Les 84 plus gros flops, échecs et rêves morts de la décennie dans la technologie

Le monde ne change jamais exactement comme vous l'attendez. Mais à Le bord, nous avons occupé un siège aux premières loges tandis que la technologie a imprégné tous les aspects de notre vie au cours de la dernière décennie. Certains des moments résultants – et gadgets – sans doute défini la décennie et le monde dans lesquels nous vivons maintenant.

Mais d'autres que nous avons mangé avec du pop-corn à la main, s'émerveillant à quel point ils ont floppé.

C'est au cours de cette décennie que nous avons appris que les gadgets financés par le crowdfunding peuvent être de véritables catastrophes, même s'ils ne volent pas carrément votre argent durement gagné. C'est la décennie des appareils portables, des tablettes, des drones et des batteries qui brûlent, et des évaluations ridicules pour les entreprises qui étaient vraiment douées pour cacher le peu qu'elles avaient réellement à offrir. C'est la décennie où Google a rempli son cimetière de produits, Apple a obstinément nié les faux pas évidents et Microsoft a annulé des milliards de dollars.

Voici 84 choses qui mort dur, souvent hilarante, pour nous amener là où nous en sommes aujourd'hui.

—Sean Hollister

84. Google Nexus Q

Nous avons pris cette photo en 2012. Nous ne l'utilisons plus comme butée de porte.

Tout le monde était confus par le Nexus Q de Google lors de ses débuts en 2012, y compris Le bord – c'est probablement la raison pour laquelle la boule de bowling d'un streamer multimédia s'est écrasée et brûlée avant même sa mise sur le marché. Au prix de 299 $, plus 399 $ pour les haut-parleurs et 49 $ pour les câbles, le Nexus Q était incroyablement cher pour ce qui équivalait à un presse-papiers gimmicky. Il n'a été diffusé que depuis YouTube, Play Music et Play Video; eu des problèmes de connexion étranges; et nécessitait une application pour modifier l'un des paramètres de l'appareil.

Peu de temps après son annonce, Google a repoussé la date de lancement officiel de Nexus Q, disant à ceux qui l'avaient précommandé que la société "avait entendu les premiers commentaires des utilisateurs voulant que Nexus Q fasse encore plus qu'aujourd'hui", et il "a décidé de reporter le lancement grand public du Nexus Q pendant que nous travaillons à le rendre encore meilleur. »Ce lancement n'a jamais eu lieu: Google a discrètement mis l'appareil hors tension (tout en détournant les rumeurs de cessation) et a donné gratuitement ses prototypes restants. —Dani Deahl

83. LeEco (anciennement LeTV)

Image de Dieter Bohn / The Verge

LeEco, le «Netflix de Chine», était censé être la prochaine entreprise technologique chinoise à s'imposer aux États-Unis. Mais les deux plus grands paris de LeEco – une acquisition du fabricant de télévision californien Vizio et d'un concurrent de haut niveau de Tesla appelé Faraday Future – ont fini par ternir sa réputation et faire dérailler massivement les plans de la société de lancer une entreprise d'électronique aux États-Unis. (Il y avait aussi ce temps où sa voiture autonome n'a pas réussi à se dévoiler.)

Des obstacles réglementaires ont sabordé ses projets d’acquisition de Vizio, qui devait être la grande entrée de LeEco sur le marché américain de la télévision et du divertissement. Le résultat fut une retraite embarrassante – et une paire de procès Vizio. (Les deux sociétés se sont finalement installées.) Quant à Faraday Future, financé et finalement dirigé par le fondateur de LeEco Jia Yueting comme une trappe d'évasion américaine pour éviter des milliards de dettes chinoises, c'est tout un flop. Dernier développement: Yueting a été démis de ses fonctions de PDG, et il devra peut-être retourner en Chine et faire face à ses dettes si l'entreprise dépose le bilan. —Nick Statt

82. Apple Watch Edition

édition Apple Watch

Apple pensait en fait que les gens voudraient une montre intelligente de 10 000 $. Assez dit, vraiment. Mais à l'approche de la sortie originale de l'Apple Watch, incertaine de ce qu'elle voulait être, en 2015, un somptueux modèle «Edition» en or 18 carats a commencé à apparaître aux poignets de célébrités comme Beyoncé. À la surprise de personne, nous apprendrons plus tard que la montre de luxe est un projet passionnant de Jony Ive. Mais peu de gens pouvaient être convaincus de dépenser jusqu'à 17 000 $ pour un portable qui serait obsolète dans quelques années – par rapport à l'intemporalité de quelque chose comme une Rolex. Et dans le cas de l'Apple Watch d'origine, cela signifiait Beyoncé et co. étaient coincés avec une vision particulièrement lente de l'avenir.

Bloomberg ont indiqué que les ventes se situaient dans les «dizaines de milliers de personnes» et ont chuté quelques semaines seulement après le lancement. Avec les versions ultérieures de l'Apple Watch Edition, Apple est passé à un boîtier en céramique et a considérablement réduit le prix. —Chris Welch

81. JooJoo

Image de TokioDriftt (via Wikimedia Commons)

Connu à l'origine sous le nom de CrunchPad, le JooJoo a été l'un des premiers comprimés. Deux ans avant qu'Apple annonce l'iPad, TechCrunch le co-fondateur Michael Arrington avait demandé à ses lecteurs de l'aider à construire l'ordinateur en ardoise de 200 $. Mais un combat avec Fusion Garage, la société de matériel derrière le JooJoo, signifiait que le produit final de 500 $ serait expédié sans la participation d'Arrington et quelques jours seulement avant le lancement de l'iPad d'Apple. Après tout ce drame, la véritable tablette JooJoo était tout simplement mauvaise, avec un logiciel uniquement basé sur un navigateur qui n'était pas à la hauteur de la puissance de l'écosystème de l'App Store d'Apple et des composants matériels. Ne commençons même pas avec le nom. —Chaim Gartenberg

80. Google Reader

Image: @leftoblique

En 2019, Google Reader a finalement obtenu la pierre angulaire qu'il méritait. C'est sans doute la raison pour laquelle les gens ont tendance à parler du cimetière de produits de Google. Ce n'était pas la première ou la dernière fois que Google étouffait une idée, mais c'était certainement l'une des plus stupides – la décision de Google de tuer le lecteur RSS bien-aimé en 2013, malgré les protestations et probablement seulement pour économiser sur les coûts de serveur que Google ne voudrait pas '' t avis en mille ans, était sans doute la mort de RSS en tant que technologie de distribution de nouvelles. Google Actualités n'a jamais comblé cet écart et le fil d'actualité de Facebook est devenu une source d'information dominante.

C'était aussi juste un très bon lecteur RSS. Nous pleurons toujours sa perte aujourd'hui. – Sean Hollister

79. Secret

Secret v2

Pendant un bref instant en 2014, un réseau social «anonyme» a fait fureur. Secret vous a montré des messages de vos amis et amis d'amis, sans identifier personne par son nom. Le résultat a été un espace relativement sûr pour parler de sexe, de drogues et d'autres choses qui pourraient vous faire virer de Facebook. Il a rapidement amassé 15 millions d'utilisateurs et collecté 35 millions de dollars.

Mais une leçon durable des années 2010 est que rien d'anonyme ne peut rester. Là où il n'y a pas d'identité permanente, il n'y a pas de réseau social permanent. À peine 16 mois après le lancement, le co-fondateur de Secret a tenté de sauver la face en débranchant lui-même la fiche, en envoyant Secret au cimetière de l'application anonyme aux côtés de Yik Yak, Ask.fm, Formspring et bien d'autres. Les fondateurs se sont engagés à remettre l'argent qu'ils avaient collecté aux investisseurs – bien qu'ils aient peut-être gardé quelques millions pour eux-mêmes. —Casey Newton

78. Magic Leap

Photo de James Bareham / The Verge

Lorsque Google a soudainement contribué à mettre un demi-milliard de dollars dans les coffres de Magic Leap, la startup AR peu connue semblait soudain sur le point de tout changer – malgré le fait que les gens ne savaient presque rien de son produit, et Magic Leap a travaillé dur pour que les choses restent ainsi. . Il a illustré des brevets à consonance élevée avec un sac à main d'images de science-fiction volées et a promis que son travail «transcenderait ce qui peut être contenu dans un produit physique».

Magic Leap a impressionné tant de gens riches, intelligents et puissants que quelque chose il fallait que l'incroyable continue… mais livrer ce battage médiatique aurait pris un quasi-miracle. En réalité, le premier casque de Magic Leap ressemblait beaucoup au Microsoft HoloLens existant – mais sans modèle commercial évident et avec une entreprise moins établie. Magic Leap a maintenant recueilli 2,6 milliards de dollars, mais n'aurait que 6000 ventes à démontrer. —Adi Robertson

77. Google Fibre

Image: Google Fiber

J'avais l'impression que Google avait enfin entendu mes prières: Internet à fibre optique gigabit arrivait dans ma ville natale de San Jose, en Californie. Mais Google a abandonné la fibre avant que j'aie jamais eu l'occasion de l'utiliser. La société affirme qu'elle fournit Internet à 18 zones métropolitaines, mais elle extrait ces chiffres depuis 2016, date à laquelle elle a commencé à compter les villes Webpass où elle connecte les immeubles à appartements plutôt que les maisons. Des portions de villes fibre passionnantes attendent toujours l'accès. Heck, Google s'est même retiré de certaines villes depuis – comme Louisville, Kentucky, où il s'est retrouvé payer des millions en réparation de l'arrachage des routes. —Sean Hollister

76. Justice League

Warner Bros.

Ligue de justice n'est pas un flop dans un sens: le film a rapporté près de 660 millions de dollars dans le monde. Mais il a également lancé un mouvement mondial, qui a levé des dizaines de millions de dollars, pour que Warner Bros.publie une version entièrement différente. Le film n'a pas attiré les critiques, et les fans irréductibles ont été tellement bouleversés par la version de Joss Whedon qu'ils ont sorti des panneaux d'affichage à Times Square et des annonces d'abribus exigeant "The Snyder Cut", un mythe probablement mais probablement réel. version de Ligue de justice qui capture la vision complète de Zack Snyder pour le film.

