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10 Biggest Computer Flops of all time


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#1 Slimy

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 20:19

Over the years, computers have changed the way we live today! In order to get us there, many hardware and software companies have pushed the envelope to create what we use today. Although we currently live in an age of amazing hardware and software achievements, these products did not come at no cost. Below is a list of some of the worst flops in computer history.

The Xerox Alto
Developed in 1972 at Xerox's Palo Alto Research center, the Alto had a bitmap display, windows, drop-down menu bars, a mouse, built-in Ethernet and hard disk, keyboard, word processor and more in their software productivity suite, a paint application, and even e-mail. Xerox was far to busy fighting the copier patent war, and was not interested. Steve Jobs was, and in 1984, Apple introduced Apple Lisa, and the Apple Macintosh. Although this was the most ingenious creation of the time, quite possibly responsible for the way we use computers today, it should be viewed also as a huge flop when Xerox did not capitalize on its innovation.

NeXT computer
This seemed like a great idea at the time. Steve Jobs resigned from Apple back in 1985 to start a new company called NeXT. The NeXT computer would be the most affordable UNIX super computer of its time. Running a Motorola 33-MHz 68030 processor, enclosed in a black case, there was no doubt this was the hottest and most powerful computer of its time. However at $6,000 a piece, and with no software that would run on the machine, it was really a $6,000 brick. Roughly 50,000 were ever produced. The company had spent over $250 million producing them. Although a huge disaster, this was also the computer that Tim Berners-Lee would later use to create the World Wide Web, and Steve Jobs would use as the core principals behind the new OS X.

IBM PCjr
IBM was trying to build an affordable machine for the classroom and the masses. Unfortunately, they ended up building an inferior non IBM-PC compatible machine with a ridiculously small keyboard that wouldn't run any software. The costs was a few dollars less than some IBM-PC compatible clones, so it was pointless to buy one. Another nice feature, the keyboard communicated with the computer via infrared beams. This provided hours of enjoyment in the classroom screwing up other peoples computing.

Apple Newton
Although produced for six years, it was never as successful as Apple had hoped. The main reasons: High price, Large size. It's handwriting recognition was notoriously bad, a problem that was featured in the Doonesbury comic strip. However, although the Newton product itself never made mass appeal, the technologies that were developed for the Newton are still used today and responsible for many huge success' for Apple (iPod, OS X) and started the PDA line of computer products.

Apple 3
Released in 1980, the Apple 3 became one of the worst computers ever built and most expensive. It was designed for the high end business market, but at a cost of $7,800, even business's had trouble justifying the cost. To make maters worse, the computer was made far to cramped with parts to make it smaller. When it became to hot inside the computer (Engineers opted to not use a fan), chips would start popping out of the boards! In order to correct the issue, Apple tech support could be heard saying "please lift up your Apple 3 about 10 centimeters off the desk, and drop it." this would put the chips back in the slots sometimes.

Apple Lisa
How much to get into an amazing Apple Lisa? $10,000 dollars. Announced in 1983, this was a complete disaster for Apple. Hardly any were ever sold. How many were produced? 100,000. The machine itself was far from powerful, and Apple users simply preferred the Macintosh. The development costs aren't to be found.

Microsoft Windows ME
Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition was touted as the first operating system to support Universal Plug and Play. Unfortunately, this operating systems was quit possibly less compatible with hardware, than its predecessor, Windows 98. It was also notoriously difficult to re-install, which was terrible since this operating system needed to be re-installed almost weekly. Hardcore users claimed that Windows ME was more stable than 98, or 98SE, and the instabilities came from users installing bad drivers that were not approved and certified. Nevertheless, most users of Windows were beginners, and thus the perception that Windows ME actually stood for "Microsoft Experiment", "Moron Edition", "Mistake Edition", and "Memory Eater".

Microsoft Bob
This one is great. In 1995 Microsoft released a software package and interface that was aimed at replacing the Windows desktop with one aimed at novice computer users. The interface featured a big yellow smiley face with glasses and virtual rooms. Complete disaster! Far to simple, not powerful enough, over priced, and all and all, ridiculous. It was replaced that same year by Windows 95.

IBM OS/2
In the 1990's after feeling "Had" by Microsoft, IBM decided they could trounce Microsoft and come up with their own operating system. A great idea gone bad by marketing, the idea became to market OS/2 and the PowerPC Chip together. Had IBM pushed OS/2, and later OS/2 Warp as an operating system alternative to Windows, the computing landscape might have been different today. Instead, by the later half of the 1990's, Windows 95 and 98 had obliterated OS/2.

