The most epically bad tech product launches of all time

In "go big or go home" world of tech, these products went home.
1 of 25 EA Games

SimCity (2013)

As ZDNet's Zack Whittaker noted at the time, this cloud- and server-based disaster was very, very not prepared for "the sheer number of users" that "overwhelmed" the back-end systems.

Gamers weren't even able to log in half the time. Those who were part of the lucky few could barely do anything when in game-play mode. In some cases, large amounts of their created cities were lost, according to user reports. Ouch.

2 of 25 ESPN

Mobile ESPN (2006)

A phone that carried exclusive ESPN content and video, it was, according to Business Insider, "one of the biggest flame-outs of mobile virtual network operators."

The product launched in January only to be shut down eight months later, as its $400 price tag proved too steep for even the most obsessive sports fanatic.

3 of 25 Samsung/ZDNet

Samsung smartwatches in 2014

Well, no one bought them. That, plus lackluster mobile sales combined to drive Samsung's profits down a whopping 60 percent in 2014.

4 of 25 Segway


When your product was originally launched and lauded by Jeff Bezos as "one of the most famous and anticipated product introductions of all time" and was supposed to change lifestyles, and has now become a niche market buy that George Bush fell off of ... well... that's not exactly a smashing. success.

5 of 25 Nokia

Nokia N-Gage

The N-Gage was supposed to be Nokia's attempt at dominating the hand-held gaming market. However, the combo gaming/mobile device was awkward to use, cost $299, and you had to hold your head sideways to talk into it, which inspired "side-talkin'" (yes there's a website for that, and here it is).

6 of 25 Apple

The Apple Newton MessagePad (1983)

The first PDA, this landmark technology flopped because it was too ahead of its time. Add in a $700 price tag, a less-than-perfect handwriting feature that got lampooned in a Doonesbury cartoon, and you got, as Wired wrote, "a prophetic failure."

7 of 25 Sony

Sony Betamax Player (1975)

Launched a year after JVC released the revolutionary VHS player, the Betamax was technically superior. However, it lost to VHS because it a) cost more, and b) had tapes that lasted only one hour, as opposed to the 3 hours of VHS.

Funnily enough, Sony didn't discontinue Betamax tapes until, well, this month, long after everyone thought they were already dead.

8 of 25 Microsoft

Microsoft Kin (2010)

Overpriced, facing too much competition, and with an expensive data plan, the Kin only spent 2 months on shelves before Microsoft pulled it.

9 of 25 HTC

HTC First "Facebook Phone" (2013)

Blasted even before its launch as a failure, users decidedly disliked the "Facebook phone." As CNET wrote, "What was the point of a smartphone focused on Facebook Home when you can get Facebook Home on several different -- and superior -- phones?"

The death knell? When AT&T did a price reduction "sale" from $99 to $0.99 for the handset.

10 of 25 HP

Hewlett Packard TouchPad (2011)

HP's attempt to compete with the iPad failed soon after it launched. The result for the company was a huge revenue loss. Time reported that Hewlett Packard "wrote off $885 million in assets and incurred an additional $755 million in costs to wind down its webOS operations."

11 of 25 Wikimedia Commons

Laserdisc (1978)

High-capacity storage discs, these disco-colored dinner plates were a) enormous, b) easy to break and c) very expensive. So, Laserdisc went the way of history, marked, as ZDNET commented in an earlier article, as a flop.

12 of 25 Windows

Microsoft Bob for Windows (1995)

It was supposed to be a user-friendly interface for Windows. What it ended up being was a major failure for Microsoft, scrapped a mere year after launching.

Why? As Bill Gates wrote, "Unfortunately, the software demanded more performance than typical computer hardware could deliver at the time, and there wasn't an adequately large market. Bob died."

13 of 25 ZDNET

Windows Vista (2007)

The replacement for Windows XP was launched in January of 2007, and immediately triggered an avalanche of complaints about bugs. A mere four months later, Microsoft scrapped the system.

14 of 25 Wikimedia Commons

Toshiba's HD DVD (2006)

No doubt about it: The DVD war was definitely won by Sony's Blu-ray disc. Reputedly, Toshiba's investment in the losing product cost it over $1 billion.

15 of 25 BTV

Twitter #Music App (2013)

Why did this music discovery app fail? As Wired bluntly commented about the flop, "... if your reaction to hearing [Twitter #Music App] was 'what the hell is Twitter's #Music app?' you're not alone. Which was the problem."

16 of 25 ZDNET

The original Xbox 360 and the red ring of death

A sign that all was not well with your console, this problem in the original Xbox 360 caused Microsoft to extend the warranty to three years, and also cost more than $1 billion to fix.

17 of 25 Healthcare.gov

Healthcare.gov launch (2013)

The rollout of the Obamacare website was, in short, a disaster. No one was able to use the site in the initial launch, and its massive failure resulted in Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius's resignation. Eventually, the government called in tech giants such as Google to help fix its disaster of a website.

18 of 25 Amazon

Amazon's Fire phone (2014)

Remember last year, when Amazon tried to launch a phone? Remember how it totally crashed and burned?

Just how bad of a failure was it? Business Insider reported Amazon had to take a $170 million charge on all those phones people didn't buy.

19 of 25 YotaPhone2

YotaPhone 2

It's a smartphone with two screens. One is a phone. The other is an ... e-reader? Other than the fact they have apps for that, the YotaPhone 2 didn't even make it to the U.S., and then had to return all the money on the pre-orders. Oops.

20 of 25 Microsoft

WebTV (1996)

WebTV was supposed to revolutionize television via Internet connection in the 90s. Sadly, the service never made the revenue it needed, but it did create a host of customer service problems. It never grew past the 1 million subscriber mark. Microsoft did buy the brand, but they didn't keep it for long after the 1997 buy.

21 of 25 Microsoft

ViewSonic Airpanel Smart Display V110 (2003)

A tablet that wasn't really a tablet (it allowed users to access their desktop within a 150-foot range), it also cost $1000, was glitchy, and rendered your actual computer unusable to others while you used the Airpanel.

22 of 25 Cisco

Cisco Umi (2010)

It sounded great: People could chat via TV straight from their living room. But with the high-priced device needed to convert the TV into a chat screen ($600.00), plus Cisco asking a $25 monthly fee for the service, everyone decided to use free chatting services like Skype and FaceTime instead.

23 of 25 Apple

Apple G4 Cube (2001)

The G4 Cube was one of Apple's rare missteps. Although its sleek design pleased the eye, its bugs (like not taking full-length graphic disk cards) and its high price proved a market flop. Apple ended up discontinuing it after a year.

24 of 25 Tiger Telematics

Gizmondo (2005)

Released in 2005, the Gizmondo was a portable gaming device with GPS. Sadly, it didn't sell well, and the company went bankrupt a mere year after its release, after spending millions in the product's marketing and development.

25 of 25 Plastic Logic

Plastic Logic QUE e-reader (2010)

It was supposed to be the next big thing, but the product had delay after delay ... and then the iPad came along. The poor QUE e-reader never stood a chance, and the product was never released to market.

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