Tech Fail! Biggest Flops of The Last 10+ Years

By on May 2, 2012, 11:00 PM

There are two surefire ways to have your name immortalized in history: succeed in your stride toward greatness or, as so many tech firms did in 2011, faceplant trying.

Fresh in our memory are failed products like the Blackberry Playbook and HP's TouchPad, the PlayStation Network getting hacked, Microsoft's Kin smartphones being removed from circulation after a mere 48 days, AMD's FX relaunch and Duke Nukem Forever. Those and a few others have served as inspiration for us to look further back and revisit some of the biggest flops of the new millennia, starting with what many consider Microsoft's worst OS ever.

Read the complete article.




User Comments: 88

Got something to say? Post a comment
sapo joe said:

Add to the list Windows 8 already... And call me a prophet!

Wizz-Fizz Wizz-Fizz said:

Add to the list Windows 8 already... And call me a prophet!

I wouldn't jump in on that one just yet.

If its the interface that drives this comment, I think they have done an ok job in melding a "Touch" interface with the more "Traditional" input methods.

The problem with ME and Vista were actual technical limitations and poor coding.

Only time will tell :eek:

ghasmanjr ghasmanjr said:

I'm surprised the ZIP drive was never mentioned

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

No doubt you'll get a plethora of "you forgot this" comments, so might as well add mine to the list now.

Betamax.

treetops treetops said:

Yeah I had some fun playing soul calibur on sega dreamcast with my friends in high school in 98-2001, only one person I've ever met owned one. Almost the neo geo of its time.

ghasmanjr ghasmanjr said:

No doubt you'll get a plethora of "you forgot this" comments, so might as well add mine to the list now.

Betamax.

I worked hard to try and forget this...

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

Good list. Thankfully I only had three on the list. Vista, Dreamcast *sniff*, and DRM.

After Windows Vista SP1 I left XP and never looked back.

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

I'm surprised the ZIP drive was never mentioned

This and the Betamax comment. When we said 10+ years (and after looking at the content) we meant from 2000 to the present. Those other products are way, way older and belong to an article of tech fails of all time.

Guest said:

I have no idea why Android is on there. I replaced my iPhone and iPod Touch with Android. Samsung is cleaning up with all of their Android devices. Android's are way better in that you can install anything, add a 64-128Gb SD card, replace the battery, comes in any size, has USB ports and so much more. Plus, it syncs your Gmail account and contacts.

Guest said:

Android is not on the list, Android tablets are, along with the TouchPad, Playbook and other tablets that are not the iPad... which I guess makes sense. Android smartphones are a different story, those have been truly successful.

cyrusjumpjet cyrusjumpjet said:

Good article! Glad you mentioned DRM-- didn't see that one coming. Also surprised about the inclusion of Android tablets, but I'd have to admit that the iPad does seem much further along than the competition.

Guest said:

"Sega Dreamcast

The game console that could, but wasn't"

http://i.qkme.me/355esf.jpg

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Wut, DC had Power Stone 1 and 2 and other games. Any platform that can play Power Stone = win -_-

Guest said:

You reminded me of Windows Me! You are bad, very bad, very very bad! [image link]

Guest said:

Some products are unfairly labeled as "failures".

Good products have failed in the past due to the fickle nature of the "masses".

The popularity of COD and Apple products are fine examples. These products are wildly popular but have little or no substance.

Perception has become more important than what actually is.

Scshadow said:

I have no idea why Android is on there. I replaced my iPhone and iPod Touch with Android. Samsung is cleaning up with all of their Android devices. Android's are way better in that you can install anything, add a 64-128Gb SD card, replace the battery, comes in any size, has USB ports and so much more. Plus, it syncs your Gmail account and contacts.

