The Biggest Technology Flops of the Decade


Backed by Toshiba and friends, HD DVD lost a battle that ran most of the decade to be the format for high-definition video disks. Sony and its movie studio pushed Blu-ray in an echo of the fight over Betamax and VHS tape formats, except that Sony lost that one. HD DVD actually had the early lead over Blu-ray, but movie studios eventually sided with the Sony group. Blu-ray is selling more players this holiday season (some can be bought for $100 or less). But the nasty format fight cost high-def disks crucial time in trying to be the successor to DVD, and Blu-ray faces growing competition from Internet downloads.

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Godmars2903313d ago

How is Vista not ranking higher given the amount of publicity and hype surrounding it?

Darkeyes3313d ago

Vista should be 1 followed by HD DVD at 2.. How is Aibo at 1 lol, I haven't even heard much about it. The list is also missing Zune the so called iPod killer. Then again it's Yahoo, so M$ products should be at the bottom always or else big daddy will spank the writer.

Pandamobile3313d ago

Vista was fine after the first service pack.

Godmars2903313d ago (Edited 3313d ago )

Still, it should rank higher than some AI dog that cost more than an off the self PC that couldn't run Vista the first time it was turned on.

I mean, unless the dogs were easily breaking down or trying to kill people.

Snake Raiser3313d ago

I'm pretty sure it is in no specific order. It's just the top 10 they are not saying 1 is more of a flop than 10.

darkequitus3313d ago

Back to reality and not the average media rhetoric at the time. Vista not that bad. Granted, it was not perfect and granted you need at least a dual core PC.

Godmars2903312d ago (Edited 3312d ago )

Pretty sure they wouldn't have bothered with numbers if they didn't want to suggest an order. Nevermind that said suggested order seems to go from least publicly conscious to most. That, as someone pints out, it doesn't include the Zune which has had at least two product re-launches and has now become a software brand tagged to more successful service.

And how wasn't Vista that bad, in the public eye at least, when businesses not only refused to buy it but were insisting on getting XP in their new PCs. To the point MS had to extend Xp's sell life.

sikbeta3312d ago (Edited 3312d ago )

I don't know too much about Vista, I just remember some pal from Spain gave me a Link to Download a *UE* Version of Vista, he actually said to me that this UE OS didn't eat up so much Computer Power as the Original

When I was running it, Damn it was eating 600MB of my poor RAM so easily, never tried it again lol

SilentNegotiator3312d ago

It still suffers compatibility issues and is on your RAM like a Fat Lady on a love seat.

Not to mention that it STILL lacks many of the features that was on XP.

RockmanII73312d ago

PSP, DS and iPod all say hi.

Godmars2903312d ago

The DS actually sells, the PSP sells half as well and the iPod sells at least four times better than the DS. Never mind that MS was hoping to make the Zune as popular as the iPod.

So "hi" indeed. "Zune, don't you wish you were us?"

baum3312d ago

What is Zune anyway? Is that a paperweight?

IdleLeeSiuLung3312d ago

Personally, I use Vista every day and frankly love it! I probably won't bother to upgrade to Windows 7, since it seems the upgrade is hardly worth the cost. I think Vista had a marketing issue, not a technical one. Now that 3-years have passed and Windows 7 is a re-packaged Vista and computers are faster, suddenly it is good!

HD-DVD was great and the only reason it lost was because Sony opened their pocket books and bought out the movie studios. Fair enough, but hardly a technical flop. HD-DVD was in many ways better than Blu-Ray among them better interactive capabilities, internet access (every player had ethernet standard) and usage control/enforcement.

Blu-Ray was an incomplete format that later got patched and early adopters were kind of screwed.

thereapersson3312d ago

Typical iPod tools.

There's nothing wrong with the Zune. The first generation Zune wasn't anything to write home about, however with the 80 and even more so, the HD, the Zune is now a serious contender in the PMP market place.

I used to think poorly of the Zunes, and then I bought an 80GB. One of the best investments I've ever made.

morganfell3312d ago (Edited 3312d ago )

HD DVD bought just as many studios. Paramount and Dreamworks anyone? They threw the first gauntlet down. Bluray responded. They bomb they dropped at CES that caused HD DVD to cancel their keynote was a real bomb. And if you look at one of the major issues studios had with HD-DVD it was size.

Movie studios were looking at the fact that mid length movies of 135 minutes and HD DVD compression, around 5 GB for a quality soundtrack, space for additional soundtracks for other languages or other sound compressions, and suddenly 30GB of HD DVD is already at a disadvantage.

