Another year in the books! (Almost).
As such, we’re taking a look back at the biggest flops in consumer technology for the year.
We’ve done this annually. It’s interesting to see which companies are getting better at reigning in poor products, and which aren’t.
This year, Google had practically no flops. And Apple had just a few minor errors.
Compared to years past, this is really good. Google in particular seems like a much more disciplined, more focused company today than ever before.
Then again, in sports there’s a saying that goes, “If you ain’t cheating, you ain’t trying.”
The tech equivalent would be, “If you ain’t failing, you ain’t tryin.” A few flops here and there are good, it means you’re trying something new. Not everything is going to work, and you can’t be scared to test out new ideas.
We're not quite sure how to frame this one, but there was something weird about Steve Ballmer's retirement. He says he's leaving of his own accord, yet he put plans in place for a radical reorg of the company just a few weeks before he announced his retirement. And, Microsoft didn't have his replacement lined up, so it's been out there trying to figure out who is going to run the company next. This process has been odd, and stilted.
Google was working on a mysterious barge in the San Francisco Bay. Initial speculation said it was going to be a floating data center. Later reports said it would be a store front for Google Glass. Now, it looks like it might not be anything because Google failed to get the proper permits for the barge. The multi-million dollar project is now under investigation.
Sales of the iPhone 5C appear to be weaker than expected. There have been multiple reports of Apple cutting 5C production in favour of the iPhone 5S. For Apple's business, this is a good thing. But, it's perplexing. We're not sure why Apple did the 5C. Maybe it becomes clearer in the future.
Aereo is a new way to watch TV. It transmits broadcast channels to your tablet and phone. Big TV companies are not happy about it, so they've been trying to sue the company into oblivion. Thus far, their lawsuits have done nothing but bring attention to the company.
Marissa Mayer was personally involved in the design of Yahoo's new logo. Maybe she should have stayed away.
How does a company that has yet to launch a product land on a list of flops? By raising a massive seed round of financing, releasing a pretentious, vague promotional video, and then laying off a huge chunk of its staff. If you're an investor in Clinkle, you have to be nervous.
Users really don't like Yahoo's Gmail-esque redesign. Yahoo stripped away features users liked. The redesign was bad, but what's even worse is that Mail has had problems staying up, and Yahoo's response has been bad.
The HTC One is a great phone. It might be the best Android phone on the market. And yet, no one is buying it. HTC, which was at one time the biggest Android phone company, is in a tailspin. The One was supposed to save it. It failed.
BlackBerry 10 finally launched this year. It was a total failure. No one wanted it. As a result, the company spent the year trying to sell itself, then changing its mind about selling itself. The CEO is gone, and the company is now considered an ancient relic.
Motorola's Moto X is a good phone, but it's been a flop in the market. It's barely selling despite a massive marketing push from Google/Motorola. We're not sure what Motorola can do about this other than keep trying to improve its product, and hope that eventually consumers come around.
Snapchat has made a mockery of Facebook this year. At the end of 2012, Facebook tried to crush Snapchat with Poke, which was a clone of Snapchat. No one used it. So, if you can't beat 'em, buy 'em, right? Snapchat rejected a $US1 billion offer from Facebook. Then it reportedly rejected a $US3 billion buyout offer. Not a good look for the mighty Facebook.
Woof. That's all we can say about Samsung's Galaxy Gear, a smart watch that was supposed to work with its smartphones. The Gear was a big flop, and Samsung is already working on a second version. A Samsung executive speaking at our conference likened the Gear to a not-yet ripened tomato. Kind of a bummer for anyone that paid $US300 for the Gear.
Facebook Home was supposed to be Facebook's big attempt to take over Android. It was a downloadable skin for Android that turned an Android phone into a Facebook phone. When it launched, people thought it might be so successful that Google would block it. Google didn't have anything to worry about. Home was a total bust, and no one used it. We heard Facebook is back to the drawing board, and hopes to have a better version of the product out next year.
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