We are counting down to 2013, but before we close the books on 2012, let us take a painful-yet-entertaining look back at the top 5 technology fails from 2012. Hopefully, history will not repeat itself and the tech industry will learn from its 2012 flops and have less missteps in 2013–yeah right!
1. Apple and Samsung Go to Court
A California jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages from Samsung, as well as a ban on Samsung selling devices that are too similar in design to devices made by Apple. This is just one chapter in the rivalry between the two technology giants, last year Apple sued Samsung, this year they went to court and fought it out with a three week trial, and after Samsung lost their case they immediately countersued Apple. There is another court case between Apple and Samsung scheduled for 2014, so it appears this drama will get even juicier in 2013. Ironically, Apple relies on Samsung – many Apple devices utilize microchips manufactured by Samsung. All the feuding fueled Samsung to decide to raise prices on their chips, but only for Apple.
2. Facebook’s IPO
With many of us being Facebook users, we all wanted to see its IPO offering be successful, but few of us believed in Facebook enough to invest with our own cash, which turned out to be a very smart move. With great fanfare and media coverage, the Facebook IPO was the biggest Internet IPO in history. The world watched with vested interest as Facebook hit the market, only to watch in disbelief as the value kept sinking and has yet to recover. Such a large misstep by Facebook has opened the doors to lawsuits, losses, accusations, and exits. If this trend continues for Facebook, they might be on the 2013 edition of this list. Facebook also hit a major positive milestone; 1 billion active users. It’s pretty unlikely Facebook is going away anytime soon, but for now most users will simply just invest their time socializing and playing Farmville as opposed to making financial investments.
The Stop Online Piracy Act was a move by Hollywood to use the powers of the United States Senate to shut down rogue offshore internet sites that were blatantly ripping off their content. This all sounds well and good, until the people of the internet read the fine print, saw a trap, and mobilized. Within the details of SOPA was the potential to have lawmakers wield new powers to control the internet; powers like deep packet inspection, limiting free speech, and weakening security. A united protest from internet users, led by internet giants such as Google and Wikipedia, made sure that SOPA would not even make it to the Senate to be voted on. The battle is not over, talks in Washington point to a SOPA successor with the same intentions to hit the Senate in 2013. Here’s to hoping that politicians have learned how not to mess with the internet.
2012 was not a good year for RIM. It might be a different story if perhaps we could get our hands on the long promised BlackBerry 10 (originally named BBX) and write a review about it; but alas, we cannot because RIM has pushed the release date back from the beginning of 2012 to January 2013. Even the most ardent BlackBerry fans are bailing to Android and iPhone as RIM’s stock prices nosedive and they scramble to replace two CEO’s who recently resigned.
5. Foxconn Factories Exposed
For all the success Apple had in 2012, their reputation got a black eye when the New York Times exposed the poor working conditions at the Foxconn factories in China. These factories are responsible for manufacturing devices like the iPhone, iPads, and iPods, at the cost of violating workers’ rights and offering little pay. These poor working conditions came to light after workers were injured in explosions and even committed suicide. The world reeled when pictures were published showing Foxconn factories with fences on the roof and nets around the buildings to discourage workers from jumping. Both Foxconn and Apple have agreed to improve pay and working conditions for their workers, we can only hope another story like this does not show up on our 2013 Tech Fails list.
Despite these missteps, 2012 was actually a pretty successful year with some very impressive technology innovations. Let’s be positive in the comments! Let us know what your favorite technologies of 2012 were!