TechSpot: Biggest Tech Failures of The Last 10+ Years

There are two surefire ways to have your name immortalized in history: succeed in your stride toward greatness or, as so many tech firms did in 2011, faceplant trying.

Fresh in our memory are failed products like the Blackberry Playbook and HP's TouchPad, the PlayStation Network getting hacked, Microsoft's Kin smartphones being removed from circulation after a mere 48 days, AMD's FX relaunch and Duke Nukem Forever. Those and a few others have served as inspiration for us to look further back and revisit some of the biggest flops of the new millennia, starting with what many consider Microsoft's worst OS ever.

Read: Biggest Tech Failures of The Last 10+ Years

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Have to laugh at this one that I recently read -- there is a movement to bring back My_____ because of the timeline that Facebook has started....

I actually liked the Microsoft Tablet PC the main reason it failed was not what the article put there... I tested it... worked as it was supposed to (basically it was a laptop with a turn around screen that could be used as writing pad) ... The reason it failed was the 1,200$ price they offered the demo I was using for me to buy or the 2,000$ for a new one. You would have to remember that top of the line laptops were about that price but this one was 1/2 the processor power and memory. For 1,000$ you could get a regular laptop that was twice the processor and memory. The other reason it failed was that the touch pad made it a bit bulky....

Remember-- I TESTED ONE FOR 8 months..... it did everything it was supposed to do.. To include the handwriting recognition... SO this article is quite a fail..... you touch the stylus to the menu it opened or like a mouse click.. (so where is the unintuitive) it also recognized whatever I wrote be it cursive or print.... Or the holding the stylus on a window border and moving things around like that of moving things with a moue....
So it did everything a mouse did for that time and more....

You also have to remember that this article is written in the post iPad days so probably influenced this article.

That and it calling non-apple tablets a fail....

I too also used ME successfully on a Compaq for many years with only one BSOD because of a driver I installed. (because of ATI driver incompatibility)

Tablet PC were not so much of a fail as they were a bit rushed and costed too much for the time. I bet had they waited five years to come out they would have done better. This would have still been four years before the iPad....and this would have also been into Service Pack 2 of XP...

redvamp128 said,
I actually liked the Microsoft Tablet PC the main reason it failed was not what the article put there... I tested it... worked as it was supposed to (basically it was a laptop with a turn around screen that could be used as writing pad) ... The reason it failed was the 1,200$ price they offered the demo I was using for me to buy or the 2,000$ for a new one. You would have to remember that top of the line laptops were about that price but this one was 1/2 the processor power and memory. For 1,000$ you could get a regular laptop that was twice the processor and memory. The other reason it failed was that the touch pad made it a bit bulky....

Yes. Tablet PCs are great for what they are supposed to do. As a student I had hoped to own a tablet PC for a long time (so that I can take notes digitally and not have to type my notes or remember to print them!) but the cost was a factor. Especially considering that where I live, I can't find low-end tablet PCs. For example there's only the high end models of the Lenovo X220t, or some Fujitsu models. As such the tablets cost 2-4x that of regular laptops!

And regarding software, there's OneNote - probably still one of the best note taking software out there. And the earlier tablet PCs supported pen input only, not finger input. Comparing touch input with today's Android tablets and the iPad, the tablet PC seems bad. But when comparing pen input, no other OS has the level of pen input support as Windows and Office. Well you can annotate with a pen in most Microsoft Office apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. What impresses me most when I tried out tablet PCs was that ink was like a "native data type" to the OS - you can copy and paste it around from app to app. In this sense Android and iOS pale in comparison.

I used Windows Me for four years and had virtually no issues with it, also the article lost credibility when it claimed almost every non-Apple tablet has completely failed.

Vista failed the public perception test, but even today it has more market share than all Mac OS X computers out there today. It still made Miceoaift plenty of money. And at its core, it's the foundation for Windows 7.

The problem with Vista wasn't the OS itself but the fact it took so long to come out compared to XP RTM, though many would argue that XP SP2 is so fundamentally different from RTM, it shoul have gotten a new name.

While MySpace is a shell of it's former self, it was insanely popular in its day. It made it to the top but failed to stay there.

I used Vista. I had problems talking with my server running XP SP3 X64. When it did work, Streaming was jumpy, things copied to and from were corrupted, etc. After SP1 everything worked like a charm! This weekend I'm going to delete all the crap I don't need (old drivers, etc), back it all up, do a full wipe and install Windows 7!

Where's Mobile Me, Zip drives, Real Player, any of Sony's proprietary formats, Microsoft Bob, and Web TV?

yes WinME was a fail.

Win tablets were not ready yet. Bulky, poor battery life and even worse screen usage. They were just convertible notebooks with worse screens.

Android tablets a failure? I do not consider that a failure. They sell ok, not IPAD great but they sell ok. I still rather have an IPAD too.

RIM really f'd up on some decisions and I bet kicking themselves for dropping the ball.

moloko said,
yes WinME was a fail.

Win tablets were not ready yet. Bulky, poor battery life and even worse screen usage. They were just convertible notebooks with worse screens.

Android tablets a failure? I do not consider that a failure. They sell ok, not IPAD great but they sell ok. I still rather have an IPAD too.

RIM really f'd up on some decisions and I bet kicking themselves for dropping the ball.

Tablets pc are not hat you call tablets, or rathers pads/ slates. They are regular laptops with a tablet built into the screen" that is n actual graphical tilt like artists use, and are a completely different product from pads.

biggest tech failure of all time is apple's iphone. failure of the tech industries for not seeing it coming. i am looking at you, rim-job and nookie.

These lists are always a bit short sighted, but as an example: I don't think Widows Me was a complete failure in the long run.

I mean, the OS wasn't a success and for a lot of people it crashed and froze... and a lot of people still wonder why they even bothered to release it... but the technology and new software they pumped into it was later refined and is now pretty standard on newer versions of Windows. Like System Restore, Movie Maker, Auto Updates etc. So some good came out of it.

As an OS, ME was a catastrophic failure. As someone who bought a computer with it pre-installed, and not being old enough to replace it with Win2K, I can (and will) vouch for that. There was nothing quite like playing that game of roulette where you spin the wheel to determine if you finished that homework, or had to reboot 5 times in 2 hours when it crashed. Sure, some of the things it came with might have been included with later releases, but the operating system itself was miserable.

That list failed the moment it included vista. Tablets pc's as well. While not a major success, they are a niche market product that sells decent enough for those doing art, sketching as well as certain business users.

I don't deny that Windows Me was bad but for whatever reason, when it came out, it worked beautifully on my PC. Ran much faster than Windows 98 (quicker to boot, etc), obviously was more up to date in terms of patches and stuff so less work to do after a reinstall to get it up to date, and everything seemed to work exactly as it was supposed to.

I genuinely had good experiences with Windows Me.

I can't however say the same for Vista

Chicane-UK said,
I don't deny that Windows Me was bad but for whatever reason, when it came out, it worked beautifully on my PC. Ran much faster than Windows 98 (quicker to boot, etc), obviously was more up to date in terms of patches and stuff so less work to do after a reinstall to get it up to date, and everything seemed to work exactly as it was supposed to.

I genuinely had good experiences with Windows Me.

I can't however say the same for Vista

Same with me!

Chicane-UK said,
I don't deny that Windows Me was bad but for whatever reason, when it came out, it worked beautifully on my PC. Ran much faster than Windows 98 (quicker to boot, etc), obviously was more up to date in terms of patches and stuff so less work to do after a reinstall to get it up to date, and everything seemed to work exactly as it was supposed to.

I genuinely had good experiences with Windows Me.

I can't however say the same for Vista


Agreed!, Me actually worked quite sweetly on my gaming PC and was a cheap upgrade for around £30 making me legit back then

Chicane-UK said,

I genuinely had good experiences with Windows Me.

