The Top 21 Tech Screwups of 2006

Biggest Mistakes #7-#9

7. YouTube Boobs

The year 2006 may be remembered as the year Internet video started kicking butt and taking names. The list of ordinary citizens undone by YouTube is long, but the highlights include: the Comcast repairman who fell asleep on the wrong person's couch (and woke up to a termination notice); the CNN anchor who left her microphone on during a presidential address and broadcast a rather personal conversation from the loo; the LAPD beating yet another restrained suspect; and, of course, the now ex-senator from Virginia who got bitten by a "macaca."

We have met Big Brother, and He is Us.

Big Mistake: Forgetting how a digital video camera and the Internet can create instant celebrities, willing or otherwise.

Bigger Mistake: Calling your constituent a monkey.

8. PlayStation 3: Late, Expensive, and Incompatible

When it was announced in spring 2005, the Sony PlayStation 3 was going to be the greatest thing to hit home gaming since a hedgehog named Sonic. Then came the delays. By the time the PS3 arrived, it was six months late, and Nintendo's cheaper and more innovative Wii had stolen much of its thunder. At $599 for the 60GB model, the PS3 is twice the price of the original PlayStation 2, yet research firm iSupply--which describes the PS3 as having supercomputer qualities--estimates that Sony still loses more than $200 per unit.

Thanks to manufacturing delays, Sony shipped an estimated 150,000 units for the North American launch, or less than half the number it had originally planned. And the PS3 was incompatible with more than 200 PlayStation and PS2 games, though Sony is addressing that problem through online updates.

The good news? Game-crazed youth are buying up PS3s and reselling them on eBay for double the asking price. And unlike, say, Sony batteries, they don't catch fire--at least, not yet.

Big Mistake: Trying to turn a supercomputer into a gaming device.

Bigger Mistake: Failing to drive a stake through the heart of Nintendo when the opportunity offered.

9. Delusions of Podhood

Last September Apple shipped at least two dozen iPods containing the RavMonE Trojan, a nasty bit of Windows malware. That's bad enough, but the company's less-than-contrite response was even worse. ("As you might imagine, we are upset at Windows for not being more hardy against such viruses, and even more upset with ourselves for not catching it.") Given those glass palaces Apple likes to erect as stores, you'd think they'd be more careful about throwing stones.

Big Mistake: Shipping iPods containing malware.

Bigger Mistake: Using your "apology" to take a swipe at your competitor.

Subscribe to the Today in Tech Newsletter

Comments