Revisiting 2014: Top Technology Failures of Last Year
The world of technology saw many ups and down last year. It was predominantly a good year for the tech industry, but there were some visible failures as well. While the sales of smartphones reached new altitudes, the biggest name of mobile telephony, Nokia departed from the mobile phone business. Several high-level security breaches questioned the safety of online storage. As 2014 comes to a close, we decided to list the gleaming failures of the tech industry.
1. Sony Pictures:
Never before has a movie been called an ‘act of war’, and you wouldn’t have guessed that it would be a Seth Rogen movie. The film led to one of the biggest ever cyber-attacks on a major movie studio. Sony Pictures was brought down and humiliated by a group called the Guardians of Peace or #GOP. They claimed to have stolen more than 100 Terabytes of data from the studio. The hackers soon began unveiling details from the Sony data, that was embarrassing not just to the studio, but also to some big names from the entertainment industry including Angelina Jolie, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Adam Sandler. The hack is also the reason of heavy diplomatic tussle between the USA and North Korea.
2. iCloud Hack:
Another major cyber breach took place at Apple’s trusted iCloud storage. Thousands of private and intimate photos of celebrities were leaked online. This caused quite a furor around the world and put Apple in an awkward spot. Apple later confirmed that the hackers responsible for the leak had obtained the images using a “very targeted attack” on account information, such as passwords, rather than any specific security vulnerability in the iCloud service itself.
The app based cab service had to face one PR disaster after another. There were multiple complaints of its driver harassing the passengers or sexually assaulting them. A highly publicized rape case in India led the company to temporarily cease its operations in many parts of the country. There were also revelations that Uber was spying on journalists who were being critical of the company. Uber also tried to take down its competition by ordering about 6000 rides and then canceling them. Even the drivers reported that they were exploited by the company. Guess for its new year resolution, Uber’s only resolution should be: Don’t be evil.
4. Malaysian Airlines MH 370:
On 8th March 2014, Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 disappeared – vanished, leaving behind many questions and limited answers. No one would have thought that in the age of satellites and modern communication equipments, a plane can just disappear from the radar screens. The disappearance also led to several conspiracy theories. The last signal from the aircraft was broadcasted when it was over South China sea. There was a massive multinational effort to locate the lost plane, but it yielded no results. The search was the largest and most expensive in aviation history. There was also added bad news for Malaysian Airlines whose other plane, MH 17 was shot down pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine using surface to air missiles.
5. Apple iPhone 6 Plus:
After months of speculations and ever present hysteria around it, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus were launched with much fanfare albeit with a faulty livestream. The bigger variant, the iPhone 6 Plus soon became the butt of all jokes following reports of its bendability. Users found that the new device was easy to bend, and it quickly started trending on social media with the tag “#Bendgate”. There is an easy fix for the issue, and that is to use the phone with a protective case.
6. Amazon Fire Phone:
Amazon really hyped its phone. There was a lot of buzz before the launch of the device, but it failed to capture commercial appeal. The device had some features like 3D display that could have been its defining element but turned out to be gimmicky. That coupled with below average battery performance, and low app availability led to low sales and forced the company to slash prices rapidly. Some reviewers even called it more of a prototype than a real device. Amazon has now begun working on the Amazon Fire Phone 2, which is expected to come out in 2016.
The company that was identified as one of the pioneers of the smartphone market has rapidly lost market share ever since the advent of the iPhone and Android ecosystems. Seeing that it was not going to carve out a place for itself in the brutal touch screen device market, the company decided to go back to its roots. The first device in this new attempt by the company was the Passport. Though the company tried to bring innovations into the device like a keyboard that also acts as a touchpad and a square display, it hasn’t managed to entice a lot of folks. This ultra wide device cannot be used with one hand and takes its own sweet time to focus while taking photos. The second device from the company called the Classic, might help bring back the experience that BlackBerry users were used to and get the company out of these times of peril.
The year 2014 wasn’t really kind to this consumer electronics giant. The company lost a massive amount of money, in terms of billions. Its smartphone market share constantly kept falling along with its other electronics. The end of the year brought it a massive torment when its Hollywood studio got hacked by the North Korean hackers. The only saving grace for the company was its PlayStation business which saw an upward trajectory this year. All these misfortunes caused the company to introspect and set a goal of returning back to profitability.
9. Microsoft Kinect 2.0:
Seems like consumers are not ready for motion capture or spending extra for a hands-free gaming experience. Microsoft bet big money on the Kinect 2.0 and brought it in the market with improved functionalities. Microsoft was selling Kinect with the Xbox One. Sales were slow, and so Microsoft decided to unbundle the Kinect and sold Xbox One without it and cut $100 off the price. The result: Microsoft’s console easily beat Sony’s PlayStation in holiday sales. Though it is not the end of the Kinect as of yet. As the motion-based games and technology gets better, more folks will get comfortable to give the boot to the good old controllers and get on the Kinect bandwagon. It’s just a matter of time.