Je ne sais pas, mec, mais si les gens sont assez en colère pour collecter des fonds grâce à une campagne publique pour dire à tout le monde à New York que votre film est nul – et ce sont les fans purs et durs – c'est un flop. —Julia Alexander

75. Microsoft Band

Microsoft Band

La première tentative de Microsoft de matériel portable ressemblait plus à une expérience en prison. Le matériel robuste et l'ajustement inconfortable semblaient comme Microsoft simplement expédié un échantillon d'ingénierie comme un tracker de fitness. Vous pouvez également utiliser le groupe pour acheter un café chez Starbucks, mais même Starbucks n'a pas pu sauver ce gadget de la disparition après que la deuxième version n'a pas fait grand-chose pour améliorer l'esthétique et l'ajustement. Finalement, Microsoft a réduit ses pertes en fermant les serveurs, offrant des remboursements pour s'excuser auprès des utilisateurs fidèles restants du groupe. —Tom Warren

74. Solyndra

Mitt Romney organise un événement de campagne à Solyndra

Photo de Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

De tous les avenants convoités qu'une entreprise énergétique pourrait rechercher, avoir Obama comme ambassadeur de votre marque personnelle est probablement en tête de liste. C’est la position chanceuse de Solyndra en 2009, lorsque ses panneaux solaires circulaires ont attiré l’attention du président de l’époque. La société avait tout ce que l'administration Obama voulait: une conception innovante et efficace, la possibilité de créer des centaines de nouveaux emplois et des milliards de dollars de financement de fonds spéculatifs et de capital-risque. Le seul problème était qu’elle n’avait en fait pas de plan d’affaires. En 2011, l'entreprise a fait faillite, en raison de la montée en flèche des coûts et d'une clientèle quasi inexistante. Le clou dans le cercueil est venu lorsque la Chine est intervenue pour fournir des panneaux solaires extrêmement bon marché. —Zoe Schiffer

73. Artefact de Valve

Valve Corporation

Lorsque Valve annonce un nouveau jeu, il y a un niveau d'anticipation et de battage médiatique dont la plupart des entreprises ne peuvent que rêver, et Artefact était le premier jeu de Valve en quatre ans – l'idée que Valve faisait quelque chose de nouveau donnait l'impression d'être un succès potentiel. Ensuite, ils ont amené Magic: The Gathering créateur Richard Garfield pour concevoir le jeu, a révélé qu'il serait basé sur le très populaire Dota 2, et aussi qu'il profiterait du marché Steam de Valve pour permettre aux joueurs d'acheter et de vendre des cartes facilement. Rien de tout cela n'a été suffisant pour que les joueurs profitent de l'économie du jeu payante.

Malgré les éloges critiques pour la conception de son jeu, seulement un dixième de ses 60000 joueurs initiaux sont restés coincés environ deux mois après le lancement, et seulement quelques centaines de joueurs sont restés deux mois après cela. C'est à ce moment-là que Valve a annoncé qu'ils arrêteraient les mises à jour afin de repenser complètement le tout. Jamais un jeu de Valve n'a brûlé aussi rapidement. —Michael Moore

72. Pono

Neil Young a passé des années à décrypter les MP3, iTunes et la musique numérique dans son ensemble, insistant sur le fait que la qualité du son compressé a ruiné l'expérience d'écoute par rapport aux CD et aux vinyles. En 2012, Young a cherché à résoudre le problème lui-même en annonçant le lecteur de musique Pono et une vitrine qui vendrait des fichiers audio hi-fi sans perte. Le Pono a gagné du buzz et plus de 6 millions de dollars en support de financement participatif, et est finalement arrivé en 2015, mais il n'a pas réussi à résonner avec un large public mieux qu'une Gibson Les Paul débranchée. La suffisance de Young n'a pas aidé, ni la couleur jaune et le design funky de l'appareil. Même le Zune de Microsoft était plus joli.

Mais d'autres sociétés ont poursuivi l'obsession de Young pour la qualité audio. Tidal est sorti de la porte avec un niveau de streaming sans perte. Et cette année, Amazon a lancé un niveau hi-fi de son service d'abonnement Music Unlimited, avec Neil Young le premier à chanter ses louanges avec une bonne dose d'hyperbole. "La Terre sera changée pour toujours quand Amazon introduira un streaming de haute qualité pour les masses", a-t-il déclaré. Le Pono lui-même n'a cependant jamais changé grand-chose. —Chris Welch

71. La barge Google

Google Barge SF (stock)

Image de Josh Lowensohn / The Verge

Les péniches avaient toute l'intrigue d'un roman de Dan Brown. Des structures à quatre étages flottaient au large de la côte de San Francisco, et Google ne dirait pas à quoi elles servaient. Les gens ont supposé qu'ils présenteraient des démos sur invitation uniquement, des fêtes de luxe et des salles d'exposition pour les nouvelles technologies de Google.

Hélas, ce ne devait pas être. L’entreprise n’avait pas obtenu les autorisations nécessaires pour accoster les péniches près de San Francisco. Ensuite, la garde côtière est intervenue avec des problèmes de sécurité incendie embêtants et le projet a été effectivement tué. Il s'avère que les barges avaient environ 5 000 gallons de carburant à bord et aucun bon moyen de s'assurer qu'elles ne monteraient pas en flammes. —Zoe Schiffer

70. Fake AI

Kolibree / Baracoda

Pour être clair: l'IA a connu une décennie d'enfer. Mais tapi dans l'ombre de son succès comme un sac à main Gooci ou une paire de baskets Abibas était le phénomène sordide de Fake AI. Les entreprises ont vu le battage médiatique et les malentendus qui entouraient l'intelligence artificielle et se sont dit: «A-ha, nous pouvons vendre Ils ont produit des brosses à dents IA, des lits intelligents AI, des réveils AI et des lave-vaisselle, promettant que des «algorithmes d'apprentissage machine avancés» s'adapteraient aux problèmes de notre vie, tout en lançant les mêmes anciens produits en s'appuyant sur les fonctions IF / OR. En bref: ils ont vendu beaucoup de tat.

Ce n'est pas tout à fait un flop au sens classique, dans la mesure où bon nombre de ces produits sont toujours disponibles et se vendent probablement bien; mais c'est un flop d'attentes, avec des entreprises qui parlent de produits qui ne pourraient jamais correspondre à leur image trop exagérée. Malheureusement, tant que l'IA réussit, la fausse IA flopera derrière elle. —James Vincent

69. Galaxy Fold de Samsung

Photo d'Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Je ne sais pas avoir jamais vu un lancement de téléphone comme celui du Samsung Galaxy Fold. Après seulement quelques jours, mon unité d'examen a juste… éclaté. Et les unités de plusieurs autres personnes aussi, car Samsung ne leur a pas dit de laisser le protecteur d'écran allumé. Quelque part au nord de 50% des examinateurs les plus en vue de la technologie avaient démantelé des unités. Comment Samsung pensait que cet appareil était prêt à être lancé, et encore moins en tant qu'appareil de haut niveau, reste un mystère à ce jour. La société a retravaillé le design et l'a réédité plus tard, mais les dégâts ont été (littéralement) causés. Les téléphones pliants peuvent encore être A Thing, mais le premier a atterri avec A Thunk. —Dieter Bohn

68. La vie de l'arsenic

NASA

En 2010, quatre jours avant la publication du journal, la NASA a organisé une conférence de presse sur une «découverte astrobiologique». La spéculation s'est déchaînée. "La NASA a-t-elle découvert la vie extraterrestre?", A demandé Internet. Eh bien, pas tout à fait: un groupe de chercheurs a affirmé avoir trouvé une forme de vie extraterrestre en (où ailleurs) en Californie: une bactérie qui utilisait de l'arsenic plutôt que du phosphore dans son ADN – un gros problème, car toute autre vie sur Terre utilise du phosphore. Il s'est avéré que la découverte très médiatisée n'était pas tant une découverte qu'une erreur. La bactérie, trouvée dans le lac Mono riche en arsenic, a presque immédiatement déclenché le scepticisme chez certains universitaires. («J'ai été scandalisé par la gravité de la science», a déclaré un chercheur Ardoise.) En 2012, l'étude de la bactérie l'a montré fait préférez le phosphore, après tout – évitez l'arsenic chaque fois que cela est possible. Voilà pour la vie de l'arsenic. —Liz Lopatto

67. Films VR

Miyubi

Le film VR Miyubi.
Felix & Paul / Sundance Film Festival

Le film en direct était une composante énorme des premiers VR, et cela semble merveilleux jusqu'à ce que vous vous arrêtiez pour penser aux inconvénients. Pro: un écran massif flottant juste devant vous! Con: on dirait qu'il est recouvert de mailles fines. Pro: une expérience à 360 degrés où l'action se passe tout autour de vous! Inconvénient: vous devez le suivre en tournant sur une chaise. Pro: plongez-vous dans les médias sans distractions extérieures! Inconvénient: vous n'interagissez pas réellement avec cette expérience, et bonne chance en mangeant du pop-corn dans un casque VR.

Ajoutez aux dépenses et aux inconvénients des caméras à 360 degrés, à la difficulté de gagner de l'argent avec les courts métrages et au statut de niche de la réalité virtuelle, et il n'est pas surprenant qu'ils n'aient pas décollé. Vous pouvez toujours trouver des films à 360 degrés dans les festivals de cinéma, mais les sociétés de cinéma VR comme Jaunt se sont retirées du marché ou ont fermé leurs portes – elles ressemblent donc plus à un sous-sous-genre qu'à un médium. —Adi Robertson

66. Google+


Stop Motion de Michele Doying / The Verge

En raison de … oh, appelons cela une erreur comptable … à l'origine, il manquait le flop numéro 66 à cette liste, et il manquait également Google+. Heureusement, c'est à peu près où nous placerions l'échec du réseau social de Google dans les plus grands flops de la décennie.

