Top 10 Fails Of The Technology World – 2012!
When you look at the tech world this year, there have been plenty of innovations, but of course where there are successes, there are certainly going to be failures. Coming up with a list of the top 10 tech fails of 2012 was a bit of a challenge however, not because there weren’t enough, but because there are so many. And most of the entries on this list are debatable to some extent.
1. Aakash Tablet!
In October 2012, Indian politician Kapil Sibal called a press conference. Indian politicians call press conferences all the time, even those with a last name that is not Gandhi. And with two portfolios–he is both India’s minister of human-resource development and its minister of communications and information technology–Sibal typically has a lot he wants to talk about.
But this time he actually had news that would be noticed beyond New Delhi. With a phalanx of reporters and photographers gathered in a government auditorium, Sibal, a Harvard Law grad with a halo of white hair, held up a device he called the Aakash, which is Hindi for “sky.” It looked like an iPad.
The most remarkable Aakash data point was its price: $35. Meant for the millions of students who can’t even afford textbooks, the Aakash is supposed to be India’s iPad knockoff. “There are some moments in history,” Sibal said, taking a long pause, “that will be milestones recognized by future generations. This is one such moment.”
Indians take a certain pride in making things cheaper. The Hindi word to describe this is jugaad, roughly translated as “frugal innovation.” However, the Aakash, never made it to market.
I’ve yet to come across any college student who bought the tablet, either at the subsidized rate or the normal cost. So it tops our list as the biggest fail for 2012!
2. Apple Maps
Along with the rollout of the much anticipated iPhone 5 in September 2012, Apple overhauled iOS, the operating system that runs the phone, its iPad and other mobile devices. A much-hyped feature of the change was Apple’s first effort at its own mapping app — after dumping rival Google’s map software.
The result was so bad that a few days later Apple’s CEO was essentially telling customers to use Google Maps.
Entire cities appeared in the wrong place. Landmarks such as the Washington Monument showed up submerged in bodies of water, and big chunks of the globe appeared as roadless wastelands.
It was a little more than a month later when Scott Forstall, vice president in charge of iOS, was ousted from the company, reportedly, in part, for not wanting to apologize for Maps.
Apple fails are few and far between, but Apple Maps were a definite fail!
3. Motorola India
Motorola Mobility, which is totally independent from Motorola Solutions, had incurred heavy loss last year. Google took over the company for $12.5 billion in May this year. Google had earlier said in a filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
Motorola Mobility shut down its India-specific product website as part of its global streamlining process.
“We are streamlining our business and support systems, and unfortunately, we’ll no longer have a dedicated website for India,” a message on Motorola Mobility India’s website said.
“Your local support site will remain open well into the future, and we’ll continue to provide support for our existing products,” it added.
This move seems to be a part of the company’s global downsizing process. In August, it had confirmed its decision to cut off 20 percent of work force and shut down operations in many countries.
So after capturing the Indian customer’s imagination with devices like the MotoRazr and the MotoRokr, Motorola finally bid adieu to the country, leaving many disappointed.
4. HTC One X Wi-Fi Issue
HTC did extremely well for themselves with their new line of Smartphones, the One Series. In June, several reports of WiFi issues on the HTC One X came to light, issues that led to difficulty connecting to Wi-Fi networks and annoying lag when playing games. The issues, which can also negatively affect the handset’s battery life, may have been related to a flaw in manufacturing, was actually confirmed.
Taiwanese manufacturer, HTC, officially confirmed that the device was infact suffering said issues. But having finally come clean on the issue, the Taiwanese Smartphone Giant also claimed to have found its fix, and had changed its production process for the One X to tackle the problem.
It replaced many handsets in the process, earning itself a place in our top 10 fails.
5. Stop Online Piracy Act ( SOPA )
The new law was supposed to be about fighting online piracy. Who’s going to be against that, right?
Answer: Pretty much the whole Internet.
Members of Congress sponsored the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, and related bills to make it easier to shut down websites that illegally share music, movies and other content.
But opponents argued it went too far and could end up shutting down legitimate sites while stifling free expression in the process.
Unfortunately for backers of SOPA, Web heavyweights such as Google, Facebook, Reddit and Wikipedia joined the fight against the bill. Sites went black on January 18 to raise awareness. Members of communities such as Reddit put intense pressure on lawmakers (including soon-to-be GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan) until they dropped their support or went on record opposing the bill.
