Biggest tech fails of 2017
Fake news fails
So much for Mark Zuckerberg's "pretty-crazy-idea" claim that fake news on Facebook influenced the 2016 presidential election. In October, Facebook, Google, and Twitter execs were called to Capitol Hill to answer for their collective failure to combat Russian-backed propaganda.
In December, Google's YouTube copped to its own responsibility fail: allowing extremist, child-exploiting, terms-of-use-violating videos to flourish on its platform.
Pepsi's cringe-worthy Kendall Jenner ad
A year after a K5 was accused of running over a toddler, the hits kept coming for the security-robot line. First, a K5 sustained scratches when a man "assaulted" the robot while it patrolled the California headquarters of its parent company, Knightscope. Then, in Washington, D.C., another K5 was found face down in a fountain at the mall it was policing.
Knightscope said reports of the robot's death were "greatly exaggerated," and that no foul play was suspected.
Uber's very bad year
The ridesharing company faced a potential class-action lawsuit alleging the rape of women passengers. An internal investigation probed sexual harassment in the workplace, and sparked the resignation of CEO Travis Kalanick.
The threat to net neutrality
"We're talking about the future of the internet here," CBSi distinguished lecturer David Gerwitz wrote for ZDNet in December.
Gerwitz said the Federal Communication Commission's "deeply disturbing" proposal to delete Part 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations would "completely [remove] the no-blocking, no-throttling, and no-paid-prioritization protections."
'Star Wars Battlefront II' muffs microtransactions
When gamers discovered that the then-forthcoming Star Wars Battlefront II featured major characters that required up to 40 hours of play -- or a fee -- to unlock, all Reddit hell broke loose. Electronic Arts apologized, turned off the microtransactions and promised to make things right before the game was formally released on Nov. 17.
Bixby's rough debut
In March, Samsung introduced Bixby as the next great digital assistant. Six months later, it gave Galaxy users what they really wanted, apparently: a way to disable the "awkward[ly]" placed Bixby button that was of "limited usefulness."
When Snapchat went public in March, expectations were as big as the numbers: a $17-a-share stock price for a company valued at $20 billion to $25 billion.
But the social-media network soon "sputter[ed]" as growth stalled, its Spectacles didn't sell, and its stock price took a hit. On the upside, analysts in December began to see Snap Inc. as a worthwhile bargain.
Forced Windows 10 upgrades
If you made a face like The Mindy Project's Ike Barinholtz when an unprompted Windows 10 upgrade overwhelmed your hard drive and/or damaged your data, then you weren't alone. 2017 saw a class-action lawsuit filed against Microsoft on related claims.
Blue Apron's IPO blues
Though Blue Apron isn't a tech company, its stock got "shellacked," as we put it in August, "on the idea that Amazon will copy the [meal-kit delivery] model and do it better." Originally offered at $10 a share, Blue Apron's stock fell to about $3 at one point in December, though Barclays, one of the bulls on Snap Inc., proffered that a "stabilization point" might have been reached.
'Iron Fist' flails with critics
GQ called this "boring" streaming show "Netflix's First Big Superhero Flop." The Marvel series also took a hit, the New York Times reported, for casting a white man, Game of Thrones' Finn Jones, "as a master of distinctly Asian traditions of fighting." Like The Emoji Movie, Iron Fist won the war: It's been renewed for a second season.