The Biggest Tech Flops Of 2011

Some companies are happy to see 2011 fade away, due to the biting, public embarrassments they suffered this year. From failed mergers to ill-advised product releases, many businesses are badly in need of a fresh start.

Engadget rounds up the biggest tech failures of the year for your gawking pleasure. Here are three that made the list:

* Netflix Qwikster. The well-chronicled debacle, in which Netflix hiked prices and briefly decided to separate its disc-rental arm into a different company before reconsidering, resulted in diving stock prices and a massive pay cut for its CEO.

* Nintendo 3DS Circle Pad Pro. Admitting it made a mistake by failing to include a second circle pad in its new handheld, Nintendo rushed out a bulky, ugly fix that resembles in spirit Sweet Dee’s back brace in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

* Cisco Flip Cam. The ubiquity of smartphones helped Cisco shove its once-popular Flip camera into an early grave. Then the company laid off 6,500 workers.

Tech’s biggest misfires of 2011 [Engadget]

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  1. Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

    * Cisco Flip Cam. The ubiquity of smartphones helped Cisco shove its once-popular Flip camera into an early grave. Then the company took an arrow in the knee.

    Sorry, too much Skyrim…

  2. the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

    It’s a shame about the Flip Cam. I was the target of a company “meet your coworker” video profile recorded on a Flip, and I was very impressed with both the picture and sound quality.

    • kc2idf says:

      Yeah, but there are others that still make pretty decent compact and pocket video cameras. I like my Panasonic; it takes decent video, is very adjustable (i.e. manual overrides for shutter, aperture, white balance, focus, etc) and has a hell of a powerful zoom on it; its only fault as far as I can see is that it only shoots 480i.

  3. Nobody can say "Teehee" with a straight face says:

    There’s still over a day and a half left! Someone can still do something moronic!

    • There's room to move as a fry cook says:

      Yes, there is still time. Earlier this week Avenger Controller managed to pull in a very late entry for Dickish PR Move of The Year.

  4. The Fake Fake Steve Jobs says:

    I’m not sure how Flip Cams were a flop since they were all the rage for quite some time. It was a rather large industry too. It did, however, ultimately die out because of how easy it was to use cell phones but that’s hardly worth calling it a “flop”.

    • TomClements says:

      I think the author may prefer Flip Flops.

    • Rachacha says:

      I think the flop was that Cisco spent almost $600M in 2009 for Flip, did nothing with the company and killed it off 2 years later, effectively throwing away their investment. Smartphones may have likely killed off the Flip style cameras, but Kodak has a similar line of cameras that serve a niche market by offering features that no cell phone can match…inexpensive, waterproof with external microphone ports. Cisco/Flip just never adapted to keep themselves alive.

  5. 8bithero says:

    I bought a Flip when you still could. I love it. Small HD video camera with tons of memory.

    Of course, I pretty much only use my phone as *gasp* a phone. Imagine that.

    • Misha says:

      My mobile phone makes and receives voice calls. So yes, this.

      • Jules Noctambule says:

        My old (8+ years) mobile phone made and received voice calls. My new smartphone does the same, but since it also processes credit card payments at shows, it and all associated costs are a tax-deductible business expense. Couldn’t pull that off with my beloved Nokia brick!

  6. Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

    As to the Flip, from what I read in the tech magazines, there were big companies trying to buy it from Cisco, but Cisco’s decision had been made. Kill it. They would not even entertain offers from large, legitimate companies with backgrounds in video and cameras.

    Granted, these were in the rumors sections of those mags, but these are the magazines like CIO, Network World, etc that go to the CIOs and technical departments (and are read by them) of Fortune 50 companies and down, so they tend to be pretty accurate in the rumor dept.

  7. springboks says:

    Google +

    Too soon?

  8. Chasing Headless Chickens says:

    I wwebsite as on the internet? I think they missed the deadline.

    • Chasing Headless Chickens says:

      Though on second thought, I guess that’s more of a PR flop that was merely related to tech.

  9. iamlost26 says:

    How can the 3DS Circle Pad be a tech flop when it hasn’t been released yet?

  10. FrugalFreak says:

    The avenger controller?

  11. Outrun1986 says:

    The Flip was a great product for its time, but the iPod touch 4th gen and smartphone cameras killed it. If you don’t have a smartphone with video, you have the iPod touch 4th gen. Though there is still use for a flip if you have one. The later flip’s had battery problems that the company refused to fix as well, which was a problem. If you had one of the AA battery models then you are golden though.

    Digital camera’s now have video recording that is equal to the flip, and they have SD card slots so you can change memory cards or expand the memory, which the flip did not have. The camera I bought recently has a superb video recording mode plus its much, much easier to hold than the flip video, which makes much more difference in the quality of the videos you get than you think.

  12. ajlei says:

    My parents got a Flipcam last year for Christmas, and they really love it. My stepdad has an iPhone 4 but he doesn’t always want to take that fishing or skiing, so he can take the Flipcam, which is more durable and if it gets damaged, he’s not out a $200 phone. Plus, it’s really simple for them to operate.

  13. Azagthoth says:

    The Circle Pad Pro doesn’t even release stateside until next year. Are you saying the 3DS is a flop because they didn’t include the second pad? That is almost a more ridiculous argument given the sales figures.

  14. gman863 says:

    Geek Squad should have been on this list…and last years…and the year before that…

    It’s also a sure bet for 2012.

  15. KMFDM781 says:

    Wasn’t the Google netbook released this year? Expensive, weak, outperformed by tablets…

  16. soj4life says:

    I don’t know how a successful product, like the flip, that has been released for years can be considered a flop.

  17. Midnight Harley says:

    The Circle Pad Pro isn’t even out in anywhere but Japan in 2011. I might just skip it though