Sony was willing to come in at a higher price point on the PS3. In the end their trojan horse worked. They were willing to take a risk rather than just fight to be the first to market. They were smarter. They won. At launch they sold more PS3s than standalone HD DVD players and Bluray players combined.

MS stated time and again they would win this generation because they would be first to market. Sony said they would win because they would bring a superior gaming and media experience. From a gamer standpoint it is fairly easy to choose which one of those companies a gamer back.

It's like asking a woman if they prefer the fast draw or a guy that can go the long distance. Quick versus quality.

Godmars2903312d ago

Yeah, there was nothing wrong with the Zune. Aside from the fact that it wasn't as popular as the iPod and didn't sell.

That's how I'm reading the article: its not that those products had actual technical issues, its that they just didn't sell. And as many people are butthurt over Vista, poised as it was to be shoved down people's throats, it just didn't sell.

SaiyanFury3312d ago

The early problem with Vista, is that it required such a large upgrade from XP. A lot of people became complacent with Windows XP and it's relatively minimal use of system resources. It was the dominant OS of a crapload of PCs for over half a decade. Back in the early 90s, Windows 3.x was the dominant OS for a few years. In 1995 or close to it, Windows 95 became the big upgrade. It supported the new Pentium CPUs offered by Intel and ran very well on the original Pentium chips.

Windows 3.x on the other hand, which ran well on 386 and 486 chips, comparably ran quite slow when Windows 95 was installed. Windows 95 pretty much required the new Pentium chips, and hence, most people upgraded their PCs as well as businesses, and Windows 95 was the main base for many people for at least half a decade.

Windows XP has been the main OS for the last 3 quarters of the 2000 decade. Since it has been prevalent for so long, hardware upgrades have largely been ignored by the main public. Now that a new, modern hardware demanding OS has come along, in the forms of Windows Vista and now the new Windows 7, they demand new hardware. Many people resist upgrading their computers to meet the requirements of the new Windows environments. In the 90s, Windows drove upgrades to computers. These days, people are complacent and demand that new OS's cater to those who refuse to upgrade their 8 year old hardware. It ultimately comes to the modern entitlement mentality. They don't want to upgrade their near 10-year old PC in order to run the newest OS.

In the 90s, Windows was a driving force for people to get new computers to run the latest and greatest. In this day and age, people don't want to spend the money for new hardware, they want to keep their old, obsolete stuff and want it to work with the new. Unfortunately, technology doesn't work that way. Modern Windows 7 PCs typically have at least a dual core CPU and a minimum of 2 GB of RAM. Windows XP lovers often cling to their 1GB of RAM in hopes that the newest thing will run just as well. Sorry, technology moves forward, even if you choose not to. Also, I had Vista pre-service pack 1. It sucked. I now run Windows 7 64-bit on my modern PC with a quad core processor and I have ZERO complaints. It's fast, modern, and I love it. Take the plunge you old adopters, it will do you some good to see what the modern OS offers.

andron3312d ago (Edited 3312d ago )

I actually thank MS for Vista, it finally made me go Linux exclusive and leave winos behind. Never looked back.

And Zune is a perfectly fine mp3 player, and UMD is still alive, so they don't belong on this list even if they weren't great successes...

edgeofblade3312d ago

If they think Vista was a bigger flop than Windows ME, they must not have used ME. It was a nightmare.

baum3312d ago

"Typical iPod tools. "

I don't even own an iPod

mal_tez923312d ago

It ran fine, had no bugs, and was great to use.

I never had any troubles with it and never nderstood why people hated it.

IdleLeeSiuLung3312d ago

I loved Vista as well. It's just the winers that finally got what they wanted, a new version number and slightly repackaged Vista. Who is the sucker now?

trancefreak3312d ago

I had major issues with my 8800gtx when vista first was released. I actually thought my card was bad. Evga told me just to run xp for gaming until the proper patches were in place.

I had other issues with my m-audio card but that wasnt vistas fault. M-Audio did not support vista for some time.

I think vista 64 sp2 was the best os for me until i got win 7 so I dont think vista was a flop IMO.

I really didnt care who won the hd video battle if sony lost they still could of used the format for their games but im sure sony would of suffered finacially if they lost.

Wasn't hdvd cheaper and had more options @ the time of its demise. I wouldn't call it a flop but it did loose do due to studio backing and support if I recall.

