We all make mistakes, sometimes big ones. Tech companies are no exception, of course, and more than a few committed bodacious blunders in 2012. So why not celebrate their follies in a Top 10 list? We've compiled an assortment of some of the most notable tech fails from the past year, with a focus on the biggest players and their superlative shortcomings.
Our selections span a wide range of foibles, including announced devices that never shipped, products that did ship but shouldn't have and services that didn't work as promised. Some of these slip-ups are easily salvageable, while others may pose greater problems in 2013 for the product or company involved.
The major trends of 2012 -- social media, cloud services, media streaming and mobile everything -- are reflected in our choices. Many of these developments will gain even greater significance in 2013. Hardware and software products are "merging into services," writes Gartner analyst Gregor Petri in a recent blog post. This increased complexity provides potential for major missteps from companies delivering these services.
Cloud computing, for instance, presents a unique set of challenges that tech companies are still learning to manage. "With cloud computing rapidly breaking down the walls between traditional industry segments, times are confusing for providers," Petri writes. "Where we used to buy hardware and software from different vendors and solicited help -- to get these two to work together -- from yet a third category of providers, these demarcation lines are now rapidly blurring."
Research firm IDC sees a similar set of trends in 2013, including IT growth based on mobile devices, cloud services, social media, and big data. It predicts that sales of "mini tablets," meaning those with sub-8-inch screens, will boom next year and will account for up to 60% of unit shipments -- up dramatically from 33% in 2012. For cloud providers, rising mobile device sales mean a large increase in the number of cloud users -- both enterprise and consumer -- a development that poses challenges from a cloud reliability, privacy and security standpoint. And as the following slideshow suggests, some cloud vendors are still working out their kinks in their newly launched services.
Which of these 10 tech fails do you think is most egregious? Do you have other examples to add to the list? Let us know below.