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The L.A. Times Names Its Favorite Flops of the Year 145

SternisheFan writes "Salvador Rodriguez and Deborah Netburn of The Los Angeles Times have a rundown of the top 10 tech gaffes of 2012. From their article: 'As 2012 comes to a close we take a look back at the biggest "oops" moments of the last year. Whether it was an advertising misstep (Facebook's "Chair" commercial), or a product released before it was ready (Apple Maps), or just an idea that was ill-received (homeless men as Wi-Fi hotspots), we tried to compose a list of the times when the major players lost control of the narrative. It's also a reminder that everyone makes mistakes--even exacting tech companies.'"
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The L.A. Times Names Its Favorite Flops of the Year

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  • Facebook IPO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bizzeh ( 851225 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @06:14PM (#42422335) Homepage

    Facebook IPO wasnt a gaffe, it was a hedge fund scam. facebook was advised to give their IPO at a much higher value than they knew it could sustain, and the advisers hedged against facebook. made a lot of rich people richer, and fucked over some other rich people, and also fucked over some not so rich people.

    as for apple maps, that deserves to be number 1, why the hell did apple even bother to release such a poor piece of software...

  • by Stormwatch ( 703920 ) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <oarigogirdor>> on Saturday December 29, 2012 @06:23PM (#42422389) Homepage

    Okay, its japanese release was in december last year, but I think it still counts. Darn thing can't even outsell the PSP!

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 29, 2012 @06:23PM (#42422393)

    Surface ought to have made that list too, big time.

  • Re:Facebook IPO (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AliasMarlowe ( 1042386 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @06:27PM (#42422403) Journal

    Um, Apple Maps fiasco wasn't about the software. The software works fine; the data behind the software is the problem.

    So you agree with GP even as you try to contradict him/her. The software was the problem. Hint: software is more than just an algorithm expressed in a program; it's the data that the algorithm/program accesses, too.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @06:27PM (#42422407)

    He's not complaining about C#. He's saying he thinks windows 8 is a flop, and that because he is a c# developer we should believe he is normally at least somewhat pro-windows.

    for what its worth, i don't think windows 8 is a flop although I do think they botched the launch pretty badly in a variety of ways. (And there is no question that the windows 8 desktop has some issues to address; i just don't think they are nearly as bad as the hype.)

  • by tuppe666 ( 904118 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @06:37PM (#42422469)

    There is no shortage of these lists.
    International Buisness Times []
    Think Digit []
    Read Write [] ...
    Why pick the one that is designed for a tablet..or one that doesn't mention Windows 8; Windows Phone 8...or Surface.

  • Re:Facebook IPO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Concerned Onlooker ( 473481 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @06:40PM (#42422485) Homepage Journal

    Yes, the initial Apple maps was a bit of a black eye. But the response to it was amazing. From the headlines I was sure that the civilized world was coming to an end. Cats and dogs sleeping together, etc.

  • Re:Facebook IPO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @06:57PM (#42422565) Homepage

    From the standpoint of the end user - the 99% - Apple maps is the problem. Yes, we can tease it out into more subtle nuances but as far as the person staring at the screen it was an APPLE mistake. It was hubris, plain and simple. They certainly could have waited another year until they were ready but they didn't.

    So they got dinged, some heads rolled and the world continued. It's a pure Apple play. Roll out crap in the beginning, get it running sooner or later. Cf, OS X, iTunes (OK, the STILL haven't got it right), Final Cut X, the iPhone and pretty much any Rev. 1 bit of Apple hardware. Where ever they get the idea that 'it just works' is quite beyond me. Hell, and I even like Apple stuff, I just know not to buy it when it first comes out and not to install software before the x.3 version.

  • Re:Facebook IPO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday December 29, 2012 @07:00PM (#42422579) Journal

    Meh the list sucks, no Lumia, no Surface, no Windows 8. When you look at how much money has been shat right down the drain launching those 3 products its just insanity and its pretty much agreed by most that all 3 are megabombs. Just look at the figures of the Surface, as low as 500k after massive advertising [] and with Windows 8 the finger pointing has begun [] with OEMs coming out of the woodwork to say Win 8 is a poor product (the latest is Fujitsu, I'd provide a link but its on Yahoo Finance which creates insanely long URLs) and Ballmer proving he's not afraid to go full retard by basically giving the finger to the OEMs and deciding to make overpriced laptops, phones, and desktops [] so that if anybody doubted Ballmer's MSFT was just a poorly built Apple those doubts are over.