I remember so many forums were people were duking it out on how who would win and how each format was better in great detail lol.

IdleLeeSiuLung3311d ago

You are right, HD-DVD had more features and was more consumer friendly. It was also a complete spec, while Blu-Ray was rushed with later "updates" to it's spec. Early adopters basically got screwed.

The only real benefit of blu-ray was the additional space while HD-DVD was cheaper to sell and manufacture. It would probably have excelled HD adoption if HD-DVD won. Instead we had to wait almost another year for Blu-ray to come down in prices equal to HD-DVD.

I do like the blu-ray disc coating that makes it virtually in-scratchable, and I'm not sure if HD-DVD has that. Never tried to scratch my hd-dvd's though....

+ Show (20) more repliesLast reply 3311d ago
mrv3213313d ago

9- Ultra mobile PC's

Hmm... ok now I looked at the picture and read the text

'Imagine a computer as small as a paperback(Height: (110 mm)
Width:(61.8 mm) Depth:(8.5 mm)) Weight:(115 grams) )but trying to run Windows and other software(apps basically) that's designed for today's huge monitors(ok, high quality apps). Sound like a nightmare? It was to the few manufacturers who bothered to try. The computers were too small to be practical(we'll see) and too large for a pocket(not today). Their nascent market was smothered by bigger, more practical, and cheaper netbooks(let's see about that). Even today's smartphones(iphone), with their limited Web browsing(hardly limited), do a better job than do the UMPCs. Only a few targeted applications in the business world are keeping the little computers on life support.'

You see... the ultra mobile PC may be duying but it's idea has evolved.

What was once concerieved as mobile computers have evolved into i-phones... they do the same job so I'd very much disagree with this one.

Snake Raiser3312d ago

sorry i gotta call BS on that one. How could a top 10 list possibly rip off a top 50 list?

Elven63312d ago (Edited 3312d ago )

How the heck can HD DVD be on this list but not UMD or even that DivX DVD thing Paramount came out with in 04? That thing was terrible, slow load times, decent quality at best, lack of extras, etc. I also can't believe that Sony made standalone UMD players!

Even worse, HD VMD, ever hear of the third contender in the recent format war?...Exactly!

NotSoSilentBob3312d ago

HDVMD Has not gone to Mass Market for the most part. It has only been talked about once HDDVD was canned.

Strikepackage Bravo3312d ago

it really sucks that HDDVD was the one that lost, I was looking at some of my bluray movies the other day, and frankly my HDDVD collection looks so much better. Bluray has that damn noise on the flesh tones, and dark areas in many of the scenes, LOL its like the picture is made of billions of tiny little fireflys. HD DVD didn't have that, and neither does that new XBL zune streaming, bluray is already obsolete.

SiteNblog Defender3312d ago

UMD should have been there. Nobody cared about it after a year. Maybe two years after.

morganfell3312d ago (Edited 3312d ago )

Well at least UMDs are still around. When was the last time you bought a HD DVD movie?

Microsoft lost the format war for all of the HD DVD backers. All of them.

By choosing not to include it internally in the 360, MS rushed the 360 out the door and for what? It has earned a temporary second place in the console war.

Everyone with any forecasting ability knows MS will finish dead last this gen because the PS3 will catch them. So for that temporary 2nd place they gave Sony one in the win column.

That erred move by MS should go down as the biggest blunder in the past 5 years. It would have changed everything.

Blitzed3312d ago

LOL its amazing that you can still find guys like you whining about HDDVD, get over it. It's also amazing that people can have such a deep rooted fanboyism that it allows them to think it looks 'so much better' than Blu-ray. I took a glance at your comment history and saw that you believe MW2 has better graphics than KZ2 so that explains a lot. To be that much of a fanboy and suffer from that level of blind obsession is truely psychotic.

PirateThom3312d ago

Noise on flesh tones?

Do you mean "film grain"?

Yeah, that's the sign of a well converted movie that hasn't been molested by DNR or upscaled from an SD source.

Strikepackage Bravo3312d ago

yeah, film grain, I hate it. I prefer a flawless picture, and it is NOT a sign of a good transfer, not unless the movie was produced with the grain on purpose, which I admit many are. Bluray also has trouble with complex lighting in scenes, and fast motion, through all of those scenarios HD DVD remained flawless. It sucks that consumers have to settle for less, at a higher price (typical Sony) all because Toshiba couldn't market their way out of a paper bag, and Sony was willing to stoop to any level and stop at nothing to win that format war.

