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Monday, 31 December 2012 13:54

Top tech flops of 2012

Written by Nermin Hajdarbegovic

More to do with suits than engineers

2013 is just hours away and we can’t say that we’ll miss 2012 that much. The year was marked by the smartphone/tablet boom, but it wasn’t all that good for tech in general. The PC market remains weak, there was no Windows 8 pop and on the geekier side of things there really weren’t that many revolutionary developments.

However, the biggest tech flop of the year has nothing to do with x86, ARM, Android or Windows. It’s the Facebook IPO. Priced at $38, the “$100 billion” company saw its value slashed by 24 percent in the first couple of days of trading. It was all downhill from there and by September it was trading south of $20. Things never really picked up and FB is now trading at $25 and change, with a market cap of $56 billion. It had nothing to do with chips and bits, but it was the costliest tech flop of the year, hands down. HP also managed to get itself into a mess over the Autonomy takeover, resulting in a $6.5 billion write off. Not quite as bad as FB, but still pretty embarrassing.

Apple had a decent year, which can’t be said of some investors who were hoping it would hit $1,000 by December. We hope they weren’t the same people who bought FB at $42. However, Cupertino was also responsible for one of the more embarrassing flops of the year. Introduced with iOS6, Apple Maps quickly turned into a joke and an endless source of inspiration for tech memes. Luckily, Apple is working hard to fix the mess and best of all iOS features Google Maps once again. Let’s hope Apple learned its lesson.

Instragam chose to end the year with a embarrassing episode of its own. For some reason the company thought it would be a good idea to change its terms of service, allowing the company to sell photos posted by users. Following a public outcry, Instagram quickly backtracked on the proposed changes, but the fallout will be felt for months to come.

RIM? Where’s BlackBerry 10? This is not exactly a flop as such, since it never actually launched. It comes with a caveat though. BB10 will show up in early 2013 and it could be a great OS. But it will not be a game changer, it’s just too late to make much of a difference. (Unless it's the best OS on the planet by a mile. Ed)

However, in terms of hardware there weren’t that many proper flops. There were no horrible CPUs or GPUs, there were few crap phones and tablets (at least from major outfits). Still, there were some flops, like Google’s Nexus Q. Remember that overpriced streaming thingy? We sure don’t and Google is trying to forget it, too.

Staying with the Nexus family, Google’s Nexus 4 launch was a botch of epic proportions. Still, it’s not a real flop – people want to buy it, but they just can’t. Some punters are already calling the Surface RT a flop, but we are not that sure. It is still too early to say and we think Redmond’s new tablet is underappreciated.

There were also quite a few absolutely horrible ad ideas. Remember Apple’s horrible Genius ads? Nokia’s faked Lumia camera shots, or Samsung’s tasteless sheeple ads? Like we said, we won’t miss annus horribilis that was 2012. Not one bit.

Last modified on Monday, 31 December 2012 15:16

Nermin Hajdarbegovic

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