The Tech World’s Most Embarrassing Product Failures

The Tech World’s Most Embarrassing Product Failures


The last couple of decades of the tech age
has introduced some of the most incredible advances we’ve ever witnessed in human history. Consider the fact that you have most of our
knowledge as a civilization available in your pocket at any given time. That’s bananas. Of course, some of the things that were touted
as the “next big thing” in the tech realm did not quite set the world on fire. They in fact may have set other things on
fire, quite literally. They can’t all be zingers, and that’s
why we’re presenting some of the worst product failures that have ever been launched upon
the world. 10. Betamax Even though you can now watch a four hour
movie on a device small enough to get lost and become property of the couch gnomes forever,
it wasn’t always that way. People obviously used the DVD format for a
while, but before then it was a world dominated by the VHS tape. The Video Home System looked to have a rival
rising up in the late ’70s in the form of the Betamax system. Some people to this day claim that Betamax
quality was better, and that other factors caused the system to not catch on. That would be false. VHS also had the side benefits of costing
less and having a lot more movie availability, sure, but VHS tapes also just looked better,
especially when Super VHS came out in 1987. The thing that probably stings the most is
the fact that Betamax was actually winning handily for quite some time. The final nail in Betamax’s coffin? Porn. When that industry chose VHS for their discerning
customers, that was it. 9. Apple Newton Believe it or not, there was a time when Apple
didn’t rule the world. After their huge chunk of relevance in the
early ’80s with their Macintosh line, they actually had quite a down time. During this period, one of their proposed
items was the Apple Newton, which promised to be a world-changing personal handheld assistant. It was unveiled in 1992. Its main appeal was that it was promised to
fit in a pocket. It would have a stylus, and could work with
either Macs of PCs. Another intended killer feature was that it
would recognize handwriting. It … didn’t quite do that. The feature was so broken that the Doonesbury
comic made fun of it nationally for a week. Steve Jobs, who had been relegated to the
sidelines at Apple for some time, famously hated it. 8. ESPN mobile phone ESPN is the worldwide leader in sports. They offer unrivaled access to your favorite
teams and players, and have helped build the 24-hour sports news cycle that we know today. They are also incredibly, shockingly, astoundingly
bad at things outside of that area of expertise. For some reason only known to the House that
Chris Berman Built, they decided in 2005 to produce their own mobile phone. Mobile ESPN was a cell service that was supposed
to be centered around the sporting world, for whatever reasons. Whereas the technology of phones at the time
was still in its infancy, Mobile ESPN would provide its own phone that would excel at
browsing the ESPN website and getting the latest scores. The phone itself cost three hundred bucks,
with monthly data skyrocketing as high as another two hundred. Steve Jobs, when meeting with an ESPN company
man, called it “the dumbest f#$%ng idea I have ever heard.” It folded less than a year after being announced. C’mon man! 7. PlayStation Home Imagine Facebook, where you can meet every
type of person you could imagine from all around the world, but a digital version populated
with buildings and avatars with endless possible interactions. Unless you were a female, in which there were
a thousand dudes trying to air-hump you onscreen. It came to life on the PlayStation 3 in 2008. It also took what seemed like years to install
all the software to the system. Promises were made of all sorts of games in-app
to play, and all sorts of extra rewards to reap. What it ended up languishing around as was
a slightly beefed-up chat vehicle. That had tons and tons of ways for you to
spend your money. Sony finally pulled the plug on Home in 2015,
unable to find a fun way to steal your money. 6. LaserDisc The ’80s and ’90s saw quite a few video
formats fighting it out for viewers’ choices, including DVD, VHS, and LaserDisc. LaserDisc was caught in that battle of too
many choices. It had two sides, and you flipped it to watch
the second half of a movie. But since VHS had continued dominance even
through part of the 1990s with its cheap cost, LaserDisc never really had a shot. One annoyingly glaring mistake was that you
couldn’t record on it. And, much like the Betamax story, VHS tapes
were just so ubiquitous at video stores, in homes, and, yes, in porn. LaserDisc never had a fighting chance. 5. WebTV In 1996, WebTV was launched, promising those
who didn’t have home computers yet a similar experience on their televisions. Oh, not pre-existing televisions. You had to buy a modified TV-like device that
would then take you to the internet and beyond. It was a gamble they took, thinking that people
were gathered around a television anyway, so that’s where they’d like to do their
internetting. Two things happened that killed WebTV: the
rise of cellphones and the lowering prices of PCs. Oh, and imagine trying to read websites from
the distance that you watch TV. It doesn’t work. Microsoft didn’t care, and bought into the
device for $425 million soon after it launched. Surprisingly enough, WebTV limped along for
years, morphing into MSN TV in 2001. Finally, they showed mercy and killed it off
for good in 2013. 4. Microsoft Zune Apple’s iPod came out in 2001, completely
changing the way the world experienced and interacted with music. Whole music libraries were now traveling around
with you in your pocket. Microsoft saw this revolution and wanted in,
but instead of making a great music player that was easy to add music too, they pooped
in a package and expected you to buy it. The quality of the music on the Zune was actually
fine. That wasn’t the problem. It was just that, five years after the iPod
became the world leader in tiny music players, it was simply too late to compete. It might have had a chance if the tech was
great. It wasn’t. Everything Apple did for their player was
already kind of perfect. The Zune didn’t try to do anything better. 3. Eons.com — social network for baby boomers Picture all the great things about your preferred
social media sites, be it the opportunity to reconnect with old high school friends,
or to slide into some unwitting person’s DMs. Now imagine that potential for creating relationships
over vast units of distance and time, but with really old people. 2006 was the year that someone decided “hey
we have dedicated hook-up websites for Christians and farmers, why not let old people have a
turn?!” The same guy that founded Monster.com was
guilty of that sentiment, and of no shock to anyone, it didn’t catch on. Forget the fact that the 50-and-up crowd aren’t
as apt to turn to the internet for lots of things, let alone love. It lasted only six years, even in the age
of Viagra. 2. Google Plus What if there was Facebook, but not fun? That’s what the unassuming public was asked
when Google Plus debuted in 2011. The public decided they were going to try
it, and Google Plus at its height boasted more than 190 million users. The problem was, those “users” weren’t
“using it”. That’s because it lacked fun things like
features and interactivity. So people may have been registered, but after
farting around on it for a while, gave up. It also had a fatal security flaw, which led
to half a million users having their information compromised. Add to that a ridiculously-stupid mandate
from Google for users of YouTube and other Google services to have a Plus login, and
you have all the makings of an unqualified failure. 1. Galaxy Note 7/Galaxy Fold Hey, remember when you bought that great phone
that was feature-rich and ahead of its time, but also exploded sometimes? Samsung remembers. The Galaxy Note 7 was launched in 2016 to
rave reviews. One month later, a significant problem became
evident: because of battery insulation issues, some of the devices were catching fire and
exploding. Which is not a feature Android users usually
clamor for. Two and a half million Galaxy 7s were recalled,
but this is not the time Samsung’s Galaxy line crapped the bed. 2019’s Galaxy Fold promised to offer a foldable
phone that would open up into a mini-tablet. That’s awesome, right? The reality was that it was rushed to market
before crippling errors in its design were addressed. It was pre-orders and tech companies that
saw the defects before the official public release.The hinges that held the two panels
together would be rendered useless if even little specks of dirt or dust got inside. And people thought the protective display
cover was only temporary and meant to be removed. Once taken off, the display encountered all
sorts of errors. It was immediately cancelled before release,
and pushed back several months.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

