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 7 of 11

  • Thumbnail 1
  • Thumbnail 2
  • Thumbnail 3
  • Thumbnail 4
  • Thumbnail 5
  • Thumbnail 6
  • Thumbnail 7
  • Thumbnail 8
  • Thumbnail 9
  • Thumbnail 10
  • Thumbnail 11
  • Surface, Windows RT launched but burned up in orbit

    Anything "Windows" this year has been at the top of the contentious list. Microsoft may not be the Windows-making giant it once was — instead transforming into a devices and services company. But a good selection of its flagship devices struggled to get off the ground

    Windows RT, the low-power ARM-based operating system, has barely taken off and forced Microsoft to take a $900 million inventory writedown on its Surface RT tablet in its fiscal fourth quarter earnings in July. The wider Surface picture isn't great either. Even the company itself said the fact it had three versions of Windows is confusing. Many still don't even know what the difference is between Windows 8 and Windows RT.

    Image: CNET

  • BlackBerry Z10 crashed the company into a financial brick wall

    Out with the old, and in with the new. BlackBerry has burned over the past year. But it was a slow, painful, and agonizing decline. It was like watching the slowest-ever car crash. The company has vowed to clean up its act and get back on the horse.

    First it was hit by a massive near-$1 billion loss as a result of the flop of its flagship BlackBerry Z10 smartphone, launched in January. And then the firm said it would put itself up for sale — so-called "strategic alternatives" — but that fell through, despite entering an agreement with an investment firm. Chief executive Thorsten Heins as a result resigned (although how far he was pushed remains unknown) and was replaced with former Sybase chief John Chen, who vowed not to "dwell on the past" and to power through financial hardship.

    There is hope for BlackBerry now, however. But whether it's a case of plugging the leaks in the sinking ship, or evacuating before it goes under completely, only time will tell.

    Image: CNET

  • Google TV struggles; regenerates as Android TV?

    Google had nothing but good intentions when it announced Google TV back in October 2010. With Intel, Sony, and Logitech on board, it had the support of giants working together to bring cheap and interactive Internet-connected television to the wider market.

    Three years later, all signs point to a massive rebrand that may play into the consumer market, relaunching as Android TV.

    The first major signs of trouble, aside from poor uptake and slow development, arrived in the form of Chromecast, a small USB device that allowed users to stream content from multiple devices to their televisions. It seemed for a while like the younger sibling was trying to outshine the bigger brother. Even though the product was solid and many who used it loved it, Google TV just couldn't take off. It may see its revival in Android TV, however. If that's the case, we can technically bid "adieu" to Google TV for good.

    Image: CNET

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