back to article Ten… top tech cock-ups of 2012

The past year provided us with some wonderful tales of innovation and expertise, but we all like to see a car crash as much as success story, right? So here's a roundup of the most colossal cock-ups of the last 12 months, including face-plants by Google, Facebook, Apple, and others who succumbed to that most universal of human …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Always nice to get some balanced comments regarding Apple. Google could sleep with your wife, Samsung could run over your dog and you would still swear you loved the Galaxy S3 more than your kids ;)

    Happy Christmas / New Year everyone!

    1. SuccessCase

      He, he. At least the author did some work in producing a top ten list. If it was Ms Leach the article would have been titled "The Top One Tech Cock-Up of 2012"

    2. J. R. Hartley

      The facts are these:

      1) Apple screws over their customers.

      2) People are starting to wake up to point 1.

      3) Apple are not cool anymore - no innovation and petty litigstion hasn't gone unnoticed.

      It's game over for Apple..

      1. Bob Vistakin

        And then, just as the great man had proudly walked by to the fawning cries of "ooh' and "aah" from the sycophantic crowd, a small boys' voice was heard by everyone: "but the emperor has no clothes on!"

        Read this and think how much iPads ect really fleece the iSheep: Are display devices becoming like light bulbs?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yeah Apple really screw their customers over by giving them really nice devices - almost certainly the best if you factor in the build quality, iOS, service and support. Samsung may ship devices with similar functionality and even a few tweaks of their own but as a complete system and as for support they are sadly lacking. Maps cockup - yes not perfect but at least we iOS users have both Apple and Google maps and I welcome the competition which will improve both - unless you reckon less competition is good?

        1. DJ Smiley

          How many browser frameworks you got?

          How many Porn Apps?

          How many changable batteries?

          Come back when you realize what choice actually is. Its the ability to choose freely, not be given the option of "death by drowning or death by lack of oxygen due to water inhalation".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            How much malware you got?

            Updates for how long after a new model is released?


            Is selling your personal information / soul to Google so much better?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I have an iPhone 3GS that is probably getting on for 4 years old and on the original battery and 'shock' still working fine. If I wanted the battery changing I could get it changes - not as simple as clicking one off but for something that I may need doing every 4-5 years I can live with that if it makes the phone smaller, lighter or they could fit a larger battery in the first place.

            Same issue with CD / DVD drives in laptops - well netbooks and ultra-notebooks are typically to small and given the choice of a longer battery life (that I can use every day) as opposed to a DVD drive (that I may use a few times a year) seems a sensible move. After all I can just carry a USB DVD drive or but a different laptop if it's that important to me.

        2. Avatar of They
          Thumb Down

          Ooooh metro or apple... so close.

          Lol. Samsung with less functionality? Support sadly lacking? I read on the Reg Samsung throw more money at research than Apple and have for a while, iphone 4 to 5 has little changes and they try and advertise the bigger screen as if it was their idea, to fit a screen that allows your thumb to move across it, the world and dog having already done it doesn't equate to them. If support and service meant their manufacturing workers got better pay and conditions I would care more, but accroding to lots of reports it doesn't, so the money must be for fat patent lawyers and the execs.

          Where in Apple do you work? The 'cult like' happy-clapping staff of a shop or the more creepy head office?

          I do like the idea of having both on the apple, Google doesn't need another mapping app for android as it works fine. Apple does it seems. Not really a competition though if home grown is rubbish so lets bring in the compeition (and then see massive uptake for it)

          Anyway, for me the two big stories were Apple or Metro, I was going to go with Metro as it is a massive functional overhaul for every user and a huge PR gaff for the worlds biggest OS. But then Apple deserves a good kicking for constantly taking the urine with Patent lawyers this year which is backfiring on the goodwill towards them. And because there are still too many fanbois willing to pay massive amounts of money for a small apple symbol on the back of a chinese made phone with appalling employee H&S records.

          Not anon because I don't work at Apple (or samsung or google etc)

          1. Ted Treen

            Re: Ooooh metro or apple... so close.