The unprecedented backlash eventually caused supporters to shelve SOPA, and quite possibly ushered in a new age of Web activism.
6. Blackberry Outage
It was a case of worst possible timing as BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) confirmed it had suffered a significant outage across Europe and Asia, just as the iPhone 5 was launching to the now familiar queues in Apple stores around the world.
An October outage at a data center caused users to lose messaging ability in parts of Europe, the Middle East, India, Africa, Latin America and North America. (To their credit, RIM ultimately gave away a pile of free apps to the folks affected).
The outage lasted for several days and was the final straw for some users, who abandoned ship for other phones. Add that to a list of Blackberry fails.
Zynga was riding high. Love them or hate them, its games like “Mafia Wars” and “FarmVille” were everywhere, clogging up Facebook pages and spurring millions of bored casual gamers to pay real cash for virtual cows. Then, it all came crumbling down.”
OK, maybe “crumbling down” is an overstatement. But things in The ‘Ville definitely didn’t go Zynga’s way in 2012.
In October, Zynga announced it was laying off 5% of its employees, Facebook, which gets a cut when people spend money on games such as “FarmVille,” said that income from Zynga was down 20% over last year.
And yesterday, the company announced that it was closing down 20 of its game titles in order to cut costs. FAIL!
8. Windows 8
Many eyebrows were raised on November 12, 2012 when Microsoft announced that Stephen Sinofsky—the president of the Windows division, a driving force behind Windows 8, and a long-time leader at Microsoft—was leaving his post, effective immediately. The odd timing and abrupt announcement led to a rash of speculation. Was Sinofsky fired or did he quit? Was it planned? Are Windows 8 sales that bad? The answer is yes!
Aside from the app selection, many early criticisms targeted the modern UI itself, which throws everything you know about navigating Windows, well, out the window. Early adopters—especially nontechie types—have reported running into issues with the overhauled interface, which is made worse by Windows 8’s near-complete lack of instructions when you boot it up for the first time.
Microsoft hasn’t been forthcoming with sales numbers, and the company declined to comment when asked by various journalists. That institutional reticence makes it hard to divine just how well Windows 8 is actually selling on the streets.
All that said, sporadic leaks, whispers, and data from third-party channels help us paint a partial picture of Windows 8’s sales success—and what we’ve learned suggests that the OS is stumbling out of the gate.
A fail so far, we’re afraid.
9. Facebook IPO
Maybe the dumb money wasn’t so dumb this time.
From the point of view of the company, Facebook itself, of course it was a roaring success. They were able to raise a good chunk of capital to develop and expand the business. That’s what an IPO is, at heart, about. Early investors in the company did well too: they were able to cash out some portion of their earlier investment at good prices. But things went horribly wrong!
If the market were to judge Facebook not a a potential promise but as actual worth today, the stock should be trading around $4.50. It could lose over 85% of its current value (90% from the IPO price, which started at $38) and still have room to fall further. That’s how big a fail the IPO has turned out to be!
10. IPC Sec 66A Of The IT App
The Section 66 (A) of the Indian IT Act continues to haunt the cyber population of India. At a time when a public interest litigation has been filed in the Supreme court questioning the constitutional validity of the section, questions are also being raised about the need for such “draconian” section.
Section 66A of the IT Act criminalises any person who electronically sends any information that is deemed grossly offensive, has a menacing character, which he\she knows to be false but still transmits to cause annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, or ill will, persistently by making use of the electronic communication medium. It also includes emails or text messages that have been sent with the deliberate purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or mislead the recipient. The punishment can be a fine or imprisonment for up to 3 years.
The act has been in the eye of the storm after it caused the arrest two Palghar girls for allegedly posting Facebook comments against a political party. Earlier, the police had used the same law to arrest Aseem Trivedi for allegedly mocking the Indian Constitution through cartoons that had been put up as banners during Anna Hazare’s rally in Mumbai.
It definitely earns its place in the top fails!
But the biggest fail of 2012 has to be the inability of our nation to respect women. The recent gang-rape and eventual death of the girl, named by the press as “Nirbhaya” (or fearless) is a BIG black dot on our society. Change is needed, not only in our laws and government, but within ourselves.
So many Big Statements coming in. Where are the big actions?
Have we missed any? Let us know in the comments section below!