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5 Biggest Tech Product Failures of the Last Century

For tech companies, it is painful to see days, weeks, months, and even years of deliberate and intense work end in vain.

Sometimes all those efforts do not simply amount to what the users want, nor do the producers promise much more than they can offer with the products.

Here are five recent tech products that failed to live up to their expectations

Apple Maps

In September 2012, Apple decided to stop patronizing Google Maps solely for its users' map needs when they rolled out the IOS 6 update with the Apple Maps app.

The app was a total contrast to what a map should be. Warbled images of roads, farms identified as airports, and images of bridges collapsed into seas. Whoever was not informed would think the end had come, but yes it had come, only for the app itself anyway. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook in a statement later advised users to use alternative applications while they worked on improving theirs.


Quibi was launched in the thick of the 2020 pandemic with the aim of transforming the way young people consume video contents on the go providing shows of 5-10 minutes episodes formatted to fit smartphones and was indeed gaining traction from big names in the Hollywood industry but ironically not from its expected users.

Six months after its debut, the company was already firing talents, the beginning of what was eventually going to be their product’s end. Its founders Katzenberg and Whitman later admitted that their pursuit was misguided. It however remains unclear why the app did not gain as much traction as the founders desired.

Flammable Hoverboards:

In 2015, hoverboards became a very cool and trendy means of transportation on sidewalks for young people. These balancing scooters were the focal point of viral hit music videos and were also a major gift item in the summer of that year. Ironically, what shot it to even greater global fame was what led to the fall of its stocks.

A lot of hoverboards were catching on fire because of problems with their lithium-ion batteries. This led to the loss of properties and even lives of some of its users. In July 2016, more than 500,000 hoverboards were being recalled by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

In August 2016, Samsung announced the launch of its Galaxy Note 7, a successor to its Note 5 smartphone. The story of this launch today is written like a sequel of that of the Flammable Hoverboards. On the first week of its launch, there were 92 reported cases of overheating and 26 cases of burns.

Once again, the explosions were blamed on problems with their lithium-ion batteries and over 2 million units of the device were recalled before its production was discontinued. A lot of people, however, blamed Samsung for not carrying out proper testing on the devices before its launch as it was obvious that they were only concerned about beating their competitors' September 2016 launch date of the iPhone 7.


Much has been documented about Elizabeth Holmes and her now-defunct biotech organization, Theranos which she founded in 2003 at the age of 19.

Elizabeth claimed to have devised a way to carry out blood testing using machines for consumers that spared the pain of traditional venal blood draws and would test for a battery of potential ailments using just a few drops of blood. Her startup rode on the back of lofty promises and in 2014, the company was already valued at $10 billion.

But the company was only clad in a smokescreen of what could be the messiah of America’s healthcare system. Things went south for the company and its owner when in 2015 investigative reporter John Carreyrou of The Wall Street Journal questioned the validity of Theranos' technology, exposing over a decade of falsehood on which the company was founded.

By the summer of 2016, Holmes’ net worth had plunged from $4.5 billion to almost nothing. The company ceased operations in 2018 but Elizabeth Holmes is still facing trials today.

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