            "...a small apple symbol on the back of a chinese made phone with appalling employee H&S records..."

            As opposed to the small 'Samsung' symbol on the back of a chinese made phone with appalling employee H&S records.

        3. Ian Johnston Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          How to open a private browsing tab

          1. iOS (on a two week old iPad Mini). Press the home button. Choose "Settings". Scroll down to "Safari". Slide "private browsing" switch to "on". Press the hom ebutton. Select Safari. Browse. To return to normal browsing, do the whole rigmarole again.

          2. Android (on a one year old Galaxy Tab 10.1). Long press "New tab" button. Select "New private browsing tab". Browse. To return to normal browsing, close private tab.

          iOS is a very reliable but extremely clunky and very outdated interface. Apple kept the original Mac interface going for a decade after it was totally outclassed. Are they going to make the same mistake again?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: How to open a private browsing tab

            You forgot the part where Google still gets to sell all your data, you dont get 'private browsing' on Android, you get 'Only Google gets to spy on me and sell me like a street whore browsing'.

        4. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

          @AC You only have two maps to choose from O_O!!!!????

          And yes I agree with you AC apple should let other software companies use their own browsers engines instead of having to use the inbuilt one, "unless you reckon less competition is good?"

      3. GitMeMyShootinIrons


        You could equally substitute Google here (blatant info peddlers that are as bad as FB for reducing their customers to being the product), except the Emperor's new clothes still look fine to the Droid drones, even if they are surprisingly similar to Apple's cut.

        Once upon a time, I'd have said MS could fit in too, but they fall down on the last point - were they ever actually cool?

        1. Bob Vistakin

          Re: Meh.


          Apple's very first act - before it had any products - was to copy. It took its name from the Beatles record label, then spent the rest of its existence basically polishing existing tech into a form just enough to fool those who prefer style over substance. This thou-shalt-not-copy hypocrisy was baked into its DNA from the start, and its legal antics are just the obvious extension of this - a smokescreen thrown up to try to disguise this fact. Now they are rumbled, and there is literally NOTHING they can put in any future products that a competitor hasn't done already, that little boy's voice is becoming the roar of the crowd.

          Apples' peak coincided with Steve jobs death, but were he around today he'd not have been able to stop the rot.

      4. Grave


        microsoft should have never bailed them out

        it world would be a much better place without mediocre crapple

        1. Bob Vistakin

          Re: bailed

          "microsoft should have never bailed them out"

          Samsung don't think so - it's the best thing that could have happened to them. Look at their runaway Android market share, and consider what it would have been had Nokia done the smart thing and gone with Android. Now, it would have been almost certainly a 50/50 split between the two. The official reason they didn't? There was "no way" to differentiate handset models if you run with Android, unlike the infinitely customisable WP8, which looks so different across all its various handset models, why, you can hardly tell its WP8 at all.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What's 'litigstion' ;)

        Just because you don't like Apple - does that mean other people are not allowed to like the stuff they make? What do you do crash into cars on purpose or verbally abuse the drivers because they are not the same make as yours?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          That is the most rational post I've seen compared to fan "bois" etc...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Always nice to get some balanced comments regarding Apple. Google could sleep with your wife, Samsung could run over your dog and you would still swear you loved the Galaxy S3 more than your kids ;)"

      Well yeah, but Apple raped me as a child and now they're after my children. I never really liked my wife's dog anyway.

  2. jake Silver badge

    One wonders ...

    ... how much longer it'll take for hoi polloi (including manglement!) to actually pay attention to the techies in the trenches, and how much more money will be wasted in the process.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: One wonders ...

      Dont hold your breathe, that NEVER happens

      Once manglement has the idea, it must be followed to its logical conclusion no matter what...lost $2 billion, 80hr weeks, chapter 11, zombie apocalypse, heat death of the universe... the manglement are always right otherwise they'd just be a bunch of tossers in suits.

      And they are always looking for someone to blame.....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One wonders ...

      Who on earth really uses names like "manglement" - it's as bad as $amcrap and CrApple?