Apparemment créé comme une réponse directe à la menace existentielle que Facebook faisait peser sur les entreprises de Google en juin 2011, Google+ est devenu un tout-petit dès le départ. Malgré des affirmations audacieuses selon lesquelles cela «corrigerait» le partage en ligne … il ressemblait essentiellement à Facebook avec une couche de peinture différente. Seul Google a également tenté de le bousculer dans la gorge des utilisateurs en le connectant à ses autres services plus populaires, ce qui a certainement aidé à réduire son nombre d'utilisateurs. Voici comment Le bordCasey Newton a décrit le problème de Google + en 2014:

Près de trois ans et demi après avoir ouvert ses portes au public, vous auriez du mal à nommer une seule personne qui est devenue célèbre à cause d'une suite qu'ils ont bâtie sur Google+; pour nommer une histoire qui a éclaté en premier; ou pour identifier une manière de se différencier de manière significative de la surabondance de produits sociaux sur le marché. Je pense qu'il y a beaucoup de gens qui utilisation Google+, ne serait-ce qu'en passant; Je pense que très peu d'entre eux l'aiment.

Mais quelques fait j'adore, et il est resté en place jusqu'en octobre 2018 quand un autre L'échec de Google a incité l'entreprise à le tuer – une énorme violation de données que l'entreprise a initialement cachée à ses utilisateurs.

En cours de route, Google a suivi l'une des suggestions de Casey sur la façon d'améliorer les choses, permettant à l'excellent Google Photos de devenir sa propre application, ainsi que Google Hangouts et Steam. Et nous pouvons créditer Google+ de la création d'une connexion unique et unifiée que vous pouvez utiliser pour tous les services de Google et sur le Web. "Les gens oublient que vous aviez une connexion YouTube distincte!", Me rappelle Casey. —Sean Hollister

65. La tentative d'éliminer progressivement les ampoules à incandescence

Les normes d'efficacité fédérales ont été fixées pour essuyer les ampoules incandescentes inutiles des étagères des magasins d'ici 2020, ce qui permet aux gens d'économiser de l'argent sur leurs factures d'électricité et de contribuer à stopper la crise climatique. Ils avaient déjà été prouvés au cours de la décennie, car les LFC et les LED ont pris la place de l’incandescence dans de nombreuses maisons américaines. Puis, en 2019, le président Trump a lancé une bouée de sauvetage vers l'incandescence en faisant reculer les normes d'efficacité de l'ère Bush et d'Obama.

Pourquoi? Parce que le choix des consommateurs est plus important que de sauver la planète, a décidé Trump. Et selon le président, "(une ampoule plus efficace) ne vous fait pas aussi bien paraître." C'est vrai, il a injustement reproché à l'ampoule de lui avoir donné un look "orange". "Être une personne vaine, c'est très important pour moi", a-t-il avoué en décembre. —Justine Calma

64. EverQuest Next

EverQuest Next via Polygon

Les jeux en ligne massivement multijoueurs sont périmés. Cela fait 15 ans que World of Warcraft a été libéré et un «tueur de WoW» ne s'est jamais matérialisé. La seule chose qui se rapproche est World of Warcraft – oui, en 2019, Blizzard a réédité son MMO classique pour capturer à nouveau les aventuriers disparus. Mais pendant un bref instant cette décennie, il y avait un certain espoir qu'un nom classique dans les MMO injecterait une nouvelle vie dans le genre. EverQuest Next était censé être un énorme bond en avant dans les jeux multijoueurs massifs. Il a promis des mondes dynamiques qui pourraient être déchirés comme dans Minecraft, mais avec des éléments narratifs traditionnels de jeux de rôle fantastiques qui répondraient à la façon dont les joueurs ont changé le monde. Creusez trop profondément et le monde pourrait être envahi par des créatures de l'abîme; abandonner une colonie, et les orcs pourraient prendre le relais. Au lieu de récits préprogrammés, EverQuest Next promis le potentiel d'un monde avec ses propres comportements émergents.

Malheureusement, Sony a vendu la division qui a créé EverQuest à une entreprise d'investissement en 2015, qui a rebaptisé la propriété en tant que Daybreak Game Company. Finalement, l'aube est annulée EQ Next, et sa vision ambitieuse a été perdue. Nous espérons qu'au fur et à mesure que l'IA progressera dans les jeux, nous verrons certaines de ses idées revenir, mais pour l'instant, ce n'est qu'un autre flop. —TC Sottek

63. Aereo

Le fondateur d'Aereo, Chet Kanojia, avait un objectif simple: permettre aux clients de regarder en direct des chaînes de télévision en direct des principaux diffuseurs et d'autres réseaux pour un petit abonnement mensuel. L'entreprise a adopté une nouvelle approche en louant une antenne individuelle et un DVR à chaque client. De cette façon, Aereo a fait valoir qu'il fournissait un accès au contenu télévisé auquel les consommateurs ont déjà droit – mais avec plus de liberté.

Cependant, il ne fallut pas longtemps pour qu'Aereo attire la colère d'ABC, CBS, Fox et NBC et se retrouve dans une bataille juridique. La fin est venue lorsqu'une décision de la Cour suprême a conclu que les «différences technologiques en coulisses» d'Aereo ne le distinguaient pas des câblodistributeurs traditionnels, la société a été jugée coupable d'avoir violé la loi sur le droit d'auteur et a été contrainte de fermer ses portes. L'histoire a une façon de se répéter, et nous avons vu un créneau très similaire entre les diffuseurs et les organismes sans but lucratif Locast en 2019. —Chris Welch

62. Google Tango

Image de Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

Il en faut deux pour le tango, mais Google n'a jamais trouvé suffisamment de partenaires pour sa première incursion dans la réalité augmentée pour avoir un impact sur le dancefloor. C’est dommage, car le projet Tango a toujours été rempli de promesses.

Lancé en 2014, Tango a adopté une nouvelle approche de la réalité augmentée qui s'est concentrée sur la localisation de la position d'un appareil dans l'espace (comme le sens humain de la proprioception) pour fournir un échafaudage pour les superpositions visuelles. Le plan de Google était de créer la technologie de base, puis de laisser les fabricants de téléphones et les développeurs produire les produits de consommation réels.

Mais au final, seules deux entreprises – Lenovo et Asus – ont accepté Google, créant des appareils qui n'ont absolument pas répondu aux attentes, et en 2017, Google a fermé Tango au profit de son cadre de réalité augmentée plus traditionnel ARCore pour la normale Téléphone (s. —James Vincent

61. Leap Motion

Leap Motion

Leap Motion

"Nous sommes à peu près sûrs que nous avons vu la prochaine grande chose dans l'informatique" – c'est ainsi Le bord a décrit le contrôleur de Leap Motion en 2012. (Narrateur: Ce n'était pas la prochaine grande chose en informatique.) Alors que Leap Motion a prouvé que balayer et pincer l'air était vraiment cool, il lui manquait la fiabilité utilitaire d'une souris ou d'un clavier. La société a bénéficié de la résurgence de la réalité virtuelle, car le marché d'un bon contrôleur de mouvement était littéralement à gagner. Mais en dépit de la démonstration répétée d'un système pour casques d'écoute grand public, cela n'a jamais poussé les fabricants de matériel comme Oculus et HTC à se connecter, donc presque personne dans le monde VR ne pouvait l'utiliser. La société a fini par fusionner avec une autre société spécialisée dans le matériel informatique et a principalement disparu du public. —Adi Robertson

60. Flappy Bird

oiseau flappy

oiseau flappy

Appelez cela l'anti-flop; la bascule; ou tout simplement… l'Icare de l'App Store. Quelle que soit l'épithète que vous choisissez, vous devez admettre que Flappy Bird était une œuvre d'art: un jeu si ridiculement simple et perversement difficile qu'il fonctionnait moins comme divertissement et plus comme provocation spirituelle. Sans histoire, personnage ou sous-texte perceptible du tout, Flappy Bird a réussi à crier sur les joueurs: «Pourquoi tu te fais ça? Pourquoi faites-vous cela à votre la vie? »Il a grimpé au sommet des palmarès de l'App Store en janvier 2014 et y a plané comme un esprit malin pendant des semaines, nous rappelant toute notre folie tout en gagnant son créateur, le développeur vietnamien Dong Nguyen, 50 000 $ par jour.

Finalement, la culpabilité a submergé Nguyen et il a retiré le jeu d'iOS et d'Android, disant qu'il était devenu trop populaire et trop addictif pour son propre bien. Flappy Bird battit son dernier et tomba rapidement hors de l'existence. —James Vincent

59. ISIS (le portefeuille mobile)

Softcard

Vous savez ce qui semble pire qu'une initiative de portefeuille mobile soutenue par des opérateurs téléphoniques? Un portefeuille mobile appelé ISIS. C'était l'année 2012, et AT&T, T-Mobile et Verizon ne savaient pas qu'ils seraient en concurrence en SEO avec un groupe de militants extrémistes violents, responsable de milliers de morts de civils horribles dans le monde. Le tout est devenu si gênant que les transporteurs ont dû le renommer, moins de deux ans après le lancement.

Cependant, le nom n'était pas la seule chose terrible à propos du portefeuille anciennement appelé ISIS. L'utilisation de l'application nécessitait une carte SIM spéciale et si votre carte de crédit n'était pas prise en charge par le système, vous deviez acheter une carte de crédit prépayée spéciale afin de mettre de l'argent sur votre compte. Synergie! Tu aimes le voir. En 2015, l'ensemble du projet a été abandonné en faveur du préchargement de Google Wallet sur les appareils Android. —Natt Garun

58. Qwikster

Derniers mots célèbres.
Netflix

Peu d'entreprises ont dominé les années 2010 comme Netflix, mais il y a un point noir sur sa décennie presque vierge: Qwikster. Il y a de fortes chances que Qwikster soit quelque chose dont vous vous souvenez à peine. Bien que vous vous souveniez peut-être de la vidéo maladroite de Reed Hastings annonçant une société de streaming distincte au sein de Netflix? Qwikster, la tentative de Netflix de séparer le streaming de son activité de location de DVD, a été annoncée en septembre 2011. En octobre, la société s'était éloignée de son pivot. Si quelque chose se produit mais ne se produit pas vraiment, est-ce toujours un flop? Oui. Le pivot vers un pivot et ne plus jamais prononcer le mot Qwikster en est la définition. —Julia Alexander

57. Lily Drone

Lily-drone-CES 2016-03

Image d'Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Un drone entièrement étanche qui peut vous suivre en bas d'une montagne, décoller lorsque vous le jetez en l'air, puis prendre automatiquement votre photo – même en 2019, cela ressemble au meilleur drone de tous les temps. Mais cette idée de 2015 a été un désastre de financement participatif. Après des années de battage médiatique et d'anticipation, il a été révélé que la vidéo promotionnelle de la société était une imposture, probablement truquée à l'aide de séquences de GoPros qui auraient même pu être transportées par un drone DJI au lieu du Lily lui-même.

