As tech companies race to release the next big thing, not all ideas work out as intended. Sometimes, the products transcend simply failing to gain a foothold and flop hard. The resulting shockwaves of their failure reverberate across the lands, leaving everyone tittering about their unrealized hopes and dreams. Although this might sound more than a bit dramatic, these five biggest flops by tech companies show just how hard the mighty can fall.
Created as a high-capacity DVD format, HD DVD might have just worked if it wasn’t for those wily folks at Sony. With their release of the Blu-Ray format, the battle was on in an instant.
Unfortunately, for the creators of HD DVD, Toshiba and NEC, Sony had big pull in the movie production world. They used their weight to convince many studios to go with Blu-Ray instead, sealing the fate of HD DVD. By the end of the ordeal, Toshiba lost over one billion dollars while Sony forged steadily ahead.
In a lofty bid to end tiresome walking for the masses, Dean Kamen rolled out the Segway to the delight of practically no one. While the initial reception was somewhat positive, the overall clunkiness and high cost of the personal transporter system left much to be desired.
Perhaps if Kamen continued to massage his creation to improve upon its faults, it would have worked out. But instead he sold the business to Jimi Heselden, who tragically died at the hands of the country-version of the original Segway. Upon tragically plummeting off the cliff, he took the hope of Segway becoming a household name with him.
With the advent of Windows 2000 came the seemingly unnecessary but proudly acclaimed Windows Me release just one year later. If it had worked right, then perhaps it would have stood a chance.
Unfortunately, it only lasted one year before Microsoft shelved it altogether. Tons of bugs, ultra-slow performance, and wholly unstable operation left many people more than a bit miffed with its mere existence.
Not to be outdone by Google, Apple decided to release their own version of their coveted mapping service in 2012. Dubbed Apple Maps, this carbon copy failed to work as intended. And still leaves people running for Google within minutes of trying to gain their bearings.
The overall buggy operation was a definite problem, but it just got worse from there. Landmarks would appear underwater. Blank voids sat in place of whole cities. Overall, its mapping program better served as an apocalypse simulator than a place to get directions.
Science fiction led the techies at Google to dream up a heads-up display for the common man. But in the end, the threat of constant surveillance proved to be all too much for everyday use, killing their beloved Google Glass where it stood.
Their dream stays alive though, as enterprise versions still exist. Average consumers lost the ability to purchase their own pairs in 2015, however – not that anyone was interested.
So, what’s your prediction on the next biggest flop in the tech world? There’s often no telling what’s going to capture the hearts of many – and which products will fall into disgrace. If you can predict the winners, then you might want to try your own hand at rolling out the next big thing in tech.