  3. Turtle

    The *Other* Side

    "You could argue – and you'd be right – that there was a lot of useful stuff in SOPA/PIPA/ACTA. We are going to need to take a good look at how rights and property are managed in an online world. But it's clear that one-sided regulation isn't the way to do it."

    Right. It is important that the other side is also represented; you know, the side that profits from piracy and theft, that feels that the value of any human endeavor is judged solely by the value of the advertising that can be run against it, and is against all forms of digital rights and property and against any form of enforcement of those rights, and whose platform consists of expropriation of the many by those few who form the tech oligarchy.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: The *Other* Side

      Or the side that just wants to be able to buy a movie, watch it on their TV, smartphone, tablet and computer when they want without having to leap through hoops and get labelled a pirate over and over again - despite having actually paid for the content.

      Heck, even just buying a Blu-ray and playing it on your Blu-ray player is fraught with obstacles - region coding, and even key revocation that makes it suddenly impossible for you to buy any new movies!

      Power has swung to give complete and total control to the MPAA et al - they can take away your ability to watch something you have already paid for, just because they feel like it.

      That's the "other side" here - your rights as a consumer to actually watch/listen/play the thing you bought and paid for.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The *Other* Side

        @Richard 12 - 09:37

        "despite having actually paid for the content."

        Sorry to break it to you Dicky, but you never, ever pay for the content you rent it, OK. You got that now?

        You may like to think you paid for it but you never have, never did and you never will all the time the scumbag media corps have their way. So stop pandering to the them, stop paying to rent their overpriced, over-hyped shit output starring short-arse, testorone-filled cretins saving bimbo heroines by essentially copying every nursery rhyme storyline ever written.

        Make your own media, plenty of software and tools out there and it's lot more fun to write your own music. I don't watch movies and I make my own art to hang on my walls with my camera and copy of GIMP. The only media I pay for is music and then I buy direct from the artists via their websites so I know they're getting the money in their pockets to make the music I like to hear.

    2. Steen Hive

      Re: The *Other* Side

      Why should people who understand that copyright isn't a property right, but a state-mandated monopoly on distribution of copies be excluded? Driving coach and horses through fundamental principles of natural law in camera to suit "interests" and their associated trolls perhaps isn't optimal.

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: The *Other* Side

      > Right. It is important that the other side is also represented

      Andrew sure is posting from holidays.

    4. Captain DaFt

      Re: The *Other* Side

      SOPA, PIPA, etc., were(are) pushed by the big boys.

      The other side also consists of writers, artists, musicians, and playwrights that'd love not having to sell their souls and lively hoods to the major corps for a pittance.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "leaving more and more investors wondering just how they'd managed to come up with a $100bn valuation for the social network"

    Really? I think we can all take a guess.

    Also I was expecting the Dotcom bubble burst (no, the other Dotcom ;) ) to be the big news. White collar crime the police could have stopped while he was at their station drinking coffee, they instead use a terrorist crack force to arrest.

  5. ChrisM

    The issue is with the reputation of the company involved.... Apples is much bigger precisely BECAUSE no one expected it... Everyone knew that Facebook and Autonomy were overpriced, that RIM were a rudderless ship and that Googles advertising couldn't sustain the crazy growth that analysts seem to be panting after...

  6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Why live in the Past whenever the Future is whatever IT decides to show y'all is not impossible.

    If life existed on Mars, it could conceivably have spread to our own planet. On the other hand, if Mars life is very different to life on Earth, this suggests a huge variety of possibilities for life to bloom throughout the universe.

    And whenever life as existed/exists on Mars has spread to this repressive and GOD obsessive planet and is very different to life on Earth, are there countless surreal possibilities and innumerable zeroday vulnerabilities to exploit for novel life phorms to bloom and seed new intellectual property feeds which server future imaginative needs.