Lily Robotics n'a jamais expédié une seule unité parmi les 60 000 précommandes qu'elle a reçues et a été poursuivie par le bureau du procureur du district de San Francisco. Même si la société a reçu 34 millions de dollars de ses bailleurs de fonds et 15 millions de dollars supplémentaires en capital-risque, nombre de ces bailleurs de fonds n'ont jamais reçu de promesse de remboursement. Mais Lilly est en quelque sorte sortie de ses cendres en 2017 pour nous donner «Lily Next-Gen», un drone complètement sans intérêt qui ne pouvait même pas être mouillé. —Vjeran Pavic

56. Introduction en bourse d’Uber

Photo d'Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

À la fin de 2018, Uber devait être public à 120 milliards de dollars, soit près du double de la valorisation de l'entreprise lors d'une levée de fonds quelques mois auparavant, et une somme qui aurait rendu l'entreprise de transport plus précieuse que General Motors, Ford et Fiat Chrysler – les trois grands constructeurs automobiles de Detroit – combinés. Cela ne s'est pas produit. Au lieu de cela, Uber est devenu public à 45 $ par action, ce qui l'a évalué à environ 75,46 milliards de dollars. C'est beaucoup de sciages, mais cela a également enregistré une baisse de valeur de 38% par rapport à ces premières projections ivres. Et ne vous inquiétez pas, cela a empiré depuis. Le titre se négocie désormais à environ 30 $ par action, soit une baisse d'environ 30% par rapport à l'introduction en bourse. Uber a perdu un estomac véritablement barattant de 5,2 milliards de dollars au deuxième trimestre de l'année. Et son chemin vers la rentabilité semble aussi farfelu que les plans d'Uber pour lancer un service de taxi aérien en 2023. —Andrew Hawkins

55. Le «téléphone Facebook»

Presse HTC Chacha

HTC

Le début des années 2010 a été une bonne course pour Facebook, une entreprise qui est devenue si arrogante qu'elle pensait libérer un téléphone avec un bouton Facebook dédié semblable au bouton Netflix sur chaque télécommande de télévision intelligente. Il s'est associé à HTC pour lancer Status et Salsa, deux téléphones qui ont fait leur première apparition presque sans fanfare, puis ont triplé le concept avec le HTC First, un appareil Android avec un skin Facebook Home personnalisé. Étrangement, il s'avère que si les gens aimaient utiliser Facebook à l'époque, personne ne voulait admettre qu'il l'utilisait si souvent qu'ils avaient besoin de photos de la chronologie Facebook éclaboussées sur leur fond d'écran à un moment donné.

On pourrait penser que l'embarras de ces pannes de téléphone empêcherait Facebook de publier plus de matériel, en particulier compte tenu de l'augmentation des révélations de confidentialité ces dernières années. Mais comme nous l'avons vu avec le portail, Zuck n'est pas tout à fait prêt à abandonner. —Natt Garun

54. Chatbots

tay microsoft chatbot-news-Microsoft

Microsoft

C'est une mode que les entreprises technologiques préféreraient que nous oublions: en 2016, les entreprises établies et les startups ont adoré la possibilité de chatbots. Au minimum, ils faciliteraient le service client; dans leur pleine gloire, ils pourraient être l'avenir de l'informatique. "La conversation en tant que plate-forme" aurait un "impact aussi profond que … les changements de plate-forme précédents", a prédit le PDG de Microsoft, Satya Nadella. Inutile de dire que cela ne s'est pas produit, et aucun chatbot ne représentait la promesse plus que le propre Tay de Microsoft.

Lancé sur Twitter en mars 2016, Tay a «appris» en parlant aux utilisateurs. En 24 heures, Tay a appris à répéter un éventail de déclarations racistes, sexistes et antisémites et a été ignominieusement fermé comme une Clippy remplie de haine récemment endoctrinée dans la Westboro Baptist Church. Bienvenue sur Internet, Tay. —James Vincent

53. Google Daydream

Google Daydream semblait tout avoir. C'était une plate-forme VR intégrée à Android, associée à un casque mobile à l'allure confortable qui a résolu certains des plus gros défauts de la Samsung Gear VR concurrente – d'un processus de configuration maladroit à l'absence d'un vrai contrôleur. Puis il a frappé la piste, a bredouillé quelques pieds en l'air et est tombé directement dans l'océan. Les fabricants de téléphones Android ont attendu des mois pour prendre en charge Daydream s'ils le faisaient. La sélection d'applications de Google était au mieux légère. Et la réalité virtuelle basée sur le téléphone était trop fondamentalement limitée pour tout La société de réalité virtuelle, y compris Google, avait espéré qu'il le pourrait. Moins de trois ans plus tard, le Daydream n'était qu'une autre pierre angulaire du grand cimetière de produits de Google. —Adi Robertson

52. SOPA et PIPA

Projet de loi SOPA

La fête de Napster n'allait jamais durer. En 2012, Hollywood et l'industrie de la musique s'attaquaient durement au piratage et explosaient à travers toutes les parties de la culture Internet qui se dressaient sur le chemin. Il n’était pas clair combien il en resterait au moment où ils auraient terminé. Cela est venu à la tête avec SOPA et PIPA, une paire de projets de loi qui visaient à intégrer la protection de la vie privée dans l'épine dorsale d'Internet lui-même.

It was the kind of bill that routinely skates through Congress, but thanks to a first-of-its-kind mobilization led by Reddit, Congress got cold feet. It turns out, when the internet gets organized, even the content lobby can flop. —Russell Brandom

51. Verizon Go90

Verizon

I can’t hear the word Go90 without thinking of Bord editor-in-chief Nilay Patel using it as a scale to determine if a streaming service will survive. Netflix sits at a ten. Disney+, a five. The goal, you see, is to never fully go Go90. To go Go90 is certain death.

Here’s what you need to know about Verizon’s Go90 service: it was a streaming service that wanted to give subscribers access to films and TV shows, but focus on the social aspect. This included leaning into Tumblr, a site that isn’t really a social network anymore. Go90 launched in 2015, and was discontinued three years later. It reportedly cost Verizon $1.2 billion. It’s a flop on top of a flop: it was originally known as Intel’s OnCue, but Intel reportedly sold it for a fraction of the asking price after it failed to attract content partners.

Fortunately, Verizon figured out a much more successful way to keep its name in the streaming world, partnering with Disney to give Verizon subscribers a free year of Disney+ in 2019. The move has supposedly been very successful for both companies. Verizon’s Go90 may have gone full Go90, but the Disney partnership is a solid 5. —Julia Alexander

50. Android tablets

Motorola, Inc.

It’s frustrating to watch companies do something, fail resoundingly, then try again and again expecting different results each time. Such was Google’s decade-long run at sponsoring tablets you’d want to buy. It started with 2011’s Motorola’s Xoom, the flagship device for Android 3.0 — the only version explicitly designed for tablets. It had decent specs, but was mired by a high price, lousy software, and a lack of compelling apps. Tragically, that description also fits most of the tablets Google released after it. I remember rooting for Google when it took even the smallest chances, like with the cutting-edge Samsung Nexus 10, or with the smaller, more affordable Asus Nexus 7. But slight improvements in design didn’t mask that Google’s tablets were at a stand-still by literally every other metric. They were going nowhere, and those were the bien years.

Instead, Google stubbornly gunned for Apple’s throne with the Nexus 9, the Pixel C, and the Pixel Slate. Every time, it further embarrassed itself as the dents it could make against the iPad, as well as Amazon and Microsoft’s growing hold, kept shrinking. It’s now sworn off tablets altogether. —Cameron Faulkner

49. Vine

vine stock

Before it was a failure, Vine was a glorious engine of culture. The looping 6-second videos that the app pioneered became a launching pad for comedians and musicians while also introducing countless priceless phrases and memes into the culture. Eyebrows on fleek! A potato flew around my room! Back at it again at the Krispy Kreme! No defunct social network is more fondly remembered.

Unfortunately for Vine, it was purchased in its infancy by Twitter, which might never have known what to do with it, and certainly never figured it out along the way. The New York-based team languished while the Twitter team in San Francisco focused on more pressing problems, including a decade of unprofitability. Vine itself stopped growing when Instagram introduced videos, and advertisers and influencers abandoned the app, and died in 2016 from neglect. It lives on as a series of compilations on YouTube with tens of millions of collective views, and in its spiritual successor, TikTok. —Casey Newton

48. AirPower

Image: Apple

Apple is usually associated with some of the best engineering and design in the technology world. Usually. AirPower, on the other hand, might be the biggest failure Apple’s had in recent memory, resulting in a product that was reportedly so bad, it never shipped at all. Announced alongside the iPhone X, AirPower promised to be a new kind of wireless charger, that would charge up to three devices all at once (say, an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and AirPods), without having to worry about the specific “sweet spots” of other chargers. But apparently, actually getting that tech to work together was harder than Apple thought, and a year and a half after it was announced, AirPower was unceremoniously canceled by the company. —Chaim Gartenberg

47. Ouya

Ouya seemed like a good idea. Pitched at a time when mobile hardware was rapidly improving but games didn’t really make use of it, the startup proposed sticking an Nvidia Tegra 3 chip into a sleek $99 Yves Behar-designed box, packaging it with a game controller, and curating games for a custom version of Android designed for TV screens. It raised more than $8 million on Kickstarter and is still the tenth most funded project in the platform’s history. Unfortunately the controller was terrible, the software was half-baked, and the store didn’t have any games worth playing. (Okay, except Towerfall.) Razer bought the company’s hollowed-out remains a couple of years after launch and tried to keep the storefront going, but shut it down earlier in 2019. Ouya was one of the earliest and highest profile examples of Kickstarter success turning into real-world failure. —Sam Byford

46. Essential Phone

Photo de Vjeran Pavic / The Verge

When the Essential Phone debuted, it was a little bit mind-blowing: its screen pushed right against the top of the phone, with just the slightest cutout for the camera — something we hadn’t seen before. It also seemed promising that it came from Android co-founder Andy Rubin, in his first major project since leaving Google, and the titanium frame felt superb. But the company’s promises of camera quality and durability turned out to be hugely overblown, the software started out riddled with bugs, and it wound up shipping nearly two months after Rubin promised — only a month later, the iPhone X arrived with a notched screen as well.