I think the point is not in the failure of making a better product as many products on this list didn't necessarily have anything technically wrong with it. Unfortunately, android users don't have a high demand for the tablet experience. Besides branding and first to market, I think tablets just appeal more to the type of person that flocks to Apple. I'm 100% an android person who does actually own a HP touchpad with android installed, but I don't hardly use it at all. Android users are more often power users and would rather play games on PC and consoles which severely limits tablet appeal IMO. And I'm definitely not saying all android users are like this, just saying thats my guess as to why android tablets can't catch a good market share.

mosu said:

Putting Android devices in a list doesn't make them a flop, it just sounds like your wish list. In countries with smarter people android tablets outnumber iPads and are widely used even in schools, not only for entertainment.

kingmustard kingmustard said:

The Sega Dreamcast and HD-DVD format did not fail because they were bad products. I'm not entirely sure they should be on this list.

Arris Arris said:

The Sega Dreamcast and HD-DVD format did not fail because they were bad products. I'm not entirely sure they should be on this list.

They didn't fail technologically but failed in their respective markets. It's the same if you go further back to betamax for example. It was actually a superior product to VHS. If I remember correctly when the HD-DVD vs Bluray battle commenced I think the reading I did pointed to HD-DVD as the better format.

Marnomancer Marnomancer said:

<sniff-sniff> Did I smell Vista? Yeahhhhhh!!!!

And maybe Nero.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The Dreamcast is one of my favourite consoles of all time (along with the SNES), didn't really deserve to flop. There were some truly innovative games: Shenmue, Jet Set Radio, Crazy Taxi, MSR, Phantasy Star... unlike all this rehashed crap like CoD 17 or whatever.

I'm pretty sure HD-DVD failed just because of the silly tongue twisting name. Blu-ray just sounded cooler.

Seraphim401 Seraphim401 said:

I trully with every physical and non-physical part of my being hate you, Windows Me...

Guest said:

How about the palm pre and WebOS

Guest said:

Dreamcast was full of WIN!!!

cookiedude cookiedude said:

They didn't fail technologically but failed in their respective markets. It's the same if you go further back to betamax for example. It was actually a superior product to VHS. If I remember correctly when the HD-DVD vs Bluray battle commenced I think the reading I did pointed to HD-DVD as the better format.

I'm 90% sure that in this instance the technologically superior format won, largely due to BR offering higher capacities so not a vast difference between the two... but still :grin:

mrtraver said:

Ami i the only one who LIKED Windows Me? Or is that cognitive dissonance kicking in, telling me i liked it becasue i actually paid for the upgrade? Yes, I was young and stupid. I bought it mainly for the system restore feature, but i never did have any of the compatibility issues that everyone seems to bring up.

cookiedude cookiedude said:

Seems I was lucky to have skipped ME, thanks to the advice of a friend I jumped straight to Windows 2000, one of the best versions I've used.

HalfHuman said:

i must say i enjoyed win me and had a good experience. of course when i switched to winxp i did not look back. did not touch vista but happily jumped on win7.

drm is of course a dumb ideea, at least the way it's implemented.

i kinda agree with "android" being included here. i'm a android guy myself, using a galaxy tab 7inch as a phone. bought my wife a htc wildfire s. however i'm greatly annoyed by the fragmentation. there are lots of customizations that change the experience significantly. many models (phones/tablets) are abandoned shortly and we do not get updates and we are left with underperforming and unstable os versions. i'm sick and tired of custom cables for data/power (especially ipad like ones or the many "little" usb formats) that cost tens of dollars. this is however common for laptops also.

i know all these were covered by many articles but i repeat this so maybe google gets a grip and starts putting some order into this mess. let the carriers customize but allow me to remove the customizations if i choose to. make sure that we get upgrades for devices at least for several years after buying them (don't care how but please provide the updates).

CrisisDog said:

HEY! No picking on the Dreamcast, I stil have two that I use, plenty of great games. Blame SEGA marketing.

And I still don't see why everyone still picks on Vista. I jumped on the x64 bandwagon with Vista's release and never had a problem.

I used to be for HD DVD too, but as time goes on, the disks are "rotting" and become unplayable, so I'll give you that one...

HalfHuman said:

blue ray was not so much better tham hddvd but offered better drm, or should i say "better" as in worse. hddvd had the advantage of being quite similar to dvds and it was cheaper to convert dvd fabs to make hddvd. also from the compatibility point of view was better as it's cheaper to make a drive supporting cd/dvd/hddvd than cd/dvd/blueray. anyway then can stick it as the disc are going down the drain. flash memory or online content are more convenient so it really does not matter much now.