The media helped too by perpetuating the myth that both formats had identical image quality.

And save all the "they look the same" crap, I own both HDDVD and Booray and I own a couple of the same movies on both formats, so I know WTF im talking about. On average HDDVD looks better, they only look the same with animated movies.

baum3312d ago

Your avatar. That is, unless you're trying to be ironic, but you're not.

Snake Raiser3312d ago

UMD may have flopped, but it didn't flop that hard. Notice the Gamecube is not here either, and that console is normally insulting to be compared to. Remember when people were comparing PS3's sales to the Gamecube? So something has to flop really hard to get on this list.

PirateThom3312d ago (Edited 3312d ago )

I'm sorry, but your view of HD is kind of flawed.

Film grain only exists because the movie hasn't had any work done to reduce it, the more you reduce film grain, the more you lose detail in the movie and, funny enough, the less is actually visible.

This isn't a limitation of the format, it's a sensible choice to preserve detail. If a film has no grain, you can bet it's lost some detail. The only reason they started doing it was because people like yourself who want "a flawless picture", but you don't realise just how much detail you lose when you start applying it. Why even bother with HD DVD or Blu-ray or HD downloads if you want them to butcher it and reduce the detail you should be getting with an HD movie?

YogiBear3312d ago

You hate film grain? That's too bad because all films have it. Try closing your eyes while watching your blu-rays and you won't have to worry about it.

edgeofblade3312d ago

...right. Film grain, good. Clear picture, bad.

This is why I hate AV nerds. I like HD as much as anyone, but when you are skewing the features that make an image pop, like dejudder, you know you have been listening to some principled asshole who thinks his ideals of a "preserved" image trump what actually looks good.

I went through the same thing as Bravo. I got my Battlestar Galactica Blu-ray set, and the first thing I saw was a disclaimer that the film grain was an "artistic" inclusion.

F**k that. I want a clean, crisp image without all this artistic bullshit. Whatever happened to the battle cry of "all digital"? Now we are converting analog film to HD disks? I think we should demand better than "authenticity".

PirateThom3312d ago

Grain isn't good, but it's better than lost detail, wouldn't you agree?

+ Show (11) more repliesLast reply 3312d ago
nogolis3312d ago

No xbox 360 on that list? Strange... I mean, lets face it, it might not have flopped in sales but consumers, by and large, are idiotic parents who need babysitters for their kids. Either that or an easy insurance out when their house mysteriously catches fire.

That's a flop in my book.

DevastationEve3312d ago

...undisputed king of gaming consoles then yes.

Seriously, could you REALLY not give Xbox 360 credit it deserves for being everything Sony wishes its PS3 was? Without Xbox Live pushing innovation I don't think you'd have as many friends as you do now on PSN.

Xbox 360 being a flop is like saying that air is invisible. You just can't S E E.

DJ3312d ago

360 is doing alright, but its popularity is waning. How it sells fewer games than the PS3, despite having a slightly larger install base, is confusing. It'll be around for years to come, but it's not the success that Microsoft has presented it as.

The PS3 should be in a distant third, and the 360 should be number 1 (not number 2).

baum3312d ago (Edited 3312d ago )

PS3 is the undisputed entertainment center, for games and everything else. It has:

-99% of 360 games
-A lot more exclusive content than 360
-Has access to a lot more media and reproduces a lot more formats
-It browses the web
-It doesn't require a media center PC
-It doesn't require periodic fees to be fully enjoyed
-A lot more features out of the box
-More forward thinking (3D games, HDMI 1.3, Blu-ray, HDD in every box, higher reliability, customizable HDD, you name it)

ApocalyPS3 = FAIL

Hey, why not change your name to "ILOVEMY360" and save everyone a little time

Apocalypse Shadow3312d ago (Edited 3312d ago )

**drum roll please***


UMD was used for nothing else but's like saying nintendo failed to mass market the GBA cartridges for other forms of media..very dumb comment.question:



that makes you look even more dumb.

and before that he says that ps3 is trying to be like 360.
but microsoft was the one to upgrade to 1080p,hdmi,larger hard drives,copied sony's ideas for media content as sony ***OWNs*** movies,music and games that they wanted to go digital since ps2.and microsoft owns ***NONE***.which is why the first *ps2* had a hard drive bay for that.the HDD just didn't sell enough with ffxi.

and HD-DVD failed because 360 gamers didn't buy into microsoft's sh!t that it was better than bluray.

i'm ashamed that you even share the name apocalypse.........just...just dumb.360 fans,you need someone smarter than this to represent you.....

edgeofblade3312d ago (Edited 3312d ago )

If you think the 360 flopped, then you need to put the PS3 right next to it. I honestly think neither deserves to be on this list, but don't let that stop you from earning that paycheck from Sony's marketing division.