Few bothered to buy an Essential Phone, and the company reportedly canceled development of a second phone less than a year later. Now, there’s another shadow hanging over the company and its new project: revelations about the sexual misconduct allegations that pushed Rubin out of Google in the first place. —Jake Kasternakes

45. Samsung Bixby

Photo d'Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Apple had Siri, Amazon had Alexa, Google had Google Assistant. Each was a voice-activated helper that would change how we interact with our devices on a fundamental level. On the other hand, there’s Bixby, Samsung’s also-ran attempt to jump on the voice assistant bandwagon. Samsung tried really hard to get Bixby to work, going as far as adding a mandatory Bixby button to some of its phones. But Samsung’s assistant just wasn’t very good, and with the plethora of other options available on Android — like the native Google Assistant that was bundled by default on every Bixby phone — Samsung’s option mostly served to piss off people who wanted to use the Bixby Button for something else. But unlike many of the things on this list, Bixby still exists today, even if Samsung’s flagship Bixby hardware, the Galaxy Home, still hasn’t shipped. —Chaim Gartenberg

44. Hyperloop

Tesla Motors

A “cross between a Concorde and a railgun and an air hockey table.” That was how Elon Musk described plans for Hyperloop, a “fifth mode of transport” that he unveiled to the world after months of teasing in 2013. The original whitepaper outlined a system of pressurized tubes that would propel pods across the country at speeds of 700 MPH. But the document proved to be little more than an elaborate back-of-the-napkin sketch, with engineers and transport experts pointing out serious structural problems in the plan, and noting that costs had been drastically underestimated.

A bevy of Hyperloop companies have so far failed to produce even a single mile of fully-operational track, and Musk himself has rerouted his ambitions to simply building tunnels for cars. Talk about going underground. —James Vincent

43. Windows 8

Windows 8 review hed

Ever wanted your Start menu and button to disappear? And everything else familiar in Windows to be shifted around? Install Windows 8. Microsoft was chasing the iPad hard, and the company went head on into touchscreens while forgetting what people actually use their PCs for. Windows 8 included a tile-based UI, fullscreen Start menu, and an overall confusing interface for keyboard and mouse users. Thankfully, Microsoft quickly recovered from a disaster with Windows 10. —Tom Warren

42. Antennagate

Pomme

Apple doesn’t screw things up often, but when it does make mistakes, they tend to go big. And none were as big as “Antennagate,” a problem with the iPhone 4 that saw signal strength drop when the external antennas were blocked by simply holding the phone. Then-CEO Steve Jobs infamously advised one customer to “just avoid holding it that way.” The issue escalated, with Apple first issuing a software update to address a “mistake” in how antenna bars were displayed, before eventually admitting to the defect and supplying iPhone 4 customers with free cases. Antennagate would come to define a classic Apple scandal: deny the problem, issue a software update, and then eventually, reluctantly make amends with customers. —Chaim Gartenberg

41. WeWork’s attempt to go public

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Founded in 2010, WeWork wasn’t originally just a co-working space. Pushed by SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son in 2016 to make the business “ten times bigger than your original plan,” Adam Neumann set off on a pot- and tequila-filled journey to make a Facebook for real life — a community you’d never have to leave. You could send your kid to WeGrow; you could rent a room in WeLive; and obviously, work at WeWork. While the coworking spaces were often popular among startups — making the real estate market more manageable — many of the other choices WeWork made were nonsensical, and when the required filings around an initial public offering came out, well, most of the internet pointed and laughed. WeWork had a sky-high valuation more befitting a company engaged in software as a service than, well, a real-estate concern.

Though the last funding round WeWork had received gave the company a valuation of $47 billion, Bloomberg reported that the IPO would value the company at $20 billion to $30 billion. Then that estimate dropped to $10 billion, per Reuters. Then the IPO was shelved, Neumann resigned as CEO, and took a healthy $1.7 billion payout to leave the company’s board. WeWork has trimmed its wings, selling or shuttering some businesses and laying off employees. Whether the company will recover is an open question. There is, however, some good news: Nicholas Braun, best known as Succession’s Cousin Greg, will play Neumann in a WeWork project — airdate tbd. —Liz Lopatto

40. Google’s Project Ara

Google

The dream of modular smartphones began in 2013 with the Phonebloks concept video from Dave Hakkens. It galvanized our dormant desire for a flexible handheld device that could last forever, or at least a few years longer than the disposable designs that had transfixed Apple and Samsung. Prefer face ID over a fingerprint scanner? Snap your preference into the base frame. More speed? Pop in a new CPU/GPU/memory core. Improved photos? “Okay, Google, eject the camera.” Google’s new Motorola division took the concept and ran with it, before stumbling at the finish line and calling it quits in 2016. Truly, the end of an Ara. —Thomas Ricker

39. Microsoft Kinect

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Microsoft’s 3D camera peripheral can’t be written off as a total failure. It sold well out of the gate, it was popular among artists and researchers, and Apple eventually bought the company behind its technology to power the iPhone X’s Face ID. But despite Microsoft’s insistence that “You are the controller,” its promise for gaming never panned out. Microsoft’s focus on Kinect turned out to be a huge strategic blunder, particularly when the Xbox One debuted. The Xbox One was compromised from a price and design perspective by the inclusion of a Kinect in every box — with almost no worthwhile games to show for it. Microsoft later took a dramatic decision to discontinue the device entirely, even removing its connector on subsequent Xbox One revisions. —Sam Byford

38. Color

All but forgotten today, few Silicon Valley startups ever had as much hype before their debut. Color’s hype stemmed from the massive $41 million its co-founders raised in 2011 to build the app, a photo-sharing service designed to help you explore the world around you. Instead of following individuals, as on Instagram, on Color you would open the app to see what pictures that nearby users had posted. The app was mocked widely at the time for its bizarre user interface, which used strange invented characters for basic functions and was hilariously difficult to navigate as a result. Just a year and a half after launch, Color denied reports that it was shutting its doors — and a month later, confirmed them.

Ultimately, Instagram was just a much better photo-sharing app than Color was — unless you were at a special event, it was almost always more interesting to look at photos from people you knew or had followed for a particular reason than to look at whatever photos people were posting around you. Still, Instagram ultimately offered various ways to view photos and videos by location, too. –Casey Newton

37. Nikon 1

Nikon J1

This list has a lot of bad products on it, but few where the most plausible explanation for their failure was that they were designed to suck on purpose. That could well have been the case with the Nikon 1 system, a range of mirrorless cameras with terrible controls, small 1-inch sensors, and slow lenses that was wholly uncompetitive against the likes of Sony, Fujifilm, and Olympus. Nikon apparently figured that in order to create a truly modern mirrorless camera, you needed a new lens mount, which could have risked erasing the company’s biggest lock-in advantage: its huge line-up of F-mount SLR lenses that dates back to the 50s. The Nikon 1 range, then, was seemingly intended to attract compact camera upgraders without cannibalizing its DSLR business.

The system had its advantages, like great autofocus performance and the best underwater camera ever made, but the image quality was so unimpressive it made no sense for almost anyone to buy. The real nail in its coffin was the Sony RX100, which offered the same size sensor in a smaller, more useful package. Sony is now on its seventh iteration of that hugely successful range, while Nikon finally gave in last year and released its first full-frame Z-mount mirrorless cameras. —Sam Byford

36. Google’s smartwatch ambitions

Photo de James Bareham / The Verge

Google hasn’t had the best time with smartwatches. In the early six years since it announced Android Wear, including its relaunch as Wear OS, it’s powered dozens of devices without producing a single watch to truly challenge Apple — generally delivering huge, hulking watches and/or poor battery life. In 2016, Google reportedly pulled out of a deal to launch LG-made, Pixel-branded smartwatches because it felt they would hurt Google’s hardware brand. And yet it still didn’t look great for the Wear OS brand when LG later released the watches on its own. Some brands like Motorola and Asus gave up on the platform years ago.

Now, Google seems to be taking matters into its own hands (wrists?) after paying millions for Fossil mystery smartwatch tech and $2.1 billion for Fitbit. But each minute that passes without a good Google smartwatch is another opportunity for Apple. —Jay Peters

35. Young Blood

Siphoning blood from young people and injecting it into old people sounds like something out of a fairy tale (the scary kind, not the Disney kind). But starting around 2016, salesmen promised that strapping into an IV of the stuff might help prevent Alzheimer’s, improve skin quality, and enhance athleticism. Peter Thiel was reportedly interested. People lined up to pay one young blood startup, called Ambrosia, $8,000 a liter for blood from people under the age of 25. Then, in February 2019, the FDA stepped in to squash the hype.

