11 tech product flops and service fails in 2013

11 tech product flops and service fails in 2013

Summary: Some of 2013's most anticipated products and services may have drummed up support in the months prior to launch. But on opening day, it was nothing but stress and hassle.

SHARE:
TOPICS: Tech Industry
27

 |  Image 4 of 11

  • MySpace relaunch aimed to start afresh... by deleting everything

    Once the darling child of the modern Internet, Myspace began tumbling down from the popularity pedestal under the News Corp. days. Things looked up in late 2012 when the site relaunched for what seemed to be the bajillionth time in an effort to catch up with the better-established social networks that overtook the social pioneer during its heyday.

    Once the "beta" phase began to wane, the company saw most of its troubles as the site relaunched once again in June with a splashy new design that put musicians and artists at the forefront of the new service. Except, the decisions to shut down the games platform, and to delete almost every shred of existing content from 'classic' Myspace without consultation led to thousands of furious users. It even led to threats of legal action to get, in some cases, years worth of posts back.

    Image: MySpace/YouTube

  • Facebook Home had promise, but nobody wanted to move in

    Countless rumors over the course of more than two years pointed to Facebook eventually building its own phone. Despite the social networking giant's insistence that it won't, the lid was lifted on what it had been working on: Facebook on a phone, a dedicated phone. So it was a Facebook phone (sort of).

    Launching with the HTC First, Facebook Home was a part-loader, part-skin that was the company's big push into the mobile world. But it flopped, badly. Home barely took off, and HTC's flagship social phone barely resonated with buyers. Following AT&T's decision to drop the price from $99 to 99 cents, it was written off as an unmitigated disaster. One of the core reasons to the lack of interest was that users could already get Facebook on their phone, and didn't have to fork out close-to one hundred big-ones for it.

    Image: CNET

  • Healthcare.gov wasn't even close to being fit for use on its first day

    Dubbed "Obamacare," the Affordable Care Act would go on to help millions of Americans find cheaper health insurance among other benefits. In spite of the political controversy that went with the bill, it eventually passed and rubber-stamped into law by President Obama. But the website, designed as a gateway for Americans seeking new and better healthcare, became a controversy in its own right shortly after it launched in October. 

    To put it bluntly: it just didn't work. In the first few days, just a few hundred Americans were able to secure insurance using the site. Months later, only a few thousand have been able to use the site, which has been dogged with problems, erroneous data-sharing issues, privacy and security problems, and significant amounts of downtime. 

    The White House eventually called in the big guns: Google, Oracle, and Red Hat to help fix the troubled site. Registration was extended into 2014 as a result of the issues. 

    Image: CBSNews.com

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • Thumbnail 6
  • Thumbnail 7
  • Thumbnail 8
  • Thumbnail 9
  • Thumbnail 10
  • Thumbnail 11

Topic: Tech Industry

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

Talkback

27 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • What about the biggest flop of them all?

    I'm talking about Google Chromebooks. The loneliest spot in any Best Buy is the Chromebook display.
    Sir Name
    • Chrome Books have an audience

      They are doing quite well in schools. The problem is that consumers don't want an always on device, but schools, they work rather well for.


      Best Buy being a consumer business, no one cares about the, but I think the Microsoft Surface devices are far lonelier than the Chrome Books could ever dream to be.
      nucrash
      • Numbers

        See : http://www.zdnet.com/latest-idc-figures-show-chromebooks-continue-to-struggle-7000023000/
        cld9731@...
    • Don't know about that

      I went in one week with chromebooks on the display and customers there, then the next week and there were no more and big signs that said "don't worry more on the way". However, you wonder if microsoft has any say in what goes on in these stores.
      You could argue the mac area at best buy is lonely, but every non-gamer I know now seems to have a macbook for their personal laptop. Windows only seems to be stuck on every business PC, because you 'have' to use it.
      drwong
      • That's odd, DrWong

        since they ALWAYS seem to be on display at the Best Buy's I've been in, and the Staples stores.

