In the last ten years, there have been many failures in technology. However, there are ten that stand out and are well known for how seriously they failed. The goal of this list is to point out the top ten tech failures of the last decade and explain why they failed so badly.
10. HD DVD
HD DVD was the direct competitor with Blu-Ray for high definition DVDs. The battle began with HD DVD actually performing better sales-wise than Blu-Ray. However, this slowly took a turn for the worse as Sony, who was the creator of Blu-Ray, was able to convince more film studios to produce their films as Blu-Ray instead of HD DVD. As Blu-Ray did this, people became less interested in HD DVD and eventually the format just disappeared, making Blu-Ray the victor of the high definition DVD format war.
9. Sun Microsystems
Sun Microsystems was one of the leading innovators in the dot com era, but has since fallen far from its former self. Sun became disillusioned with its own chip architecture that it missed out on the transition to x86 processors. The biggest failure of Sun was its inability to capitalize on their key products and let the lesser products go. For example, Sun did not capitalize on Java like they should have. Sun also made numerous bad investments, including their $2 billion purchase of Cobalt Networks which did not help them. “There was just mismanagement. They purchased so many different things over the years. It was panic and frantic at the end.” says analyst Brian Babineau.
8. Apple TV
The Apple TV is probably Apple’s only failure of the last decade, but it certainly is a big one. The Apple TV was designed to be a set-top box to connect your TV to your computer. It allowed pictures, video, and audio. While it sounded like a great concept, the execution of the product is what killed it. From the start, Apple had a hard time trying to figure out who they should market it for, making it difficult to sell. In addition, the features were lack-luster, like requiring an HDTV but delivering poor resolution video. These factors combined to make the Apple TV an outright failure.
7. Windows Mobile 6
Windows Mobile 6
became a huge failure when its competition started to heat up. In the early stages, Windows Mobile was only in competition with BlackBerry and Palm and was doing a decent job of it. However, once Android and the iPhone came out, Windows Mobile lost nearly all of their market. Windows Mobile had originally done well because it appealed to the consumer market when BlackBerry appealed to the business market. However, once Android and the iPhone came out, the Windows Mobile OS was completely unable to compete. It was inferior in every way. Even updates like the release of 6.5 were unable to save Windows Mobile against the big guns of Android and the iPhone.
6. The Seagate Hard Drive Fiasco
In 2009, the series Barracuda 7200.11 of Seagate hard drives experienced a massive failure rate. This was the mainstream consumer drive that Seagate was selling at the time, thus affecting many users. These drives were filled with problems, from hang-ups to the drives completely failing and erasing all data. Seagate did its best to remedy the problem, but by the time they fixed it many people had experienced these problems. Since then, Seagate has been considered second-best to the current industry leader Western Digital.
Please continue on to the next page where we conclude our list of the top ten tech failures of the last decade.
On the previous page of this article, we looked at the first five of our list of top ten tech failures of the last decade. Now, let’s look at the other five failures of the past ten years…
5. Microsoft Zune
The Microsoft Zune. Microsoft’s attempt to take on the MP3 champion, the Apple iPod. While in theory, the Zune was a great alternative, it failed to gain much mainstream success. The specifications on the Zune were impressive, it had a radio tuner that the iPod did not have among other features. The Zune was killed by its poor marketing combined with status that having an iPod had. iPods were a fashion statement for a while and having an iPod made the user look “cool”. Having a Zune could not compete with this at all. On the software side, the Zune media player when first released was not nearly as refined or as nice as the iTunes player. The Zune has made some strides since then, but it will always be a failure when compared to the iPod.
4. Y2K Scare
The infamous Y2K bug. Many people feared that the rollover from the 1900s to the 2000s would greatly upset the computer systems and maybe even cause a large-scale crash. While this claim seems absurd now, it did have some basis. Many companies had to prepare for the switch to 2000 by changing the data on their computer to support a 4 digit year (1994) instead of a 2 digit year (94). This change took a great amount of effort, but was certainly manageable. The scare was that these changes would be missed and that it would be able to effect the average person. Many people feared this, but it turned out to be absolutely nothing.
The Sega Dreamcast was a videogame system with a lot of potential that just did not gain traction. It just was not able to compete with the PlayStation and the Xbox. It was released before both of them, but still did not gain the upper hand. The PlayStation 2 had a very strong group of followers from the original PlayStation and the Dreamcast was not able to appeal to them like the PlayStation 2 could. The Dreamcast did have some major releases game-wise, but not nearly as many as the PlayStation 2. The Dreamcast is considered a great memory for some, but that some is a very small group.
The Segway was designed to revolutionize the way we got around. The Segway is now tied to the notion of the rich and the lazy. It promised very much, but like many other products on this list it delivered very little. The Segway was then plagued with a problem where it would randomly switch into reverse, throwing the rider off the device. A failed concept and a failed execution.
1. Windows Vista
The final item to make our list of the top ten tech failures of the last decade is Windows Vista. Windows Vista
is considered to be the greatest flop of the last decade by many. It promised so much when it was initially announced, but delivered so little by the time it was actually released. The Operating System was filled with bugs and annoyances that were not remedied until over a year after its release. After Service Pack 2, Vista was considered to be a good Operating System, but by this point it had already gotten many people to view Microsoft as a company that has left its prime. Microsoft set about making Windows 7 as soon as Vista was released and made sure they did not make a repeat mistake.