Despite the claims, there’s no actual evidence that young blood has any health benefits. And even necessary blood transfusions can have dangerous side effects, so there’s no point in taking the risk. It might be possible to identify helpful compounds floating in the blood of younger people that might eventually become helpful drugs, but that’s many years away. For now, you’re better off spending $8,000 somewhere else. —Nicole Wetsman

34. Amazon HQ2

Amazon box (STOCK)

When Amazon announced it was looking for a location to build a second headquarters, it decided to turn the whole thing into a contest — with cities across the US practically begging the retail giant to select them in hopes of new economic opportunities. But after many, many months of trotting out finalist cities like some kind of pageant, Amazon didn’t actually pick a needy city for a true second HQ. Instead, it opted for two regional offices in New York City and Arlington, Virginia. The former didn’t take the news well. When New Yorkers, already struggling with various infrastructure and housing issues, learned Amazon would be getting more than $1 billion in incentives, they waged a months-long battle against Amazon that culminated in the company abandoning its plans altogether. (Amazon is still building offices in NYC, just not the giant headquarters of Jeff Bezos’ dreams.) It’s as if we never learned you can’t conduct the business of an entire town (or country) like a reality show. —Natt Garun

33. Sony PlayStation Vita

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Unlike most products on this list, the PlayStation Vita delighted most people who bought it. The trouble was that not very many people did. A gorgeous piece of hardware capable of powering games far more ambitious than had previously been seen on handheld consoles, the Vita ended up finding its niche as a portable indie game machine and a handy PS4 Remote Play controller. There was certainly something to be said for playing Spelunky on the bus, and the stream of “free” PlayStation Plus titles meant the Vita was always worth keeping in your bag. But Sony simply didn’t support it with the type of software it was designed for, and the console never fulfilled its true potential. It’s estimated to have sold roughly as poorly as Nintendo’s Wii U, one of the worst-selling Nintendo systems ever, and many times worse than its PlayStation Portable predecessor. —Sam Byford

Correction: The Wii U wasn’t the worst-selling Nintendo system ever, which is something Sean added during an edit; it was one of Nintendo’s worst-selling home consoles, but the Virtual Boy reportedly sold fewer than 1 million after its 1995 debut.

32. Red Hydrogen

Photo d'Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

RED’s cameras had such an impact on digital filmmaking, that it was easy to buy into the company’s ceaseless hype around its first steps into the smartphone world. According to RED founder Jim Jannard, the Hydrogen One would have a “holographic display” and revolutionize filmmaking with a new and improved 3D format called “4V.” It’d even be able to attach to RED cameras and be used with a RED imaging sensor and compatible lenses. Then, the phone appeared.

It’s hard to sum up exactly what went wrong, because it’s kind of everything: the basics were dated and flawed. And the fancy new features were outright bad — the screen was far from holographic, and the 3D effect looked more like a lenticular lunchbox than a next-gen revolution (let alone something good enough for this generation of mediocre 3D). The fancy accessories never launched, and at $1,300, there was just no redeeming this device. Eventually, Jannard would leave the company citing health concerns and shut the phone project down on his way out. —Jake Kasternakes

31. Zynga’s acquisition of Draw Something

Draw Something Zynga

Zynga was perhaps the biggest winner from the anything-goes era of Facebook’s desktop web era, in which developers could get seemingly infinite traffic by posting stories to your News Feed whenever any person took any action inside their app. But in the early 2010s, desktop Facebook began to wane, and so one day in February 2012, Zynga announced it would spend $183 million on OMGPOP, makers of a popular iOS and Android game called Draw Something. The basic idea was “what if we copied Pictionary in basically every way, but didn’t call it that?” It generated 20 million downloads in its first five weeks, which would still be an impressive feat today. (At the time, Instagram had only 27 million downloads. Foursquare had 15 million.)

The thing is, who wants to play Pictionary for more than a couple weeks? Draw Something printed money for a few weeks — it was supported by advertising and also sold various in-game perks — but by May the user base was in free fall. A year later, Zynga shut down OMGPOP and laid off its employees. It was the start of a brutal few years at Zynga that saw its founding CEO slink out the door. The most amazing thing about all this is that Zynga survived, and it’s basically fine now? Franchises like Farmville et Words With Friends kept it afloat, and Draw Something, somehow, is still in active development. –Casey Newton

30. Game of Thrones’ ending

Photo: HBO

It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Going into 2019, Jeu des trônes seemed poised to be the kind of cultural juggernaut with an ending that would be talked about for years. And in a way, it was — just probably not in the way that HBO or the showrunners had hoped. Plot threads were rushed, story beats were thrown out with apparent lack of concern for characterization, past history, or common sense, culminating in a final episode that saw the hottest TV show in recent memory fizzle out with the saddest of whimpers. Things like “subtlety” or “logic” were thrown out the window, as Jeu des trônes did whatever the polar opposite of “sticking the landing” is.

It turns out, writing an ending to Jeu des trônes that’s actually good is as hard of a task as George R.R. Martin has said all these years. Odds are, we’ll still be talking about Jeu des trônes in the years to come — if only to puzzle out just where exactly everything went wrong. —Chaim Gartenberg

29. Healthcare.gov

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<p id=When Congress successfully passed President Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, in 2010, it seemed like the hard part was over. But the administration wasn’t prepared for the true opposition: poor web design. The rollout of healthcare.gov, where Americans were supposed to sign up for insurance under Obamacare, was chaos. The site crashed repeatedly, rendering it totally inaccessible. Jon Stewart roasted it as “the weakest link.” Obama told the public that “interest way exceeded expectations, and that’s the good news.” The bad news? Almost everything else. –Colin Lecher

28. Equifax

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Cybersecurity tends to make the average person’s eyes glaze over, but it seemed like everyone paid attention to the Equifax hack. That’s mostly because of how monumental the consumer reporting agency’s screwup was. More than 143 million Americans’ Social Security numbers were exposed, as well as birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers. Credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 people were accessed as well.

It was such a colossal disaster that the incident has practically become synonymous with the company’s brand name. Oh, did we mention the that former chief information officer of the company was convicted of insider trading for selling stock before the breach was disclosed? Equifax eventually settled for $700 million, but the mess didn’t end there. Only $31 million was set apart for the $125 per-person payouts, and the Federal Trade Commission had to later issue a public notice that nobody would actually receive that sum due to the sheer volume of affected Americans requesting the cash. Quel cauchemard. —Nick Statt

27. The FTC’s $5 billion Facebook fine

Mark Zuckerberg Facebook Stock

To Facebook, a company that brought in over $16 billion in revenue in 2019, losing $5 billion is nothing. In July 2019, the Federal Trade Commission ended its year-long investigation into the company over its alleged misuse of user data and privacy scandals (like Cambridge Analytica) with that meager multi-billion-dollar settlement. It’s worth repeating once more: a record-setting $5 billion fine was such a relief to investors that Facebook’s stock price went up.

We’ll never know what would have happened if the FTC had pursued the company in court, instead of opting to end its probe quickly and get some lofty-looking numbers in headlines as an attempt to make the agency appear as though it treated Facebook harsher than what it actually did. If the company was found guilty, it would have at least been forced to admit fault — something it will never have to do for its alleged data abuses throughout the 2010s. —Makena Kelly

26. Everything will.i.am touches

Most famous for winning the competitive battle for being the worst member of the Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am (né William) struck it out on his own in the past decade as a solo artist. He’s responsible for what I believe is the worst song of the decade, ”T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)” which is — and I am ne pas joking here — entirely about boners. One line goes: “I woke up in the morning / hard like morning wood in the morning.”

will.i.am’s other solo act was as a tech entrepreneur, which involved a series of products, decisions, and acquisitions that I would also describe as boners. In 2012, will.i.am founded i.am+, which produced garish iPhone cases with slide-out keyboards and a separate camera. This would be his least bad idea over the next eight years. Next he launched the Puls, a smartwatch which our own Dan Seifert called “the worst product I’ve touched all year.” He followed it up with another smartwatch — this one voice activated, for no apparent reason — called Dial that nobody bought. Then there was the Delorean-inspired car IAMAUTO, a vehicle that was immediately impounded for not being street legal, but did make me better appreciate when will.i.am’s branding is lowercase and separated by periods. i.am+ later acquired Wink, pivoting to a business focused on smart home, AI, and losing gobs and gobs of money. Things got so bad that employees went months without pay. Also, somewhere in there, will.i.am had time to become chief creative officer of a company that 3D prints bullshit.

What does the next decade look like for will.i.am? This December, he launched Buttons, a new company featuring — checks notes — wireless earbuds, which means we can look forward to 10 more years of boners. —Kevin Nguyen

25. HP TouchPad

What do you get when you take Apple’s first-generation iPad, replace its metal frame with a greasy plastic body, give it a grainy touchscreen, install a new software platform with next to no third-party app support, and then put it on shelves for the same price as the iPad in July 2011, four months after the iPad 2 was released? You get the HP TouchPad, an unmitigated disaster of a product that not only sold terribly, but also completely torpedoed the webOS mobile device platform.

The TouchPad was such a failure that less than two months after launch, HP announced it would discontinue all webOS devices — phones and tablets included — and slashed the price of the TouchPad from $499 down to a measly $99 for the 16GB model. Only then did it actually start moving off shelves, and the company made another production run in order to use up components it had left over. By 2012, the TouchPad was a faded memory, and in 2013, HP sold all of its webOS assets to LG, which would utilize them for its TV line. webOS for phones and tablets was officially dead as we knew it, and we can blame the TouchPad for its demise. —Dan Seifert

24. Juicero

Juicero

Juicero promised the world juice sold in a pouch. Not a juice box, how dare you, but a pouch of fresh fruits and vegetables sealed into a QR code-verified pouch that required a $700 machine counterpart to squeeze the pouch and release the sweet, sweet juice. The dream seemed real enough — like Keurig but for juice, got it. But then, investors and Bloomberg discovered that the machine, the lynchpin of the entire Juicero operation, wasn’t even needed. People could squeeze their juice packs by hand. By hand! The company shut down shortly after the damning news.

At least the company offered to refund people for their machine, but wow, juice pouches, not juice boxes, and a machine to squeeze them all funded by venture capitalists. We should have seen this failure coming. —Ashley Carman

23. Steam Machines

Gallery Photo: Steam Controller and Steam Machine press pictures

Valve Corporation

In 2012, Le bord exclusively revealed that Valve was building a game console. I predicted it would be a Linux-based PC. Gabe Newell himself confirmed our reporting, and we excitedly wrote “How Valve’s Steam Box will reinvent the game console as you know it.” I still believe it could have played out that way.

