When you look at the tech world this year, there have been plenty of innovations, but of course where there are successes, there are certainly going to be failures. Coming up with a list of the top 10 tech fails of 2012 was a bit of a challenge however, not because there weren’t enough, but because there are so many. And most of the entries on this list are debatable to some extent.

apple maps

Apple Maps

This is by far the worst flop of the year. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) dumped Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s mapping app this year and replaced it with its own, and what a mistake that was! From the moment iOS6 came out, iPhone users were clamoring for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) to fix its mapping system, which even caused a life-threatening situation in Australia. The maps also caused less-dramatic problems, like simply giving wrong directions or putting landmarks in the wrong place on the map.

Instagram’s Privacy Policy

In the last few weeks Instagram announces a new privacy policy with language that aroused the ire of countless users. The language made it appear as if Instagram would sell its users photos without asking them or compensating them. Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom was quick to say they wouldn’t do that and that the language was misunderstood, but the damage had been done. Instagram’s owner Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) now stands to lose $250 million as Instagram users leave in droves. Almost 25 percent of Instagram’s users have left. Kim Kardashian, Instagram’s most-followed user, hasn’t posted a photo since threatening to dump the app due to privacy policy concerns.

Google’s Nexus Q

This was Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s attempt to offer a pricey music streaming gadget stamped with the Google name. It only works with YouTube and Google Play, plus the gadget’s high price was a flop compared to most of the other competing gadgets on the market. There were so many complaints about the device that Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) halted sales of it before dropping it entirely in October of this year

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s IPO

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s much-anticipated initial public offering was this year, and in just six months, it lost about 50 percent of its value. It has recovered somewhat but still is not worth close to the company’s IPO. Aside from the value of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s IPO, the actual launch of it was even a fiasco. Investors filed a lawsuit against the social media giant on allegations of perceived web tracking. Other suits have also been filed on allegations about certain information being provided to some investors but not to others.

Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN)

The entire daily deal business has seemingly stalled, and Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) has taken a big hit. The company’s stock dropped more than 90 percent in value since its IPO. Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN)’s board of directors even considered ousting founder Andrew Mason as the company’s CEO, citing his inexperience leading a public business. Mason did manage to keep his job, but investors and analysts alike have questioned whether Mason (or anyone else, for that matter) has what it takes to turn the floundering daily deals site around. Groupon Inc (NASDAQ:GRPN) is now looking to step into the e-commerce sector, so we’ll have to wait until next year to see if the company can turn things around.

BlackBerry 10 Delay

Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM)’s BlackBerry 10 was supposed to come out this year, but it didn’t. We’ve followed the expected launch of this handset all year, and now it’s been pushed to next year. It won’t even be unveiled until Jan. 30, and we still don’t know when it will actually become available to buy. Some analysts like Peter Misek at Jefferies & Company have predicted that the BlackBerry 10 will flop when it finally does come out, which could result in Research In Motion Limited (NASDAQ:RIMM) (TSE:RIM) being bought out.


The Stop Online Piracy Act, known affectionately in the tech world as SOPA, was supposed to fight online piracy. Unfortunately the law just made it too easy for lawmakers to shut down almost any site they wanted to. Wikipedia jumped on board with the fight against SOPA by going dark for a whole day. Other sites like Facebook and Google also joined the fight.

Patent wars

Of course you could say every year that the patent wars that go on in the tech world, especially those involving Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), are a failure every year. It’s gotten pretty difficult to create anything without stepping on a patent somewhere.


If you haven’t heard of this mobile app, then it’s probably a good thing. CNN reports that the app raised $41 million in investment capital before even one user had signed up for it. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) even offered to buy it out for $200 million. However many people complained about the photo-sharing app because the app couldn’t find people for them to share their photos with. The app reportedly had around 1 million users but this year has dropped down to around 100,000 users.

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT)’s Windows 8

This failure is actually a rather interesting one because it’s both a hit and a miss. From my own personal use of Windows 8 on both mobile and desktop platforms, it seems pretty clear that it’s an excellent mobile platform, but it doesn’t transfer to the desktop very well. The live tiles are especially brilliant on tablets and the Windows 8 smartphones, but Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) really failed when it did away with the well-known Start button on desktop versions of Windows 8. And I’m not the only one to notice that Windows 8 was a fail on desktop. Geek.com published this video showing a “real” user of previous Windows versions trying to figure out how to use it.