    And that might not be so much an alien program but rather more likely AI@ITsWork for Media and IT Presentation of SMARTR Virtual Reality Programs and Pogroms which leave the Past and its Corrupted Hereditary Legacy Systems of Primitive Perception Control as Historical Memory Reminders of Failed Sub-Prime Lead Intelligence …… which are as Oxymoronic Power Stations in the Greater Scheme of Things.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why live in the Past whenever the Future is whatever IT decides to show y'all is not impossible.

      because printing a map with gun owners addresses is a front to civil war.

      even if you won't admit it.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why live in the Past whenever the Future is whatever IT decides to show y'all is not impossible.

      Yes but we know that in last days of the 19th century, life did travel to earth from Mars , despite the chances of it being a million to 1, but we know how that ended for them.....

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd have put Windows 8 in there twice

    It just deserves it.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Does YouView count as tech??

    Then it may be No.1 in next years list.


    Apparently they DONT own the rights to the name, and the people who do are kicking up a stink and may have applied for a restraining order.

    1. Shades

      Re: Does YouView count as tech??

      I'm pretty sure I wouldn't confuse "YouView" and "YourView" given that one is a telly box that connects to the internet (for catch-up services) and the other is a portal allowing businesses to monitor telephone and internet usage. Only a complete moron would confuse the two, and thats assuming they've even heard of one and the other.

      Then again, after shoulder surfing my nephews Facebook news feeds there's an awful lot of complete f*cking morons, who seem to revel in their idiocity, about to be unleashed upon the world.

  9. The BigYin

    Petraeus now makes sense

    He gave out his CIA login? He didn't just use a public system like etc?

    Surely giving out such sensitive details is not just worthy or firing, but of jail time, dishonourable discharge, and goodness knows what else? He gave unfettered access to his CIA email, and not happens, yet Manning rots in a military prison.

    Seems in the USA (like in the UK) justice is no longer blind and actively favours the rich.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Petraeus now makes sense

      Surely work-related email would be more sanitised than that, like not available outside the CIA buildings and/or logins tracked (with the possibility of rejection if logged into by an unknown device - hell *Facebook* can do that much!).

      Or is the reality that your average spook has POP3 with a cleartext passwords...god help 'em if a spook loses their smartphone down the back of somebody's sofa!

    2. wilber

      Re: Petraeus now makes sense

      I believe that you are jumping to conclusions, here.

      If I remember correctly, it was his private gmail account that was used for the shenanigans; Not his CIA email account.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Petraeus now makes sense

        The notion of "private" with respect to a Gmail account is laughable in itself..

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Petraeus now makes sense

          They just ain't read the Cryptome ISP series yet. lol

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Surely MS dropped Metro for Win8 after German megaretailer Metro AG threatened to sue the lederhosen off them? The Paris transport authority hasn't trademarked "Metro" and in any event, it's spelled "Métro"

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: "Metro"

      > German megaretailer Metro AG

      I have never heard of them. They the guys running "Saturn" at el.?

    2. Adam 1

      Re: "Metro"

      The problem as I see it isn't that they dropped the name metro, but that there wasn't a believable replacement. Ms has dropped codenames before release heaps of times, but in this case the replacement name really was inadequate to describe pretty much any standard windows application that opted for the TIFKAM look and feel but a more traditional installer. You know, like those crazies who think they should still sell to folk running win 7 or earlier.

      1. Tom 35

        dropped codenames before release heaps of times

        Except for Win Phone 7... even if only two people bought one.

        But yes the biggest fail is not being able to come up with a non-crap name to replace it.

      2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: "Metro"

        Paris' famous Metro railway system

        Which would be on shaky ground claiming a prior right. The Paris Metro in turn copied its name (originally Métropolitain) from the Metropolitan Railway in London.

    3. IvyKing

      MS and researching trademarks

      Anyone remember the brouhaha over MS using "Internet Explorer" for its browser without checking to see if "Internet Explorer" was already trademarked?

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Mozart was a Wunderkind, not a Wuenderkind

    And "wünderkind" does not take a trema, it's just "Wunderkind" (i.e. "prodigy")

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      And then...

      "it's holdings held their value"

      No no no no no ... NO!


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