100 Comments

  1. Upcoming : Top ten channels Simon Whistler is doing unbeknowst to you, that you need to binge before you can sleep.
    Guess I'm heading over to Business Blaze…

  2. I like most of your videos. But I find your comments about a dating site for +50’s to be insulting and incorrect. There is another site for this group OurTime which is still functional and fairly decent. Additionally, people older than 50 are not necessarily completely uninterested in using technology. I work in technology and will normally use the web for things even many younger people don’t. Please watch generalized comments about groups of people. Thank you.

  3. WebTV was usable on regular TV's. I had a version of it up here in Canada, that was part of Scientific-Atlanta's first digital set top box.

  4. Beta was better. LaserDisk was a great format, much higher quality. And where is Microsoft Bob in your list of failures?

  5. Why isn't Google Glass on here? Anyone remember when we were losing our heads over people scanning through our information during conversations without us knowing?

  6. Bad research for inferring Apple created the first usable 'high capacity' MP3 player – Creative were there with the DAB a few years before. Putting aside battery usage, the key difference, and what Apple targeted their marketing on, was Creative purposely made their player look like a portable CD player, as that was what people were presently using. Apple went for as small a case as they could, resulting in a far cleaner and more modern look. Interface wise, Apple not only ripped off the menus from Creative but lost in court, resulting in them signing a licensing deal. The follow up Creative HDD players were better than the iPods in many ways, but by then the war was over. For a while Creative made much of it's money licensing it's tech and interfaces to Apple. This obviously ended (or part ended) with the appearance of the tough interface,

  7. While I'm certainly not a fanboy, I get the distinct impression that the piece about betamax was extremely poorly researched (without even looking at the appropriate wiki pages) as not one correct reason for the failure of the system was given. Though it could be argued that the picture quality being worse than VHS was somewhat true for BIII long play mode for the NTSC market only. Also SVHS should be compared to Betamax ED (marketed slightly later, noticeably better than SVHS), as those were direct competitors even though betamax had already lost by that time.

    The biggest problems in my opinion were 1) the short playtime for NTSC cassettes upon introduction of the system, which was solved by a quick and short lived succession of somewhat incompatible long play systems that indeed could give a worse picture than VHS standard play (but not VHS longplay and certainly not VHS extended play). 2) the recorders were more expensive and have always stayed that way due to the more complicated mechanism and were made by less manufacturers (mainly Sony and Sanyo, with Toshiba and maybe NEC making one or two models as well).

    Also, the porn argument, which is usually given for Video 2000 but sometimes also for betamax, is one of the most persistant rumours unfortunately. Maybe everyone keeps repeating it 'because sex clickbates' or something. In reality, porn was available on all formats, and as with 'normal' movies, availability lagged slightly behind the popularity of the format.