Gary Kildall's CP/M
Grab a cup of coffee for the biggest mistake, and largest computing stroke of luck that created Microsoft, and one of the wealthiest fortunes the planet has ever seen. In 1980, IBM finally realized they needed to put a home computer out on the market extremely fast. However they could not find the time to wait around to build their own operating system. They wanted to buy one, and the best one at the time, Gary Kildall's CP/M operating system. Where was Gary Kildall on this fateful day that the IBM suits came knocking? Out of office flying a private plane. IBM went back to the office's and looked up Microsoft, which they thought had a broad license to sell CP/M. Microsoft came in and negotiated a per licenses model to sell the operating system at 50 dollars per machine. Bill Gates had created the Software Licensing Industry!

Microsoft did not have such an operating system themselves, nor did they have a license to sell CP/M. In fact, Gary Kildall's Digital Research didn't have CP/M ready to run on the 16-bit computers IBM would manufacture. Tim Patterson did at the Seattle Computer Company, which Microsoft bought for $50,000. Had Gary Kildall been at the office, Microsoft and Bill Gates might have been eating macaroni and cheese, and the Digital Research operating system would be running on all of our computers. Gary Kildall died in July 1994 at the age of 52. The computer media mainly ignored his passing.
What do all of these stories have in common? Yes they were all mistakes, but almost all of them paved the way for some of the largest success's in computing history. Sometimes for the same company, sometimes for other companies. The lesson here is persistence, determination, and perseverance.

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#2 pixelpixel

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 20:21

you could add alot more to this list! :D

#3 AR556

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 20:34

Not being Anti-MS here, but I wish IBM had told Bill to go eff himself when he pitched the License model BS. Its been taken to the extreme with no end in sight.

#4 willdev

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 20:40

I agree with the Windows ME bit but im too young to know of the others :p

#5 Shof

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 20:42

wasnt there a topic like this?

#6 TheNay

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 20:52

Microsoft Windows ME was more stable than 98 and 98SE, atleast in my case.

I know some people who had many issues with it but mostly due to user errors installing wrong drivers and such.

I do agree it was a waste of an OS tho, it wasn't much of an upgrade from 98 but it did include System Restore and that helps some users.

#7 AR556

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 20:55

Microsoft Windows ME was more stable than 98 and 98SE, atleast in my case.

I know some people who had many issues with it but mostly due to user errors installing wrong drivers and such.

I do agree it was a waste of an OS tho, it wasn't much of an upgrade from 98 but it did include System Restore and that helps some users.



They had a perfectly good OS to sell the public (Win2k). ME wasn't even needed.

#8 Inplode

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 21:04

windows ME was crap and never needed to be released

#9 gshapiro

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 21:07

For all the old timers out there.

DOS 1.0

Easywriter 1.0

Remember????

#10 Jacky L.

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 21:13

i cant believe i dropped cash on winme...

#11 +InsaneNutter

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 21:16

They had a perfectly good OS to sell the public (Win2k). ME wasn't even needed.


Even tho back then a lot of drivers just didnt exist for Windows 2000...

For me Windows ME worked better than Windows 98 i guess it just depends on your hardware.
But once i upgraded from ME to XP after a week i wonderd how i ever used ME... XP just didnt not crash ;)

#12 Pilsbury

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 21:24

I wouldn't call CP/M a flop by any means.
Before Windows, CP/M was the big OS for a lot of computers, as was the follow on, DR-DOS.

#13 +TruckWEB

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Posted 21 October 2006 - 22:05

I was a beta tester for WinME and it was a complete mess. The beta newsgroup where filled with complains and stuff that where not working. Little did we know, MS decided one day that the OS was to RTM! With so many open bugs and unsatisfied beta users.... A nightmare.

People who thinks Vista will bomb like WinME are wrong. I see more happy users in the Beta now than with ME...

I WOULD ADD TO THIS LIST :

1) Everything Commodore did after the Amiga 500. The only reason why you would want to buy an Amiga 2000,3000 was because of Video Toaster. Amiga 600 and 1200 did cost less, but offered less too. By that time, the PC had took over... Did better in UK.

2) Atari complete line of PC, this was a flop at least here in USA/Canada. I had the Atari 512STE, cool at the time, better graphics and sound than the PC (CGA + Beeper at the time). But it was not a success except maybe for music producer. The Atari had built-in MIDI input/output.

Edited by TruckWEB, 21 October 2006 - 22:13.


#14 Pallab

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 03:17

Microsoft Windows ME was more stable than 98 and 98SE, atleast in my case.

I know some people who had many issues with it but mostly due to user errors installing wrong drivers and such.

I do agree it was a waste of an OS tho, it wasn't much of an upgrade from 98 but it did include System Restore and that helps some users.

In my case the core dll files got corrupted every 6 months. ME used to frexe regularly once a day. It was a total nightmare.

#15 Ugly Bob

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Posted 22 October 2006 - 03:28

I used to repair some Windows ME machines... they were not the easiest things to get along with. I was considerably glad, to say the least, that I was running Windows 98 on my PC at the time!