Guest said:

I would totally agree with this article if they didn't say android tablet is a failure.

I love my Transformer Prime.

mlauzon said:

Add to the list Windows 8 already... And call me a prophet!

I wouldn't jump in on that one just yet.

If its the interface that drives this comment, I think they have done an ok job in melding a "Touch" interface with the more "Traditional" input methods.

The problem with ME and Vista were actual technical limitations and poor coding.

Only time will tell :eek:

Win8+Metro should've only been for tablets.

The guy who did the following video should've been hired by MS, as what he did would've been amazing on the desktop!

http://vimeo.com/4255076\

mlauzon said:

What the hell, it didn't quote the comment, just crammed everything together with the quote I was commenting on.

Guest said:

Where are P4 (especially its Prescott implementation) and Iomega & Syquest removale disk drives of pure fail ?

MilwaukeeMike said:

Good article! Glad you mentioned DRM-- didn't see that one coming. Also surprised about the inclusion of Android tablets, but I'd have to admit that the iPad does seem much further along than the competition.

You didnt' see it coming because DRM isn't a product anyone tried to sell or get people to use. If this was a list of tech stuff we just don't like I'd add people complaining about DRM.

MilwaukeeMike said:

They didn't fail technologically but failed in their respective markets. It's the same if you go further back to betamax for example. It was actually a superior product to VHS. If I remember correctly when the HD-DVD vs Bluray battle commenced I think the reading I did pointed to HD-DVD as the better format.

I'm 90% sure that in this instance the technologically superior format won, largely due to BR offering higher capacities so not a vast difference between the two... but still :grin:

Actually Blu-ray won because Sony agreed to include much stronger piracy protection than Toshiba (I think?) was willing to include on HD DVD. This got the studios on board and once they signed on, it was over. Most industry analysts agreed that both Blu-ray and HD DVD would be smaller formats anyway (nothing like VHS or the DVD) because upconverting DVD was so easy and streaming HD movies replace all the discs anyway.

DanUK DanUK said:

nVidia GTX 480.

Dreamcast tho <3 Loved mine. Endless hours spent on Powerstone 1 & 2 and Soul Calibur. The Sonic game it was release with was quite solid also.

Wasn't this one of the first consoles to really try the whole online thing?

Guest said:

Rofl, two out of ten fails are OS's of MS. And then you call windows a superior OS to linux! :D

ps: sorry for this out of topic comment but i couldn't resist to the recent ubuntu review's comments!

Guest said:

not so hard to see that this article is written by a apple fanboy :P tablets aren't no flop or failure! but ppl who can't see the difference between an ipad and an tablet, are the failures ;)

Guest said:

i am truly surprise to see playbooks on the list, i have one and love it. it's a lot cheaper than the ipad, has a large number of apps, works great, has a huge battery life, and works like a dream. i can't understand why it's called a failure, maybe because of low sales or lack of marketing?

Arris Arris said:

They didn't fail technologically but failed in their respective markets. It's the same if you go further back to betamax for example. It was actually a superior product to VHS. If I remember correctly when the HD-DVD vs Bluray battle commenced I think the reading I did pointed to HD-DVD as the better format.

I'm 90% sure that in this instance the technologically superior format won, largely due to BR offering higher capacities so not a vast difference between the two... but still :grin:

Actually Blu-ray won because Sony agreed to include much stronger piracy protection than Toshiba (I think?) was willing to include on HD DVD. This got the studios on board and once they signed on, it was over. Most industry analysts agreed that both Blu-ray and HD DVD would be smaller formats anyway (nothing like VHS or the DVD) because upconverting DVD was so easy and streaming HD movies replace all the discs anyway.

"Studios" including Sony's own ones. Handy thing to have for the battle

As far as "bluray being better", it may have had higher capacity (still get extra features on 2nd disks) but I haven't seen that much use of it. From my research back in the day I seem to remember the encoding or something of HD-DVD being better than Bluray.

