2013 in Review: Tech Turkeys of the year

2013 in Review: Tech Turkeys of the year

Summary: And now, for your reading pleasure, the very worst from the tech world in 2013.


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  • Tech Turkeys of 2013

    Thanksgiving of 2013 is upon us, and you know what that means... holiday gift lists and end of year news re-cap articles!

    But before we get there, we think it would be best to talk about Turkeys. Not Thanksgiving Turkeys, the juicy, delicious kind with savory gravy that everyone loves. We're talking about TECH TURKEYS, the worst products and services that have graced the pages of ZDNet over the past year.

    This year, our Turkeys come in two flavors: Those that truly displayed their Gobble-Gobble from a purely technical perspective (Type 1) and those that failed to realize revenue or garner significant industry adoption (Type 2).

    So without further ado, from the Editors and Contributors of ZDNet, the TECH TURKEYS of 2013.



  • Healthcare.gov, the Obamaturkey

    We begin our list of 2013 Tech Turkeys with the biggest Type 1 Tech Failure of them all.

    There's nothing more amusing than watching a giant government fall flat on its face implementing an IT project. There is an exception, of course. That's when the IT project disrupts the operation and business model of the largest industry in the history of mankind and the healthcare coverage for a large percentage of Americans who need ongoing care.

    It's not that America's healthcare and health insurance didn't need reform -- it desperately did. The majority of bankruptcies in the U.S. have been filed because of healthcare-related financial hardship and the majority of those were filed by people who had paid-up health insurance policies. So healthcare reform was an absolute necessity.

    No, the turkey here was how our beleagured government went about accomplishing (or, rather, not accomplishing the task). It all went wrong. The front-end Web site couldn't stay on long enough for anyone to use it. The back-end service providers didn't really want to be participating, so there was inherent friction in even the interoperability, and, of course, this was the most politically charged IT project probably in world history.

    What's the future of Healthcare.gov? Prognosis isn't good. Even though the leading opponent to the existence of the service, John Boehner, spent an afternoon trying to sign up, and the Affordable Care Act has weathered every challenge imaginable, the simple fact is this project took just about every single IT best practice and threw them out the window.

    Gobble gobble.

    -- David Gewirtz

Topics: Tech Industry, Ubuntu, Smartphones, Security, BlackBerry, Microsoft, Government, Google, Enterprise Software, Emerging Tech, Cloud, Apple


Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • Top 2 Turkeys

    1) WinRT

    2) Win 8
    Alan Smithie
    • You're exactly right

      Nothing more to say
      • I would not call them "turkey"; turkeys are TASTY, I like to eat them

        The subject.
        • Top turkeys

          Tasty.?..anything without a hdmi plug......and preferable separate from external power
          Is a tasteless turkey. Not many comment about the juicy morsel of watching all ur junk on the big screen! !
      • Top Turkey

        Top Turkey: The ZD Net way of turning every article into a series of pointless slides.
        Han CNX
        • Slides aren't that big of a deal

          Its that a top technology website doesn't give you the option to see the list as, well, a list, or have a decent slide viewer. Why is each one its own page? Celeb gossip sites have better image handling.
    • Is It?

      Surface RT is selling batter than chromebooks and Windows 8 is selling better than OSX. Never go full retard :)
      • MS already has the gun out

        It's going to be taken around the back and put out of it's misery.

        If you bought an RT device, more fool you as just about every sane person on the planet knew it was going to be a failure.
        Alan Smithie
        • Apple has a gun, too. And plenty of ammo, as they'll need it.

          Now Apple, there's quite a few failures coming out of Curpertino of late - Maps, 5C, OS X, iOS, just to name a few.

          But everybody already knew that the latest versions of their OS's were going to be looked at as failures, so no one was surprised that Apple was getting ready to take a few things round back with them, put them out of their misery. :)

          • Mavericks

            Using Mavericks right now -- no problems - no worries. I have no idea what the so called turkey status is for Apple products. I do believe the iPhone 5c should be priced at $399. As for iOS7 -- don't use it. Is there really a problem?
          • But you don't see the point?

            Plenty of us are using Windows 8 and Windows RT without a problem either. So that evidently can't quite be used as the criteria for something being a turkey, can it?
          • Still a turkey

            Windows 8 was still a turkey. Topping two niche OSes in market share isn't saying much for an OS that by default ships on virtually every PC (including almost all sub-$1000 device) because of Microsoft's virtual monopoly on the desktop. Windows 8 was supposed to be Microsoft's answer to iOS and its big push into tablets. Instead, the confused strategy over Windows 8 and RT just confused customers, and Microsoft's attempt to leverage Windows 8/RT to sell the original Surface led to a $900 million writedown. The jury is still out on Windows 8.1.
          • regarding win8 by default

            true, just about all "off the shelf" units from the vast majority of major retailers and pc companies (dell, hp, I'm looking at you) foist Win8 on the unsuspecting & naive. This year, I've bought 2 new PC's (between supporting me & my kids computer gaming habits, I buy at least 1 new pc every 18 ~ 24 months) and guess what? I ordered both Build To Order with Windows 7. For at least 15 years now I've always bought HP pc's direct from HP, but HP wouldn't give me Win7, so I ended up going to a smaller (game machine) maker. What will I do when even the smaller shops no longer offer Win7? Well, if MS hasn't aborted that foul and disgusting Metro interface and produced a DEDICATED DESKTOP PC OS that is focused on a normal MOUSE AND KEYBOARD interface, then I'll just have to go linux. I'll be keeping my eye on the "STEAM machines" that are supposed to be coming out.
            Gravyboat McGee
          • You should be considering Linux just based on security.

            If you are doing anything financial or secure, Linux (Debian) is the best choice.

            Mint Cinnamon
            Mint KDE

            They do most of what people want, and If you want Win7, Robolinux makes the VM setup almost automatic. RoboLInux is awesome in terms of speed and reliability. It's also free now. (without paid support).
          • 8.1 is not so bad

            With Windows 8.1 you can boot straight to the desktop. I have it on two of my machines and it's very much like Windows 7, with a number of improvements. So don't be scared. :-)

            Only thing is, I haven't figured out a way to launch the calculator without going to the metro UI.
          • Launch the Calc in 8.1

            Can you believe it, I'm actually DEFENDING something in 8.1! All you need is a MSFT keyboard and the calc button. Mine works.
          • @vincewansink

            I have a Logitech keyboard with a calculater button that works as well
          • Actually, yes there is a problem

            Apple expects every user who is permitted to update iOS fairly soon after a release. They give no concern for backward compatibility, and don't keep old versions of apps lingering around in the iTunes store So if you don't uograde, you find iOS stops working for you... no uodates, no new software, etc. Sure, could be they thougt of these issues for the last transiton, but it seems unlikely. I know many iOS users, but not one who wasn't concerned about this enough to have it outweigh all possible iOS7 problems. In sort, the word may never know.

            Would make for a interesting ZDNet article, try this for the next 6-12 months on a device used for everyday real-world iOS stuff.
        • Yabbut

          Yabbut I though WinCE was going to work, too!

          FWIW, if they'd stocked the milliSoft Apps store for what RT doesnt do that's in Win8, it would have been better received.
          • You evidently have no clue what you're talking about.

            WinCE does and did work. It backed Windows Mobile - really quite popular before - and it still backs a variety of embedded systems (probably some that you use without even realizing it).