All around the tech press, this publication and others, people are picking their lists of turkeys for the year, just in time for Thanksgiving. Well, how could I pass up the opportunity to participate in a similar undertaking, with an eye toward Redmond? The company is doing a few things right this year – dumping Xbox One DRM, dumping Ballmer, and dumping stack ranking - but it's made some missteps, too.
Now before you point out obvious omissions -- Chromebooks, the NSA, etc. -- I'm picking ones I felt others omitted. So while others zig, I zag.
SLIDESHOW: Network World's Top Tech Turkeys of 2013
And good news: you don't have to click through a slide show. So here we go.
Low-cost Ultrabooks. Never materialized, never took off. Ultrabooks are now a dirty word. The new hype you will hear in the new year is "Two-in-ones," the tablets that click onto a real keyboard, so you can use them as a laptop or tablet.
SkyDrive. Still embarrassingly bad and unusable. You can't even do a manual update and navigating it from a browser is clumsy. Microsoft promised fixes on a message board over a year ago, and it's still a work in no progress.
Apple. So Tim, what have you done in the last two years besides iterate on all existing Apple products and fire your most likely successor? Oh right, made a mess of OS X and iOS.
Bing. Still going nowhere, and despite those hilarious TV ads that ran a few years back, and it still doesn't sort results well. Google still knows what to put at the top of the search list.
Don Mattrick. The new poster boy for career suicide. First, he concocted the Xbox One DRM, then he made a callous comment about people who objected to it that had gamers spitting nails in fury. Next thing you know he's departed Microsoft for the rapidly fading Zynga, which is somewhat akin to switching from the Carpathia to the Titanic.
HP & Dell. Look, I realize both are dealing with existential fights, but is that any excuse to get lazy and put out uncreative laptops and offer limp support for Windows 7? That's why Lenovo is eating your lunch. Their laptops are amazing and they offer full Windows 7 support.
Julie Larson-Green's tenure as Window's chief. So you're brought in to replace the top executive of the company's most important product, which has had a terrible launch and is being murdered in the press. You respond by disappearing from public view and never once defending the product as journalists literally destroy it out of the gate. Someone is going to get a 5 on their stack ranking review. Maybe that's why she's running entertainment and devices now.
Nvidia Tegra 4. Despite a tremendous GPU heritage (GTX 670-powered here), Tegra continues to lose out to Qualcomm's Snapdragon. Worse, the company lost all three major game consoles to AMD, a company whose rear it's been kicking for years.
Samsung Galaxy S4. A poor follow-up to the massively successful S3, it was painful to use and resulted in both me and a fellow Network World columnist dumping it. It missed projections for sales, too.
Oracle. It has totally failed to secure Java, making it a haven for malware, people are abandoning MySQL in droves after all the headache with the EU, Sun hardware is in freefall, and now it seems it's in up to its neck on the HealthCare.gov mess as well. Has the old dog in the CEO suite finally run out of tricks?
Mobclix and pubCenter. Both of these ad-serving services have left developers hanging for months. pubCenter serves Windows Phone specifically, but it didn't publish any ads for months, not even Bing ads, resulting in ad-driven apps that brought in absolutely no money. Mobclix, which supports all platforms, hasn't paid its developers in months, either, to the tune of $30 million total.
HealthCare.gov. Where do I start? Three years, hundreds of millions of dollars, a GPL violation that may lead to a lawsuit…so much fail, so little time. Rubbing salt in the wound were the three programmers who built a clone of the site in three days, with almost all of the features.