        What's even odder is that nobody is ever around those displays, but they're at the Apple and Microsoft ones.

        So that's a very odd statement coming from you.

        Oh wait - no it isn't! :)
        William.Farrel
      • OH really?

        Windows PCs are on my desks because I want to use them... both for work and play. Considering the % of the market share Windows/Mac computers populate... I very much doubt that everyone you know has a Mac.
        MelbourneTweetr
    • and...

      certainly RT is a bigger flop. You really shouldn't be bringing up chromebooks, a relative success that will keep growing.
      drwong
      • re:

        Windows RT outsells Chromebooks.
        Sir Name
        • I haven't heard about any 900 million

          loss for chromebooks. All I see is more companies starting to put them out. RT - lost all its OEM backers.
          drwong
          • Because you can't / don't want to understand much?

            Lets see, Acer CEO fired for backing Chromebooks, HP recalling Chrombooks, others sitting on shelves.

            Now seeing that Surface was from a single company, and Chromebooks are spread out over several, do you think the total write offs between them all will be equal to the original Surface writedown, or will each company cut their loss on a "non newsworthy" scale, as each company made them in limited quanties, (which MS should have done)?

            I know, when logic is used, your posts have a hard time standing on their own, which is why I guess you always lose.
            William.Farrel
          • Its not a competition!!!

            I heartilly wish that you and all your buddies who see these discussions as a competition to see who can slag whose product choices would just bugger off and let the adults discuss the tech.
            Your constant attitudes of self-indulgence pretty well ruin the site for the big boys.
            radleym
          • you have the same mindset as the outgoing

            Steve Ballmer. He himself has even admitted he is part of the problem and that's why he's out.
            drwong
        • Magic 8 ball says

          "Doubtful"
          WhoRUKiddin
          • That's what I was going to ask you

            WhoRUKiddin?
            William.Farrel
  • But wait, Shutty says lots of companies want to use Ubuntu on their phones

    Of course he can't tell us who they are.

    I knew Ubuntu Edge was dead the moment he couldnt get any big investors to invest in the project.
    otaddy
  • Right on target

    On the iPhone 5C I could not agree more with this:

    "Expectations were simply way off base to reality, even if the price point was still a little too high."

    In reality, it's really the high-priced data plans that get US customers, at least. The off-contract prices could have been lower, that's granted, but Apple's a business driven by hardware sales and profit, not so much by fermium services - yet. So, yeah, the expectations, not Apple's execution, are what need to be questioned.

    Great points on all the other flops!
    chrisanderson1973
    • In Europe

      the 5c costs more than a Galaxy S4, HTC One or Nokia Lumia 920 off contract.

      Good, on contract, they all cost 99c, so there isn't much difference, and the iPhone 5S starts at around 90 Euros. But most people I know use PAYG SIMs or a 19 Euro a month flat rate (mobile, landline and data flats) and buy the phone off contract.

      When a low end Nokia or Samsung costs a hundred Euros, it isn't really a wonder that the 5c is struggling with its 600 Euro price tag.
      wright_is
    • In Europe

      the 5c costs more than a Galaxy S4, HTC One or Nokia Lumia 920 off contract.

      Good, on contract, they all cost 99c, so there isn't much difference, and the iPhone 5S starts at around 90 Euros. But most people I know use PAYG SIMs or a 19 Euro a month flat rate (mobile, landline and data flats) and buy the phone off contract.

      When a low end Nokia or Samsung costs a hundred Euros, it isn't really a wonder that the 5c is struggling with its 600 Euro price tag.
      wright_is
    • Hmmm

      They're building about 1 million 5c phones a week (150,000 a day), that's 52 million a year (and about 1/3 the run rate of the 5s), I'd hardly call that a flop. That's more iPhone 5cs sold than Nokia Lumias over the same period.
      rbgaynor
      • no flop?

        So why don't you buy it? I'm sure you don't :)
        ambek