@Apocalypse Shadow: The bias is unbearable. PS3 copied Xbox Live Achievements... and they even did it poorly. Plus, they had a whole year to implement their trophies to launch with the system, and 5they failed to. Meanwhile, Achievements still ranks as one of the top reasons to choose a multiplatform game for 360 over PS3.

"and HD-DVD failed because 360 gamers didn't buy into microsoft's sh!t that it was better than bluray. "

^ that is one of the biggest misconceptions about the format war... and the biggest sign you are just a Sony mouthpiece. And worse, a misinformed one. Blu-ray was Sony's technology. HDDVD did not belong to Microsoft in the same way. They were positioned COMPLETELY differently. Sony leveraged their position effectively, winning the format war with PS3. Meanwhile, Microsoft was not in a position to leverage HDDVD in the same way. If this was a Toshiba technology, for example, they would have both backed Blu-ray and been better off for it. But that's not the case, so it isn't an apples to apples comparison like you seem to think it is.

I'm sure you didn't think about it that much. Nor should I expect you to...

Oner3311d ago (Edited 3311d ago )

"edgeofblade ~ PS3 copied Xbox Live Achievements..."

Wrong. Look into a game from the PS2 called Spyro ~ Sony and Insomniac invented Skill Points all the way back in 1998:

So in reality Microsoft copied Sony's Skill Points and renamed them 'Acheivements'...IF you want "talk & act" like you are properly informed.

"edgeofblade ~ and they even did it poorly and 5they failed to. Meanwhile, Achievements still ranks as one of the top reasons to choose a multiplatform game for 360 over PS3."

Sounds like a personal opinion to me which is definitely not fact. People don't base their final deciding factor for purchasing a game off of achievements/trophies, if it came down to that then they are simply misinformed (especially when all PS3 games have had trophies for quite some time now). Either way, the trophy structure in my opinion shows the greater difficulty in leveling up and a better reward for the gamer when completed. But that is just an opinion. Not a fact of why people "choose a multiplatform game for 360 over PS3"

"edgeofblade ~ "and HD-DVD failed because 360 gamers didn't buy into microsoft's sh!t that it was better than bluray."

^ that is one of the biggest misconceptions about the format war... and the biggest sign you are just a Sony mouthpiece. And worse, a misinformed one. Blu-ray was Sony's technology. HDDVD did not belong to Microsoft in the same way. They were positioned COMPLETELY differently."

I would say you are partially wrong here because if you want to talk misinformation then look no further than your own words right there because Blu-ray is not "Sony's Technology" BD is made up of 20 DIFFERENT companies combined to create the BDA (Blu-ray Disc Association)and the Blu-ray disc technology

Wiki ~

Apple, Inc.
Dell, Inc.
Hewlett-Packard Company
Hitachi, Ltd.
Intel Corporation
LG Electronics Inc.
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation
Panasonic Corporation
Philips Consumer Electronics
Pioneer Corporation
Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Sharp Corporation
Sony Corporation
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
TDK Corporation
Thomson S.A.
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
The Walt Disney Studios
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

"edgeofblade ~ Microsoft was not in a position to leverage HDDVD in the same way"

Wrong again. MS didn't want EITHER technology to win because

a) they only wanted to screw Sony ~

b) it would force skipping physical media & people into Digital Downloads and

c) they were not the makers of it (BD or HDDVD). The latter meant they would hold no leverage and not be able to receive all/most of the profits.

Additionally the BDA wanted

"Blu-ray to use a Java-based platform for interactivity (BD-J based on Sun Microsystem's Java TV standards), while HD DVD companies wanted to use Microsoft's "iHD" (which became HDi)."

Wiki ~

Which MS wouldn't support because Sun is a competing company which MS has ALWAYS had issue with.

Lastly I have also read (but cannot find the link right now so I will throw this up as hearsay but interesting nonetheless) that HDDVD had the support/backing and some sort of technology based on/in/using/partially Linux of which MS would NEVER fully support since it is a direct competitor of their OS.

Your opinion may differ from mine and others but at least ours is based in fact. That is the difference.

+ Show (4) more repliesLast reply 3311d ago