[link]

HD image quality is by and large dictated by its bit-rate, MPEG2 is an ancient (in relative terms) video codec. VC-1 is two to three times more efficient than MPEG2, and thus far it seems to be apparent, that Blu-ray?s smaller disc sizes are only exacerbating this inefficiency.

Until Blu-ray either adopts VC-1 as their sole video codec or releases Blu-ray movies on 50GB discs, it?s very unlikely that Blu-ray?s image quality will even match, much less surpass that of HD-DVD?s.

HD-DVD is simply delivering higher bit-rates and overall better image quality, than Blu-ray is capable of with the combination of MPEG2 and 25GB Blu-ray discs.

In theory with 50GB discs Blu-ray could greatly improve its video quality even with MPEG2, but again until it?s on shelves and in players it?s just a theory.

captainawesome captainawesome said:

Every Blackberry os7 device ever made!

Guest said:

I agree my dad has one and its awesome, been using android tablets for a while, and I can't see why they're a failure. They offer a much better experience for really low cost, obviously depends on what you buy and how much you spend.

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

It's the same if you go further back to betamax for example. It was actually a superior product to VHS. If I remember correctly when the HD-DVD vs Bluray battle commenced I think the reading I did pointed to HD-DVD as the better format.

Agree with Betamax being better technologically than VHS but disagree with HD-DVD being better than Bluray. I own two HD-DVD set top boxes, two bluray, and one multi capable disk drive on my PC. I have lots of media for both (I was buying it up like crazy while HD-DVD was on its way out... some titles for as little as $1. There was a max theoretical number of layers for HD-DVD of 3 - with each layer having a max capacity of 15 GB. Bluray's max theoretical number of layers is/was 8 with each layer maxing out at 25 GB. The audio and video capabilities were mostly identical and things could look just as good on one platform as the other.

Guest said:

not so hard to see that this article is written by a apple fanboy :p tablets aren't no flop or failure! but ppl who can't see the difference between an ipad and an tablet, are the failures ;)

Well said, I think android tablets are really good, and I actually use them. I have used both iOS and Android devices. Windows Phone 7 is next on the list :D. I actually think ipod touches are failures coz the button breaks after a few months.. :|

Guest said:

The Android Tablets should definately not be on that list yet. If they end up to be phased out like hd-dvd then maybe but definately now is too early to say they failed.

p51d007 said:

I had an internal & external zip drive. Never had an issue

with either one.

I think most of the problems were people leaving disks in the zip drive, powering

them off and the heads were not retracted. I saw & heard a lot of COD's from those

but mine never was one of them. I still have the disks & drives.

amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

The Sega Dreamcast was one of my favorite systems.

Which is saying a lot for me, I have owned them all.

Ready to Rumble Boxing, Hydro Thunder, Soul Calibur, Crazy Taxi, Sonic Adventure, Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, Powerstone, Virtual ON, Shemnue, etc etc.

Some of my favorite gaming experiences of all time.

The issue with the Dreamcast was the timing of its release.

Newer consoles packing/bringing 3D gaming goodness made the Dreamcast's hardware obsolete within a year but that system will always hold a special place in my heart.

Guest said:

You forgot to add Apple's Ping and Mobileme... those were both colossal failures.

Zen Zen, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Just as LNCPapa stated, I to own several HD-DVD players, one in my master bedroom and one in my living room. I personally love the things, I liked them back when they were first released. I also made the choice to stay loyal to the HD-DVD format, even in the face of the mighty Blu-Ray. Personally speaking, I have several friends that only use Blu-Ray, I've watched a lot of movies on that format and see very little difference, if any between Blu-Ray and HD-DVD. And just like LNCPapa said, I to was buying up the heavily discounted HD-DVD movies when they were on their way out. I took my HD-DVD video library from around 50 disks at the peak of success for HD-DVD to just above 200 titles when it was on it's way out. I especially liked the $1.00 bins at Fry's, I was doing a power grab for those suckers. So for the foreseeable future, I won't be jumping on the Blu-Ray bandwagon anytime soon! For I even have have a spare HD-DVD player tucked away as a back up for if one of my primary's goes down, still in it's box, factory sealed, never been opened.

And as far as the other stuff on that "fail" list, some can be debated, but for the most part I agree with the list.

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.