But while Valve managed to build an extremely impressive console-sized gaming PC and an intriguing controller to go with it, the company’s overall plan relied on a wide array of partners to do the heavy lifting, and Valve didn’t have enough carrots or sticks to keep them on track. The Steam Machines finally launched in 2014 with a laughable, confusing array of computers, some far more expensive than a console, and they only supported a fraction of the games in Steam’s catalog. Valve’s utter reliance on game developers meant that even games that had been ported to Linux wouldn’t necessarily work on SteamOS. And unlike with the new VR-exclusive Demi-vie: Alyx, Valve was unwilling to pledge any games exclusively to the new paradigm.

In the end, Valve’s partners decided to ship Windows instead, or in addition to SteamOS, if they didn’t cancel their console-esque computers altogether. Valve quietly hid the Steam Machine section of its store last year and put the Steam Controller, the last remaining piece of its failed initiative, on $5 fire sale this November. —Sean Hollister

22. Nintendo’s Wii U

Gallery Photo: Nintendo Wii U hands-on pictures

The best thing you can say about the Wii U is that had it not flamed out so remarkably, we wouldn’t have the Switch. Nintendo’s Wii successor was a disastrous product on almost every level, from its low-quality touchscreen controller to its bafflingly slow software and its confusing, derivative name. Most damningly of all, Nintendo quickly ran out of ideas for how to make use of its own hardware. The Wii U library includes some of Nintendo’s best games ever, from Super Mario 3D World à Mario Kart 8 à Souffle de la nature, but almost all of them could be played on the GamePad controller without any dual-screen functionality. While it was nice to be able to play some great games around the house, it made for a convoluted waste of hardware.

“Shouldn’t the GamePad just be its own, truly portable system?” wondered everyone. Thankfully, Nintendo agreed in the end. The Wii U became Nintendo’s worst-selling home console of the modern era with just 13.56 million sales worldwide, and the Switch eclipsed it with less than a year on the market. —Sam Byford

21. Dieselgate

Photo by Anthony Dias / The Verge

The biggest automotive scandal of the decade started when a group of West Virginia University researchers stumbled across some abnormalities in an emissions tests of a Volkswagen Jetta and Passat. Since then, almost everyone important at VW has been charged in the so-called Dieselgate. The whole scheme was laughably criminal: VW engineers installed defeat devices — pieces of code labelled “acoustic condition” — designed to help the company’s diesel vehicles trick regulators into thinking they emitted less pollution than they actually did.

VW has paid more than $30 billion in fines since getting caught and has vowed to spend billions more in an effort to become a leader in electric vehicles. In other words, that cloud of diesel smog may have a silver lining to it. —Andrew Hawkins

20. Windows RT

Windows RT started off life dazed and confused, with a ridiculous name that meant nothing to anyone. It powered Microsoft’s first Surface RT tablet, and it had a desktop mode that looked like regular Windows. Except it wasn’t regular Windows, as you couldn’t install all your favorite desktop apps — something that Microsoft didn’t bother to explain to buyers or even its own Microsoft Store employees. If you weren’t confused enough already, the Surface RT was also painfully slow and lacked tablet apps. The Surface RT wound up bombing so hard that Microsoft wrote off $900 million in tablets it couldn’t sell. Microsoft thought everyone would want a Surface RT, but it turned out that everyone actually wanted real Windows. —Tom Warren

19. GoPro Karma

GoPro Karma and stabilizer grip in photos

Photo by Sean O’Kane / The Verge

Some things you never forget, and for me, one of those things is that GoPro recalled its first drone on the night of the 2016 election. Yeah, sure, maybe that was just coincidental timing — after all, the drones were literally falling out of the sky thanks to a faulty battery latch design, so something had to be done. But if there was ever a time to drop some bad news, I’m guessing using the most-watched (and most controversial) election as cover would have been a pretty easy call.

Karma was an okay drone, especially if viewed purely as a literal vehicle for GoPro’s excellent cameras (which is how the company always tried to market it). But it lacked the sorts of advanced features that DJI developed on its way to full-on dominance of the drone market, so it’s no surprise that Karma never really took hold. That said, Karma’s demise is also a good example of how failure can be a good thing for a company. GoPro announced the Karma at a time when the company’s product lineup was at its most bloated. When it failed, it helped push GoPro to refocus its efforts on what it’s truly good at: making (basically) one really damn good action camera. —Sean O’Kane

18. BlackBerry

BlackBerry Priv

At the start of the decade, BlackBerry was on top of the world. Even as the iPhone turned five, BlackBerry-owner Research in Motion had record subscribers and its iconic PDA-style cell phones were still the must-have gadgets of teenagers, business executives, and celebrities alike. But within months of its all-time subscriber high of more than 80 million in the summer of 2012, everything started to unravel. The iPhone 4S had been released the year prior, and Apple’s iOS was adding new features at a rapid clip, while Google’s Android operating system started catching on globally.

Instead of focusing on its strengths, BlackBerry instead released an alarming and inexplicable series of misguided products. From the PlayBook tablet that shipped without an email client to the disastrous BlackBerry 10 OS, the company released one embarrassing flop after another in pretty much every product category imaginable. Even when BlackBerry went back to basics, like with the physical keyboard on the Android-powered Priv, the company realized far too late in the game that it was never going to catch up to Apple and Google. The BlackBerry brand is best known now as a footnote in the history of mobile computing. —Nick Statt

17. Hoverboards

Swagway Swagtron

When so-called “hoverboards” first became a fad in 2015 — with teens, tweens, even full-grown adults zipping down the streets like floating statues while barely moving faster than if they’d just walked — the ridicule was already strong. Where was the Back to the Future levitation we’d been promised? Why would we embrace the WALL-E future where humans are lazy bums? But it quickly developed into full-blown schadenfreude when it turned out the shoddily made contraptions had a tendency to literally burst into flames. Whether it was fear, humiliation, or simply the arrival of more practical electric scooters, it feels like hoverboards fizzled fast: I frequently see them on deep discount online, but rarely in person. —Sean Hollister

16. Faraday Future

Faraday Future was at one point the most hyped EV startup in the world. It hired away top talent from the biggest tech and automotive companies by liberally spending its billionaire founder’s money, and at the same time, insisted on overwhelming secrecy. That combination fueled so much speculation about the startup’s intentions that, at one point, it was thought Faraday Future was a front for Apple’s own secretive car project. Many believed it would take on Tesla, or perhaps even take it down.

Yeah, nope. As Le bord has documented in great detail over the last three years, Faraday Future is now more well-known for rampant mismanagement, sketchy financial dealings, and ceaseless drama. The company does still exist, but it has teetered on the brink for more than two years now, all without shipping one single car. And even if Faraday Future ever does put its gaudy, fast, screen-laden electric SUV on the road, the majority of people who worked on the car have already left the company. —Sean O’Kane

15. Fyre Festival

Image: Fyre Festival LLC

Every generation gets the scam it deserves; remember Enron? Or how about the original Ponzi scheme, perpetrated by one Charles Ponzi? What about Fyre Festival?

Ouais. You remember Fyre Festival. As far as grifts go, it was very, very good — at least to watch from a distance. The year was 2017: Billy McFarland made up an expensive festival with the washed rapper Ja Rule, didn’t plan anything, got a whole lot of people to pay for the privilege, and then spent the money on himself and influencers to promote the charade. When attendees got to the island and started tweeting pictures of their accommodations (FEMA tents, sad cheese sandwiches), an immediate wave of schadenfreude washed over the ‘net. By and large, the people who got scammed were the kind of people who have money, at least in a conspicuous, Instagrammy way.

It was, in other words, a flop. McFarland got six years. (Despite being something of a co-founder, Ja Rule got off scot free.) The saga spawned a pair of documentaries, a countless number of blogs, and kicked off a rising wave of interest in grifters that’s continued to this day. We’re post-Fyre in so many ways — especially in how we talk about scams now. But at the end of the day / decade, what should be very clear is how much we still enjoy a good scam. Provided we’re not caught up in it. —Bijan Stephen

14. Apple Maps

Apple Maps

Tired of defaulting to its competitor, Google, for its mapping services, Apple decided to launch its own version in 2012 alongside iOS 6. It was an ambitious feat given how much of the mapping market Google already had, and it turned out, well, utterly embarrassing for Apple. Apple Maps was buggy, lacked public transit information, and in some areas and countries, offered literally nothing but blank voids or misplaced landmarks. The fumble eventually lead to the firings of multiple Apple executives who led its Maps project, and the company would spend the next decade proving to everyone it could build an actual competitor to Google Maps.

Seven years later, Apple Maps has been rebuilt from the ground up. Yet as of September 2019, detailed transit directions are only offered in 10 cities globally while Google has sent Street View expeditions to space. Good luck catching up with that. —Natt Garun

13. Microsoft Kin

Microsoft

Before Windows Phone, there were the Microsoft Kin — the “social phones” that the company infamously discontinued just six weeks after they went on sale in May 2010 because they were that particularly annoying combination of terrible et expensive. The Kin One and Kin Two were supposed to be the second coming of the popular T-Mobile Sidekick — whose creator, Danger, was snapped up by Microsoft for an estimated $500 million to work on this specific project — and featured a unique interface that put social networking feed front and center and let you drag and drop items to share with friends.

But they also featured a hilariously untenable monthly price tag of $30 per month for a Verizon data plan, on top of your phone plan. They launched without support for Twitter replies or retweets, or YouTube, and without microSD storage even though SanDisk had announced that specific feature. Word was that forces within Microsoft had sabotaged the project in favor of the upcoming Windows Phone. That makes sense, considering Microsoft knew full well that focus groups hated it. The company wound up writing off the Kin to the tune of at least $240 million, not counting what it paid for Danger. —Sean Hollister

12. Coolest Cooler

Coolest Cooler

Coolest Cooler started as one of the highest funded Kickstarter projects ever — raising over $13 million in 2014 for a cooler with a built in party speaker and blender lid. It closed off the decade with its maker, Coolest, shutting down after only delivering two-thirds of the 60,000 coolers it had promised to backers. (Not cool.)