    I don't see how this could be anything but the #1 spot, we are talking billions of dollars wasted on products nobody wanted, retailers can't move the things and in fact the sales from Oct-Dec were down 13% over the same period last year and so far every indication is its Win 8 that kept those shoppers away, we are talking HP buying Palm levels of uberfail here folks. I believe history will look back on this and say this was when we saw that marketing droids simply can't shovel overpriced shit down the throats of consumers and get them to buy based on nothing but flashy ads, because 4 billion in flashy ads couldn't keep Lumia and Win 8 from being another Vista. Talk about a trainwreck, this deserves the "WTF were they thinking?" award of 2012, no competition came even close to this level of fail.

  • by MrHanky ( 141717 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @07:36PM (#42422753) Homepage Journal

    So the major tech gaffes of the year, according to the LA Times, are mainly advertising fiascos.

  • Re:Facebook IPO (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Teun ( 17872 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @08:23PM (#42423037) Homepage
    Uhhh, Apple contracted TomTom for the maps where they work fine, it really was Apple's software that doesn't know what to do with the maps.
  • Re:Facebook IPO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Terrasque ( 796014 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @08:31PM (#42423085) Homepage Journal

    Where ever they get the idea that 'it just works' is quite beyond me.

    Lots and lots of PR money. And IMHO a brilliant move. You see, computers are hard. Everyone knows computers are hard. And if something happens, you can't do anything, because everyone knows computers are hard.

    But then comes something different. Something that is EASY. They say it everywhere. It just works, and is easy to use! So when something happens, it can't be that difficult to get it working, surely? This is after all easy.

    The difference it makes is that in first scenario people give up at once, without even trying. In the second, they try their best because it's after all supposed to be easy.

    And it turns out, that when you actually try to solve the problem, then it actually is easy to get it working again (compared to giving up at once and not even trying, at least).

    It just works, and is easy because they tell people it is so. Pure genius :)

  • Re:Facebook IPO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday December 29, 2012 @08:53PM (#42423225) Journal

    Thanks as you just PERFECTLY illustrated the problem with Ballmer's MSFT! Ballmer has it in his head that the ONLY difference between a Walmart brand and a Macy's brand is the price, while being completely fucking clueless that for a brand like Apple it literally took decades to build up the brand identity and get the products perceived the way the are. A perfect example of the "Ballmer Disconnect" is this little gem from earlier this year when it was announced they were pulling the plug on Windows Home Server "We have all those features in Windows SBS now so its not that we are leaving the market, I'm sure everyone will just switch to SBS"...hmmm...lets look at the numbers, shall we? Windows Home Server? $40, and that's OEM retail price, more like $25 to the OEMs themselves. Windows SBS? $400!!!! And that is for the OEMs!

    This is why the Ballmer reign is gonna go down as a bigger disaster than the Pepsi guy at Apple, because while the Pepsi guy simply pout out too many similar products with price points all over the place Ballmer thinks he can slap a paintjob on a Pinto and it will magically compete with a Porsche. You see Windows 8 and Surface is NOT MADE FOR YOU the consumer, nope its made for WALL STREET, to please the stock jockies that love to see high prices as an indicator of a high end product. But that doesn't work if nobody buys the product and the consumer doesn't consider the brand worth the money, it would be like raising the price of coke to 1 million dollars for a 2 liter. Sure if they manage to sell one they make plenty of profits but when you look at the lost sales and the warehouses full of rapidly expiring products (because just like Cola PCs have a shelf life, nobody is gonna want to buy the old chips when the new chips come out, not without STEEP discounts) they end up losing their shirts. This is the exact same thing that Ballmer is doing and if you'll look at the last link he is going "full retard" by putting MSFT into the hardware business, selling grossly overpriced laptops and desktops as well...why? Well that what Apple does isn't it?

    If your customers won't buy the product as it is jacking the price 50% isn't gonna make it more valuable, its gonna torpedo it. Instead of cutting the shit out of the prices so they could get people to use Metro and the new Windows design they jacked the living shit out of prices (higher than an iPad? Are you shitting me?) and he is gonna fucking kill the company. I think the only real hope MSFT has is if the board quits smoking weed and fires Ballmer's fat ass and brings in one of the old guard, since Gates won't come back I'd try to get Allchin or Ozzie, and have them LISTEN TO THE CONSUMER and put out products that people want, not what Wall Street wants to hear.

    This is why I think Lumia, Surface and Win 8 deserve the top spot, as its a multi-billion dollar disaster that is a perfect illustration of Wall Street and Madison Avenue thinking over common sense.

  • Re:Facebook IPO (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kielistic ( 1273232 ) on Saturday December 29, 2012 @11:51PM (#42424039)

    Or they rewrote a good chunk of the core code to work with their new dataset and to implement their desired features. You have no idea what the source is like. But it still does not matter. Saying how great the codebase is (despite the fact that you have no idea) doesn't stop the product from being shoddy.

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith