Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Top ten technical failures of the decade

I know I have been especially verbose lately but stuff just keeps coming that I have to vent about! This one is not quite so serious, though...but interesting. And in keeping with the theme of this humble blog. TIME magazine just did a list of the top ten technology failures of the decade, presented in no particular order. See if you agree:

1. Microsoft Vista. Failure? I dunno. I think it did lots of good internally, being less vulnerable to hackers and such. But it does eat a lot of RAM. And I do get tired of it fussing at me about not setting my User Controls. And it IS a rip-off of Apple's user interface. Still all the Microsoft bashing is growing tiresome.

2. Gateway Computers. Goodbye to the cow. These guys were #3 in computer sales in 2005 with 25% market share. Now almost a non-factor. Big ball dropped by Gateway: failure to get into the laptop biz early in the game.

3. HD DVD. One of them had to blink. It was Toshiba. Considering Sony seemed determined to do whatever it took to establish BluRay, you can't blame them. And when WalMart went BluRay, that did it. Although BluRay is hardly a staple in homes yet. I love mine, though.

4. Vonage. Maybe it was that yodeling that got to everybody.

5. YouTube. The #1 video sharing site in the world by a mile a failure? Considering they still aren't making any money, and not even Google has figured out how to do that yet, yes!

6. Sirius XM. Not even the merger has stopped the bleeding of money. The subscriber base seems to have stagnated, too. Let's see. 100 channels of commercial free programming (mostly a jukebox of songs) for a monthly fee. Or an iPod I own with just the songs I really want to hear that I bought. Which one do I choose?

7. Microsoft Zune. I wasn't even sure what this was. Oh. An MP3 player. Trying to compete with iPod. 'Nuff said.

8. Palm. One of the themes in this list is that there are several companies who pioneered what they did (Gateway, HD DVD, YouTube, Sirius XM) but when others jumped in and did it better (or marketed it better), they faltered.

9. Iridium. Satellite phones, for those who don't know. It took 66 satellites to do what they needed to do. A single phone cost over $3000. The average call cost $5 per minute. How many customers really needed to keep in touch from the jungles of Borneo?

10. Segway. Cool idea! Unforeseen problems. They cost $3000 to $7000 each...almost Smart Car level! In some countries, you have to license them as street vehicles. In others, they are forbidden to get on streets. A mess.

Can't say I disagree with any of these. How about you?



goody said...

I agree with your comments. One thing I think they should have done with this list is specify or distinguish between technical failures and business failures. Youtube is a technical success, but heading for business failure. Google has a lot of smart folks and may be able to figure out the secret sauce.

Vista isn't an outright failure, but it wasn't the typical OS cash cow that Microsoft needs to sustain its business and...ummm... monopoly.

I think Palm has just temporarily lost their mojo. After migrating from a Palm Treo to a Blackberry Storm several months ago, I'm convinced Palm can leap frog Blackberry. They just need to keep their eye on the ball.

I think BPL should be in the top 20, although arguably it certainly wasn't on the general public's radar.

Ron W4RDM said...

Looks like I have seven of the items on your list. I'd rather not say which seven.


Ron Mott W4RDM

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Microsoft only sold a billion copies of Vista instead of the billion-and-a-half they expected to sell. Some of these belong, others are iffy.