  8. I remember when Google had shoved a Google Plus account down the throats of everyone who had a Youtube account and started nagging people to start inputting their personal information into it. It was probably a desperate attempt to inflate their numbers to please their shareholders. Meanwhile it just made everyone hate Google Plus even more.

  9. I had WebTV. It was perfect for what it claimed to be: Web browser and email. Couldn't download anything, so didn't get any virus. And the web was brand new. Cost a hell of a lot less than a PC. I kind of miss those days. Dial up sucked, though.

  10. Your discussion of the failure of Betamax was a work of fiction.

    Betamax did have a better picture and sound but the reason if eventually failed is because their tapes only allowed you to record one hour of material.

    When VCRs became affordable and people started renting movies if you wanted to watch a movie and you had to get up in the middle of it to change the tape.

    If you had a VHS machine you could watch the film without interruption.

    By the time Betamax was able to fix the problem it was too late, VHS ruled the world.

  11. Betamax was not a failure in broadcast scene (only in the home it was eclipsed) and that crap about porn not being allowed has been proved to be false multiple times.

  12. Love all of these channels. Businessblaze IS fun, though. Simon is so chill on that channel that it makes him look even more professional here 🤣.

  13. Laserdisc wasn't a failure, ih was just specialized. It was head to head in Japan, like amigas in Britain or master systems & Volkswagens in brazil

  14. I bet tumblr could easily make this list after they removed all the porn. I don't know of a single person that still uses it!

  15. Great video Simon, thanks. I had a web tv for a while and it was for the exact reason you stated, because a cpu was to expensive for my family as I was growing up. We did not need to buy a special tv, just the web tv device and plugged it up and off we went. It wasn’t to bad except for the slow drone of dial up. It had email and chat along with what you would expect a computer to do back in the mid 90s.
    Thanks again for another great video, keep it up and take care.

  16. Although I liked the latest version of Google+, what really upset me about it was the FORCED commenting on YouTube REQUIRED having a Google+ account. No one could post here without it. I don't use Twitter nor Facebook, and having a Google+ account then was a farce. Eventually it had it's uses as a long-form discussion site to discuss topics. That is what it was great at, discussions on 10000001 topics. Haven't found a replacement for it, sadly. Other "social networks" aren't large enough to keep discussions going beyond a few days.

  17. It wasn’t porn that doomed Betamax. It was the ability to hold more than one hour of video. And you had to rewind two tapes instead of one. Changing tapes mid-movie is like flipping the LaserDisc over halfway through. Intermissions are for theaters and vinyl records.

  18. Ummm Super VHS was a colossal failure ! The biggest problem with Betamax was the length of the tapes. VHS was 180 mins (later on 240 mins) and Betamax was only 100 mins, lots of movies simply didn't fit ! (I'm quoting PAL format SP)

  19. Really disappointed with the large number of mistakes in the technical details in this video ! Not what I'm used to from this channel…

  20. I remember selling Palm Pilots which had so many issues, but was bought and integrated into the first Blackberry iteration.

  21. Zune would have been fine, but support and apps sucked! Which is stupid because the OS and platform was the same as the Window phone which they put tons into. It would have been fairly simple to code it for the Zunehd.

  22. I served on submarines during the 80s. All US subs were equipped with Betamax machines. We always figured it was because no one would be tempted to steal the movies since no one had anything to play them on. I guess maybe it was to keep porn off the submarines. Didn't matter to me, I rarely had time to attend movie call.

  23. I was going to ask where was Google Glass, only to discover it is still around. I'm amazed after all the horrible PR with non-users calling people who did use them "glassholes".

  24. I feel that only about a third of these were "embarrassing product failures," while another third were "okay products that got beaten out by a better product" and the remaining third were "solid products at the time that just didn't stand the test of time (or had a very niche consumer base)."

    And since there's 10 items you can round up in whichever category you feel 😛

  25. Kimi Räikkönen: What about the General Motors EV1?
    Max Verstappen: It was a stupid electric car.
    Kimi: Bwoah.
    GM: It was stupid to cancel the project. It was also stupid to kill Saab and hand over Opel to PSA. For the rest Gm is just fine.
    Kimi: You need sisu to kill a company. Congrats!

  26. A lot of wrong fact in this list. I get it, you cover a lot of stuff for compiling lists but a few more minutes of googling before putting text to video wouldn't hurt.

  27. Google + was REQUIRED for YouTube commenting and creator interactions and when it first launched, you needed an invitation to get in, like some sort of exclusive club.

  28. my dad was trying to get us to invest in WEBTV i spent 5 seconds explaining why it wouldn't work, i showed him how much a desktop cost vs how much that crap would cost plus you would not be able to surf while watching tv

  29. The portable WebTV had a screen and you could actually install Windows 95/98 on it, which after the product failed, made for some really cheap ($50) laptops.

  30. Cleaning out my attic the other day I found Howard the Duck and Willow on beta I'm going to keep them.

  31. I made the mistake of buying a zune🤦. Was pissed that i needed internet to add music that was already on my computer to it.

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