I can't however say the same for Vista

Other way around for me. I had a pentium 166mmx (overclocked to 200MHz) with an asus hx mobo and ME was an headache. Had to go back to 98SE immediately.
With Vista I had a mixed experience; it worked perfectly on my old game machine: CDD Duo E8200 (overclocked to 3.5GHz) with an Nvidia 9800GT 4GB ram and a mobo asus p5k pro. Both the x86 and x64 version.
At work we bought six or seven Dell Vostro 1500 with Vista Business x86. The hardware was good but Vista was really, really bad. I know it was caused by some poorly written drivers (specially the wi-fi), but the ootbe was terrible and we really couldn't work on it. In the end we had to use the downgrade clause in Vista's license and go back to xp pro.

briangw said,
I never had a problem with ME or Vista. Probably an issue with PEBCAK for others.

Same here. I have had a good experience with both ME and Vista. Though I must confess I am cautious about 8 after trying out both the DP (which I preferred) and CP.

Hrmm I find it hard to see some of these as failures. Tablet PC's were innovative but were let down by their high cost, poor battery life and the fact that because they were so expensive they were relegated to a niche market that didn't warrant MS reinventing the OS for them. They just failed to capitalise and moved too slow when the prices dropped and the tech caught up to provide all day battery etc.

Vista...anyone who used Vista can see Win7 is virtually Vista R2 but it came with better marketing and a better OOTBE. Vista was tarnished by its initial launch and poor OEM support on launch...by SP1 Vista was quite good but the damage was done. Still doesn't change the fact that most of whats under Win7's hood is Vista.

UMPCS, yes no doubt a commercial failure in terms of dollars but they were innovative for the time. The article citing vista as a reason is a joke, try high costs, poor battery life, limited release and production of units...

Whilst I concede you can argue that these were failures based on $$ figures or consumer uptake rates (and I wouldnt deny theres not lessons to be learnt) but I find it hard to classify innovation and the limits of tech at the time as failures.

As the old saying goes - you don't get a second chance to make a first impression. That was ultimately what nailed Vista. As you say it was massively improved by the time first Service Pack came out, but the launch experience for a lot of people was dreadful - myself included. The reputational damage was already done.

I rushed to install it on several PC's the day it was released to MSDN and Technet subscribers and was astonished at how badly it worked!

Chicane-UK said,
I rushed to install it on several PC's the day it was released to MSDN and Technet subscribers and was astonished at how badly it worked!

I too rushed to install it from TechNet, and was astonished at how well it worked.

andrewbares said,

I too rushed to install it from TechNet, and was astonished at how well it worked.

Well.. the fact that Vista is mentioned in this article, and the fact that most technical people I know still wouldn't touch it, makes me think you were in the minority!

Vista ran horrible for me. It was so laggy and just not workable. The same hardware could run Win7 wonderfully.

I still wish they would put WinFS in the windows though.

theefool said,
So was XP. XP ran horribly when it first came out. Just like Vista. Till later. But, people tend to forget that bit.

Ya cause its not true thats why..
I never had any issues when xp came out aside from a device ocasionaly
that didn't have a driver yet and that ain't MS's fault..

..more fud
Ive heard this argument a LOT around here and i don't but it
i call BS

andrewbares said,

I too rushed to install it from TechNet, and was astonished at how well it worked.

im also the same, the day it came out i installed it on everything and was amazed at how well it worked also

I am Not PCyr said,
Ive heard this argument a LOT around here and i don't but it
i call BS

Is true.
XP OOBE was ok
XP SP1 was molassas slow
XP SP2 turned that around.

Vista OOBE was horrible due to the critical partners not jumping in early enough in the product's cycle.

You reminded me of Windows Me! You are bad, very bad, very very bad!