In between, the company made a number of missteps, like angering people by selling the product on Amazon before sending them to backers first, and offering backers the option of “expedited shipping”, for an extra $97. Coolest blamed the increase in Chinese tariffs for its ultimate demise, but the wild saga of its failed Kickstarter stands an emblematic symbol of the risks of crowdfunding. —Dami Lee

11. MoviePass

Graphic by William Joel / The Verge

MoviePass seemed too good to be true, because it was. It was glorious while it lasted, but offering people the chance to watch one movie a day in theaters, for the low price of $9.99 a month, was clearly an unsustainable business model. MoviePass was hoping that people wouldn’t actually take them up on their offer,but subscribers were doing that and plus — people were using their passes as an excuse to use theater bathrooms, or get their parking validated.

Throughout the course of its tumultuous existence, the company ran into a number of disasters, like exposing its customers’ credit card numbers online, forcibly re-enrolling customers even after they’d cancelled their service, and having to shut down the app for several weeks to make updates. Though MoviePass finally perished recently, it inspired theater chains to offer their own, better-run subscription services. AMC Stubs and Regal Unlimited are two of the major ones, and moviegoers have MoviePass to thank for changing the theater experience forever. —Dami Lee

10. Apple’s butterfly Keyboard

Boy did Apple get it wrong with its “butterfly” keyboard, first introduced in the 2015 12-inch MacBook and eventually used on the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. The butterfly keyboard is often held up as the peak (or more accurately, nadir) of Apple’s preference to emphasize form over function, as it was specifically designed to allow for thinner laptop bodies. But in doing so, Apple reduced the travel of the keys to a scant 1mm, which many found unpleasant under their fingers, and the keyboard was significantly louder to type on compared to prior MacBook models or other laptops.

But those were just the tip of the failberg for the butterfly keyboard. Once the butterfly keyboard showed up in 2016’s redesigned MacBook Pro, it didn’t take long for owners to complain about sticking keys that would either not work at all or would type two letters at a time. In typical Apple fashion, the company’s initial response was to deny the problem and instructed owners to use canned air to blow out any dust or debris that might be causing the keys to stick. Those that brought their computers to a Genius Bar were often met with high repair bills and long wait times, as the only way to “fix” the keyboard was to replace it entirely.

Apple eventually released four generations of the butterfly keyboard, each one slightly modified to try to improve reliability, and in 2018 it introduced an extended warranty program that provided four years of repair coverage from the purchase date. In late 2019, Apple finally released a new 16-inch MacBook Pro that returned to the scissor switch design that has longer key travel, less noise, and better reliability, though as of this publish, the company continues to sell the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro that still use the ill-fated butterfly keyboard. Dan Seifert

9. The concept of privacy

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Back in 2010, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg caused a minor uproar by suggesting that privacy was passé, but insisted he’d been misconstrued. And yes, the US government had implemented a sweeping wiretapping program in the wake of 9/11 — but its legal violations were supposedly in the past. The following decade, unfortunately, didn’t bear these reassurances out. We soon learned the NSA was conscripting phone and internet companies to spy on the entire country. Our lives were monitored through smartphones, home surveillance equipment, online DNA databases, and everyone from credit card companies to the DMV selling records of our behavior. People still care about privacy — but it’s harder than ever to come by. —Adi Robertson

8. Google’s messaging strategy

google hangouts edited

Which messaging apps? Take your pick, there have been so many. But the grandaddy of all of Google’s messaging flops in the last decade has to be Google Hangouts. Not because it was itself a terrible product — but because it did a bad job replacing a beloved one and then was left to twist in the winds of Google’s ever-changing corporate priorities and restructurings. It withered and died, converted into a haphazard and little-used Slack competitor that was quickly and efficiently overshadowed by Microsoft Teams. Then Google invested in Allo but didn’t really try and it bombed too. Then Google just gave up: cell phone carriers now control the future of Google’s messaging apps. Guess how well that’s going. —Dieter Bohn

7. 3D TV

Mitsubishu

Coming off the enormous success that was 2009’s Avatar, 3D TV was supposed to bring a new level of immersion to the way people viewed movies in their living room. But unlike in theaters, where 3D screenings are still fairly common, the effort to bring that same experience home failed miserably. No one wanted to wear goofy 3D glasses during downtime on their couch. And the screen sizes of most TVs don’t showcase 3D in the same way content popping out of a giant movie theater screen can. TV companies continued to back 3D for several years, and there was a decent selection of 3D Blu-rays to choose from. But people just never took to it, and you can only force a feature on people for so long. By the latter half of the 2010s, the industry gave up on the dream and moved toward HDR and other picture enhancements that don’t require glasses. —Chris Welch

6. Fire Phone

One of the most incredible facts about the last decade is that Jeff Bezos has had more success sending rockets into space than creating an Amazon smartphone. The Fire Phone, as it was called, was a truly tremendous flop of a product. Amazon took a nearly $200 million hit, which led to one of its worst financial quarters in history.

The Fire Phone failed in large part because it just felt half-baked. It ran truly awful software, was loaded with gimmicks, and perhaps most egregiously, it didn’t do enough to hide its ultimate purpose of becoming a vehicle for goosing Amazon sales. This was all the more remarkable because Bezos allegedly micro-managed the project from its inception. The man may have built a multibillion-dollar empire that will one day literally let him leave Earth, but that will never change the fact that his company’s smartphone was so bad that Amazon couldn’t even give them away. —Sean O’Kane

5. Google Glass

Google Glass debuted with skydivers. Yes, Google co-founder Sergey Brin stormed the stage during a Google event at Moscone Center in 2012 to bring viewers a livestream of skydivers wearing Google Glass, who wore the glasses while they landed on top of the convention center. These connected glasses would change the world was the conceit. And they could have, until they freaked people out so much that the entire device failed to ever take off. People wearing the glasses became “glassholes;” Robert Scoble alarmingly posed with them in the shower; and concerned citizens worried about the privacy implications of a camera staring at them at any moment. Since it stopped shipping to consumers in 2015, Snapchat resurrected the idea of a camera in glasses with its Spectacles and dodged the fate of Google Glass. Meanwhile, Google kept its Glass dream alive with enterprise versions, but Google Glass’ shadow still hangs over every AR headset targeted at consumers. Maybe the world just isn’t ready. —Ashley Carman

4. Windows Phone

Nokia

Microsoft shipped Windows Phone with a giant party celebrating the impending death of the iPhone. Oops. Despite its flashy tile-based UI, Windows Phone wasn’t the phone OS to save us from our phones as Microsoft promised.

Instead, the company spent years trying in vain to convince developers to create apps for Windows Phone, and destroying Nokia in the process — first spending $7.2 billion to acquire Nokia’s phone business, then writing off the entire purchase as a failed experiment, cutting thousands of jobs and wasting at least an additional billion along the way. Mistakes were certainly made, especially when Ballmer laughed at the iPhone for lacking a physical keyboard. Guess who’s laughing now?

Bill Gates called Microsoft’s lack of leadership in the smartphone era his “greatest mistake ever,” and Windows Phone let the world watch that mistake play out as a slow-motion train wreck. —Tom Warren

3. Theranos

Photo: Drew Kelly / Sundance Institute

Once valued at $9 billion and seemingly poised to revolutionize medicine with a breakthrough blood test so easy you could do it at the drugstore, Theranos went out of business in 2018 after The Wall Street Journal exposed that the company’s proprietary blood test didn’t actually work — and that CEO and founder Elizabeth Holmes had tricked VCs, corporate executives, and customers by using standard lab blood tests instead of the product she was selling. It appears to have been a giant scam. Holmes was later indicted for fraud, and earlier this year, her lawyers said she hadn’t paid them in months.

Theranos was a dark failure and a harbinger of things to come as other highly valued startups couldn’t fulfill their promises to investors. —Ashley Carman

2. Samsung Galaxy Note 7

note 7 in a puddle

James Bareham / The Verge

When Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 first hit the review cycle on August 17, 2016, the reviewers went nuts over how wonderful it was — including, we have to admit, ours. “Galaxy Note 7 reviews have hit the internet this week and the consensus among them is that it might be the best designed smartphone ever,” we gushed. That was before the first phone exploded. Along with part of Samsung’s reputation.

By September 1st, there had been reports of at least 35 phones bursting into flames. Samsung issued a humble and apologetic statement in which the company announced it was recalling the Note 7 and issuing replacement devices. Okay, fine — except they promptly aussi began catching fire, including at least one on a plane, which caused the TSA to ban all Note 7s. Samsung was in all the headlines, but definitely not in a good way.

Eventually, instead of digging its own grave, Samsung dug one for the Note 7: it recalled all the phones and sent out a software update that made existing devices useless. The company’s decision to finally own its exploding phones and make good by replacing them with different models was probably what saved the company’s rep back in 2016. Now all it has to do is live down this year’s weird folding phone fail as well. —Barbara Krasnoff

1. Ajit Pai

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Testifies Before House Appropriations Committee

Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images

Net neutrality was one of the great success stories of this decade until one man killed it. In 2015, Americans reclaimed the public utility that built the 21st century, protecting it from the greed of monopolistic gatekeepers that had spent vast resources capturing federal regulators. The Open Internet Order established strong net neutrality rules that would have kept companies like Verizon and Comcast in check for years to come. Then came President Trump, and his new FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai.

Pai spent more of his tenure as FCC chairman trying to score points with right-wing media than crafting sensible public policy. His undoing of net neutrality was capricious, irrational, and unpopular. Pai ignored the millions of Americans who demanded net neutrality in favor of a small set of powerful interests, including Verizon, which he once collected a paycheck from.

Sometimes public policy failures are opaque layered with confusing complexities and unintended consequences. But in this case, the failure was clear. It wasn’t a poorly-written bill or bad timing. It was simply the result of regressive behavior from a public servant who would rather please internet service providers than serve the public. —TC Sottek



Traduit de la source : https://www.theverge.com/2019/12/20/21029499/decade-fails-flops-tech-science-culture-apple-google-data-kickstarter-2010-2019

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