Famous Tech Blunders of 2012

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To err is human, and quite a few times, errors, mistakes, and blunders have culminated into great inventions in the history of mankind. Sir Alexander Fleming discarded a cultured Petri dish due to growth of some unintended mold. Later on he found that the mold had killed the bacteria in its vicinity, and this discarded plate founded the invention of Penicillin, the wonder drug. Technology developments have been very rapid during the recent times, and the faster the development, the more it is susceptible to mistakes and blunders. In an effort to come up with new products, most famous tech concerns like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Yahoo, and Nintendo, among others, have made mistakes of wrong projections, miscalculations, mistiming, cost and scheduling mistakes, as well as unintended incorporation of some design faults in hardware.Some people have tried to install malware in order to secure their software and have been victimized by their own dangerous, scant knowledge. The tech industry requires innovative products at a faster rate, and this is a sure recipe to make some unforeseen mistakes. Whereas these mistakes have caused huge losses, they have also brought great improvements. Tech blunders have been practically the opportunities for improvement, and these mistakes are an integral part of tech innovation.

1. Apple Maps

Apple maps
Image comparing the version offered by iOS’s Maps (left) and the offering of maps by Google Maps (right)

When Apple launched iPhone 5, it decided to erase the Google maps and to replace it by Apple’s map. The feature was so substandard that it even misled the users and was badly criticized for its being incomplete and inaccurate. The map humiliation was so grave that Apple had to dismiss its top executives including the dismissal of Apple Senior Vice President Scott Forstall. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, had to issue an apology publicly. He said that he was ‘extremely sorry for the frustration’ users had found with their new mapping service. He added that if dissatisfied, the users could use the rival products.

2. Metro to Windows 8

Windows 8 Start Screen
Windows 8 Start Screen

Microsoft’s user interface design for Windows 8 was initially named Metro, but in view of its susceptibility to litigation, Microsoft changed it first to Modern and then to Windows 8. Since Windows 8 was already the name of the operating system, Microsoft ultimately stated that ‘Metro style apps like those to run on the Start Screen’ would be called Windows 8 apps. To lessen the embarrassment, it was further clarified ‘Windows 8 is our design language. We call it Metro because it’s modern and clean. It’s fast and in motion. It’s about content and typography. And it’s entirely authentic.’

3. Google’s Nexus Q

Google's Nexus Q
Google’s Nexus Q

In the beginning of 2012, Google introduced Nexus Q along with its Nexus 7 tablet. Soon after its launching, it was hurriedly recalled from the shelves. It was designed as an NFC-based home media solution which was supposed to be compatible with the phone, tablet, and the home media center. It was too bulky, heavy, and costly to attract sufficient customers. A technical mistake is not only a design flaw, but it may be anything which ultimately causes the failure of the product, like overpricing in this case.

4. Facebook’s IPO

Facebook's IPO

The popular social media company Facebook, Inc. was founded by its chief executive Mark Zuckerberg. He never wanted to accept any buyout offers since its founding but accepted some investment from technology firms. And when the shareholders exceeded 500, Facebook had to make it public. It made its first public offering, IPO, on May 18, 2012. It was considered the biggest IPO in the history of the Internet, and it closed the day at its highest at $38.3. But on account of Morgan Stanley’s messing up, the stock went down to as low as $17.73. The state of Massachusetts decided to fine Morgan Stanley $5 million for breaking security laws. Although the stock is currently trading at about $26, it never resumed its original position. All the three, major, causative individuals and organizations including: Facebook, Morgan Stanley, and NASDAQ are facing litigation over the issue.

5.  Microsoft Surface RT Pricing

Microsoft Surface
Microsoft Surface

A thorough study of the products in the targeted market is a prerequisite for developing a parallel product. Available shelf space in the market as well as the quality and cost of the product has to be analyzed. Although it is just a usual practice, yet Microsoft did not consider the pricing of the Microsoft RT during its development and before its launching. Competing against the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire with price tags of $199, Microsoft launched its tablet at an exorbitant price of $499. Moreover, the product was not compatible with standard X 86 Windows. Microsoft had to face the consequences of this mistake.

