by 5 different PUM Hijack trojans!!

After reformatting x2,I installed McAfee Total Protection...waiting to see if this will 'Protect".

I also installed Anvir Task Manager Pro,& Malwarebytes.To be continued...but comments/suggestions would be appreciated.

Leeky Leeky said:

I'm adding Norton to this list.I bought a Gateway/Acer Touchscreen,Windows 7 (Too much sharing,in my HO),installed Norton 360,& was hacked. Ha-all of these should be on the list!

So,after being told by Gateway-Level 2 that "The computer is shot", (reformatting wasn't even offered) I returned it to where I purchased it from.

I then bought an HP & tried using Norton again. On it's watch,my pc was infected by 5 different PUM Hijack trojans!!

After reformatting x2,I installed McAfee Total Protection...waiting to see if this will 'Protect".

I also installed Anvir Task Manager Pro,& Malwarebytes.To be continued...but comments/suggestions would be appreciated.

Microsoft's Security Essentials anti-virus comes highly recommended, and free. Pair that with Comodo's free firewall, and Malwarebytes and you will have a free solution, but also highly versatile and secure computer.

In my opinion there really is no need to be purchasing security software these days. The free versions despite missing a few extra features provide more than enough security.

I personally use Mawarebytes, MSE AV, and either MS firewall (Win7) or Comodo's Firewall for my Windows boxes.

It also goes without saying that even the best security solutions aren't going to do the best job of protecting you if you continually place them at risk with the way you use your computer. Maybe you need to reappraise the way in which you use your computer, and find out why you keep getting trojans and other nasties in the first place.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Guest said:

I'm adding Norton to this list.I bought a Gateway/Acer Touchscreen,Windows 7 (Too much sharing,in my HO),installed Norton 360,& was hacked. Ha-all of these should be on the list!

So,after being told by Gateway-Level 2 that "The computer is shot", (reformatting wasn't even offered) I returned it to where I purchased it from.

I then bought an HP & tried using Norton again. On it's watch,my pc was infected by 5 different PUM Hijack trojans!!

After reformatting x2,I installed McAfee Total Protection...waiting to see if this will 'Protect".

I also installed Anvir Task Manager Pro,& Malwarebytes.To be continued...but comments/suggestions would be appreciated.

Yeah, I have a few questions.

1) how many porn sites do you visit a day to get infected to quickly and so badly?

2) why did you use Norton again after it failed you the first time?

3) Why do you keep using really badly rated anti-virus programs?

4) Just advise really, never buy an Acer, if you have the option between a HP or Acer definately go for the HP even if it is lower spec, It will more than likely last twice as long as the Acer.

Leeky Leeky said:

Burty117,

Point 4 is subjective at best. I've personally had incredibly bad experiences with HP laptops and wouldn't touch them with a barge pole if you paid me first. Then again I tend to stick to Dell, which have been consistently reliable over the ten or so laptops I've purchased from them over the years. I'm currently typing away on a several years old Dell D630, which despite one battery change (at 6 years old its understandable) has never, ever missed a beat.

I've also purchased 5-6 HP laptops of varying specs and every single one of them went back during warranty for multiple issues. Warranty service is a nightmare at best, and two laptops were damaged in transit as well. On the whole I'd point blank recommend people avoid them full stop.

But then I also realise most people don't like Dell. Whatever shoe fits really, they're hands down the best laptops I've ever used.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Fair enough, I only used HP as the guest said he then bought a HP instead of an Acer, I agree that most people I know who have got Dells have been very reliable, Next time I'll just list every company other than Acer :P

Leeky Leeky said:

To be honest the one Acer I did purchase for my daughter is such a shed I wouldn't buy one of those again either.

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