Gobble, Gobble: Top IT Turkeys of 2012

Find out which companies and people earned the uncoveted 'Turkey' prize

IT turkeys

It's that time of the year again. The air is getting crisper, the trees are getting barer, and Network World is ready to name our annual list of top turkeys in high-tech! Find out what companies and individuals made the cut this year. Bon appetit!

Apple complains about Polish grocer A.pl stealing its trademark

We all know how protective Apple is over its brand name, patents and trademarks, but this may be taking it a little too far. The maker of the iPhone, iPad and Mac filed a complaint against a Polish grocery chain, A.pl, alleging that by using a name similar to Apple's it is attempting to cash in on the tech giant's successful reputation. A.pl executives called the claims by what briefly was the most valuable company in the world earlier this year "ludicrous," and we find it hard to disagree.

"Ugly" cloud wars

It started, VMware says, when backers of open source cloud platform projects claimed they were "more open source" than VMware -- don't ask us what that means, by the way. In response, a VMware executive wrote a blog post titled, "It's about Prince Charming, not the ugly sisters," in which he compared open source cloud platforms to the three ugly sisters of the Cinderalla fairytale. In response, when VMware wanted to join open source cloud project OpenStack, needless to say, there was some bad blood.

Fake Sandy photos
Fake Sandy photos

Hurricane Sandy may have been one of the most social storms in history given the number of posts on Twitter and other social media sites. And when Twitter is abuzz, that means the facts start getting loose. Case in point: Multiple photos purporting to be real were spread across the social networks and later were proved to be false. Perhaps the most memorable one is of a shark swimming through a flooded neighborhood. Sorry fake news mongers on Twitter, you can't fool us this time.

Go Daddy may regret supporting SOPA, bows to pressure from opponents to Internet-muzzling law

SOPA and PIPA -- remember those? GoDaddy sure does. The domain name hosting company initially supported the legislation, which opponents -- including Reddit, Google, Craigslist and others -- called an Internet censorship effort. After opponents vowed to boycott GoDaddy's service though, the company reversed course and withdrew its support for the laws -- which eventually failed to pass. Wikipedia, apparently, continued to hold a grudge.

Amazon's cloud gets taken down by clouds

It's the market-leading cloud computing platform, according to Gartner. But Amazon Web Service's cloud was taken down by real clouds in late June. Strong thunderstorms caused power outages in the mid-Atlantic region where AWS has its biggest and oldest data centers, which lost power, creating a cascading outage that lasted more than 48 hours for some users. In other news, the one-third of people that believed in a recent survey that cloud computing has to do with the weather were actually right.

Please stop the music

For some reason high-tech companies thought it would be a good idea to subject users, press and analysts to music videos and performances this year. First there was the Motorola Droid Razr unveiling event in September, the first 25 minutes of which was an awkward musical performance that it didn't seem many audience members enjoyed. And then there was RIM showing what was almost universally agreed to be just a really bad music video of company engineers. And that's not to mention Microsoft hiring the fastest rapper in the world to lay down some beats about the company's Windows Azure cloud platform. That may not have even been Microsoft's worst music video of the year -- this one may take the cake.

Houston, we have a problem

Reports that key IT security protection is severely lacking at NASA crop up fom time to time but one earlier this year was a doozy. NASA Inspector General Paul Martin found that security problems have gotten so bad that a March 2011 theft of an unencrypted NASA notebook computer resulted in the loss of the algorithms used to command and control the International Space Station.

What's in a name?

It's too early to call Windows 8 a turkey; perhaps we can make that determination next year based on how well the first significant revamp of the Windows OS in more than a decade goes. But Windows 8 did come with somewhat of a blunder for Microsoft. When first announcing Windows 8 the company called apps running on the platform "Metro" apps. Then, for some reason, Microsoft changed its mind. "Metro" was no longer the term of choice, but instead "Modern app" and "Windows 8-style" app were considered until Microsoft decided "Windows Store Apps" would be the official name. Is it that hard to make up your mind about the apps on your new platform?

Caught on tape

Nokia has a cool new feature for its Lumia 920 Windows Phone 8 called optical image stabilization. So for instance if you're riding a bike, filming someone else riding a bike, the image will be stable if you use this phone. It will also be stable if you use a professional camera crew, which is exactly what Nokia did when advertising the feature on the new phone. Yes, that's right, Nokia made a commercial for the image stabilization feature but did not use the feature in the commercial. Nokia later clarified that the commercial was a "representation" of the feature. And Nokia therefore "represents" a turkey.

Facebook may not "like" this news

Heralded as the biggest tech initial public offering (IPO) in some time, the Facebook stock ceremoniously debuted as a publicly traded company in May and then dropped like a rock. And it hasn't quite recovered. Debuting at an initial price of $38 per share, within a month it dropped to $25 per share and by early August it was below $20 per share, where it has been puttering along. Perhaps the valuation was a little high?

Get lost

It was the big news of the summer and fall: Apple graced us with iPhone 5, the longer -- you can fit one more row of icons on the screen! -- and thinner version of its iconic phone. Apple cult followers around the world flocked to preorder the phone only to find out when they turned on the new Maps feature in iOS 6 that they stink, as these pictures show. The fallout was swift and included an apology from CEO Tim Cook reminding users that they can use other -- gasp ... Google! -- maps. iOS head Scott Forstall's departure soon followed.