It was loaded up on my first ever PC....still remember that sample video which came along with it which had a child playing in a park or something and that funny giggle he had.....and those intro videos for Windows Me as well...they seemed awesome at that time!! <3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiNWw7h8cEU

Mohitster said,
You reminded me of Windows Me! You are bad, very bad, very very bad!

It was loaded up on my first ever PC....still remember that sample video which came along with it which had a child playing in a park or something and that funny giggle he had.....and those intro videos for Windows Me as well...they seemed awesome at that time!! <3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiNWw7h8cEU


yeah, Windows Me was a flop. I hated it. Love those promo videos though, brings back memories

thanks for sharing that kink

g0dlike said,
If Vista was a failure, wait to see Windows 8.

Vista was a complete failure. Win 8 is yet to be seen. I have mixed feelings for it...

DaveBG said,

Vista was a complete failure. Win 8 is yet to be seen. I have mixed feelings for it...


I know a lot of people who would like to have a failure like Vista was. 20% market share is pretty good for a failure.

DaveBG said,

Vista was a complete failure. Win 8 is yet to be seen. I have mixed feelings for it...

Vista was a massive improvement from XP. I still don't see why people had a problem with it, it was easy to disable the UAC, that was the only annoying thing. Now Windows ME, that's another story!

conan_2000 said,

Vista was a massive improvement from XP. I still don't see why people had a problem with it, it was easy to disable the UAC, that was the only annoying thing. Now Windows ME, that's another story!

I agree. Vista was leaps and bounds better than the crap XP. If you had a modern computer. XP was the same, at its time, if you had a modern computer. XP was good at SP1, bad at SP2 (broke many computers).

conan_2000 said,

Vista was a massive improvement from XP. I still don't see why people had a problem with it, it was easy to disable the UAC, that was the only annoying thing. Now Windows ME, that's another story!

Oh god... ME. What a piece of crap that was. Now THAT was a failure...

Vista honestly, people gave it a hard time because of program compatibility and such, but that was the fault of the program developers, nothing in Vista. The long file copies / deletes still frustrate me, but it's not a bad OS by any means. lol

Aethec said,

I know a lot of people who would like to have a failure like Vista was. 20% market share is pretty good for a failure.

Ya especially when there is no competition lol
Atleast Nvidia has ATI and Intel has AMD etc etc...

I love feable attempts people make at trying to defend MS.
And I'm not a hater i love Micrsoft products but the companies
erratic history of dicatating what people want is tiring.. myself and others
would like to see them fail so they learn a lesson and then after that hopefully
get on track with being a solid company that makes products because there is a demand / need for them, rather than funding an expensive research dept. to me what i like

The thing you guys seem to be missing that while now Vista is ok when it launched it had a horrible time getting off the ground. It was plagued by driver and software issues. Most hardware manufacturers had plenty of time to create proper drivers but many decided to wait until the OS launched to gauge popularity but their own wait contributed to the OS's failed launch.

Companies like HP while they promised full support of many of their devices in Vista failed to deliver on that front. Devices that had network support only got print support in Vista where in previous OSs got full support.

DaveBG said,
Vista was a complete failure. Win 8 is yet to be seen. I have mixed feelings for it...

Vista was only a commercial failure. If it were a complete failure, Current and future Windows wouldn't be using WDDM driver model.
Windows homegroup would have been removed.

All of the changes that made Vista painful to work with are still around in Win7 and Win8.
The only difference is that the various partner companies understand where they fit in now, and how to proceed ahead of market demand.

I think Vista's greatest success was getting the partners participating when/where thye should be, rather than sitting back waiting for redmond to throw the bits at them, and then figuring out how tgo capitalize on the changes.

So, no, Vista served its purpose.

Win8 will also serve its purpose of showing MS how to properly build Win9 for all stakeholders.

conan_2000 said,

Vista was a massive improvement from XP. I still don't see why people had a problem with it, it was easy to disable the UAC, that was the only annoying thing. Now Windows ME, that's another story!

The media done its best to kill it before it was even born. I still use it on one of my workstations and it's going strong, runs well and never crashes.