PCWorld published their chosen 25 worst tech products of all time which were reviewed by the magazine in the last 25 years. It makes funny reading and is revealing for IT managers who could reflect on these failure examples. You may wish to read the article to see why they are so bad.
The Complete List of Losers
1. America Online (1989-2006) – Awful software, inaccessible dial-up, rapacious marketing, in-your-face advertising, questionable billing practices.
2. RealNetworks RealPlayer (1999) – Lots of advertisement; tracking user habits without telling them. I still use it to watch rm files, but disable all other functions.
3. Syncronys SoftRAM (1995) – False and misleading claim on adding RAM by software.
4. Microsoft Windows Millennium (2000) – Buggy OS, incompatible with many hardware and software.
5. Sony BMG Music CDs (2005) – Its copy protection software was a spyware in itself.
6. Disney The Lion King CD-ROM (1994) – Its graphic interface was incompatible with many computers, and caused them to crash, when children were playing the game during Christmas.
7. Microsoft Bob (1995) – A Windows desktop interface that no one used.
8. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 (2001) – Very vulnerable to be hacked, dangerous to use. I gave it up and opted for Firefox.
9. Pressplay and Musicnet (2002) – Primitive online music service which no one wanted.
10. dBASE IV (1988) – A buggy product that turned the good reputation of dBase II and III upside down. I was a faithful user of dBase, but changed to FoxPro upon the introduction of dBase IV.
11. Priceline Groceries and Gas (2000) – Priceline is right for air tickets and hotels, but not for groceries and gas.
12. PointCast (1996) – This news distribution service with push technology used up bandwidth and crashed systems.
13. IBM PCjr. (1984) – Small computer but too small to type on and too weak to run large programs.
14. Gateway 2000 10th Anniversary PC (1995) – Poorly configured and poorly performed made it a failed product.
15. Iomega Zip Drive (1998) – Having much problem in destroying all data on it, quickly replaced by CD. Isn’t it a standard issue of many government desktop systems but no one use it.
16. Comet Cursor (1997) – This program which changed your cursor into funny icon was actually a spyware. I once downloaded this program, but quickly deleted it; not interested in the cartoon icons anyway.
17. Apple Macintosh Portable (1989) – This portable was 4-inch-thick and weighted 16-pound.
18. IBM Deskstar 75GXP (2000) – Fast, big, and highly unreliable, this 75GB hard drive was quickly dubbed the “Deathstar” for its habit of suddenly failing and taking all of your data with it.
19. OQO Model 1 (2004) – The 14-ounce OQO Model 1 was the “world’s smallest Windows XP computer” which was hard to read and to type on. It is better to use a PDA.
20. CueCat (2000) – it was a cat-shaped bar-code scanners. Readers scanned the barcodes inside the ads in magazines and newspaper and be directed to advertisers’ websites. Bad idea.
21. Eyetop Wearable DVD Player (2004) – Imagine wearing the screen on your eyeglasses and walked as you watched DVD and got motion sickness.
22. Apple Pippin @World (1996) – An Apple game console which was slow and with little games to play.
23. Free PCs (1999) – Free PC with contract with ISP. The free PC were low end models no one wanted.
24. DigiScents iSmell (2001) – Emitting appropriate scents as you browsed websites suitably encoded. Another bad idea.
25. Sharp RD3D Notebook (2004) – The 3D effect slowed things down, and it was visible only at a narrow angle.
Some of them are familiar products which we actually used. We may not have used AOL which is widespread in USA owing to its enormous advertising campaign. But I have tried Realplayer, IE6, dBase IV, and Iomega Zip Drive. All have their own problems. It is a good lesson that new is not better. We must not blindly follow advertisement but have to exercise judgement, which is something managers are good at.