6. Tech Faults at RBS and Natwest

 Tech Faults at RBS and Natwest
Natwest logo

On June 21, 2012, Financial News reported that ‘Tech faults caused freezing of millions of U.K. bank balances at RBS and Natwest.’ For consecutive three days RBS and Natwest could not register inbound payments, and people were unable to pay for their bills, traveling, and many other necessities. Both banks are owned by the RBS Group, and it confirmed that bank accounts displayed wrong balances on account of technical glitches. The RBS Group spokesman stated ‘We are currently experiencing technical issues which mean that a number of customer account balances have not yet been updated, and some of our online services are temporarily unavailable. We are working hard to fix this and hope to have the problem resolved as soon as possible.’

7. Big Recall for Little Danger


Toyota has recalled more than 7 million cars from all over the world including the Corolla, Yaris, Camry, and some other models. Toyota also said that ‘about 40 minutes were required to fix the G.B.’ Steve Settles, the customer services director for Toyota, apologized saying that, ‘What we’re talking about is the power switch on the driver’s door, and there is a very, very outside chance that there could be melting inside the switch. But there are some vehicle agencies around the world that interpret ‘melting’ as ‘fire.’ We’ve no evidence of fire, and our engineer testing of this item doesn’t reveal any chance of fire.”

8. SOPA Repercussions

Obverse of the Great Seal of the United States
Obverse of the Great Seal of the United States

In the beginning of the year 2012, two bills, SOPA, Stop Online Piracy Act, and PIPA, Protect IP Act, were proposed for legislation. They were viewed as unacceptable and the worst kind of censorship that was going to hinder the way of free knowledge. The Internet community was outraged and united against it. Popular sites like: Wikipedia English version, Reddit, Craigslist, Boing Boing, The Oatmeal, and many other sites joined the protest. The protest was so powerful that even Google went dark. The protest was effectively recorded, and a day after the shutdown, a message appeared on the Wikipedia Website saying, “Thank you for protecting Wikipedia. We’re not done yet…Your voice was loud and strong’¦Millions of people have spoken in defense of a free and open Internet.”

9. Live War

A huge explosion in residential area in Gaza
A huge explosion in residential area in Gaza

Spreading misinformation during wars is a times old strategy, and propaganda has been always considered an integral part of war strategies. The Israeli defense force has made a unique use of the social media by live tweeting during the conflict with the Palestinian forces in Gaza. The IDF announced the attack on Gaza from its official account@IDFSpokesperson informing its 100,000 followers that ‘The IDF has begun a widespread campaign on terror sites & operatives in the #Gaza Strip’¦chief among them #Hamas & Islamic Jihad targets.’ The tweet also informed that the IDF had eliminated Hamas Leader Ahmed Jabari. The live tweet war is being considered as a double-edged sword and a mistake that ought to have been avoided to save mankind from facing further unseen miseries.

10. The Underestimated Instagram

The Underestimated Instagram
Instagram screenschot

Instagram was founded by Kevin Systrom, and it started just with sharing sepia-shaded photos with friends. In a very short time its user base expanded to the extent that Facebook bought it for one billion in cash and Facebook shares. With the decline of Facebook shares, the value of Instagram has also declined to $735 million. By September, 2012, Instagram had more than 100 million users. The potential of Instagram was underestimated initially as no planning was done to earn from it. Hastily revised terms of service annoyed the users. This initial mistake is now a great challenge for Instagram which intends to make it a profitable business in 2013.


The prevention of mistakes at the source is to nip the evil in the bud. Having once ignored and allowed a small mistake, it continues to grow progressively and may cause unimaginable losses. All innovative processes need to have some sort of internal auditing system which should allow the innovative process to  move to the next stage, only when the previous one has been found and cleared as mistake free. Leaving the checking of the product quality at the end stage only is just a futile exercise and mostly too expensive an affair to be affordable.


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