5 Biggest Tech Failures Of 2015

by Sohini Bagchi    Dec 30, 2015


Like every year, 2015 was a year of so many successful innovations and offerings in the field of technology and research. As usual, a lot of hardwork and investments happened on every project - be it a product or a service - that was launched. However, to err is human. As technologies and their organizations are run by the humans, mistakes were bound to happen and some did happen in the process. The idea is however to learn from these mistakes and prepare the stage for the future. Keeping these in mind, CXOtoday has come up with five tech failures which can provide a lesson for the future enterprises.
1. Airtel Zero initiative was literally zero
Airtel’s Zero initiatives which was supposed to be an innovative offering, failed miserably and created mass outrage. It not only faced a severe social media backlash, it was even criticized by its competitors who were apprehensive that similar schemes may have to come under consumer and regulatory scrutiny.
While Airtel has consistently maintained that the plan doesn’t violate the concept of an open Internet, experts say the company’s brand image, especially among the youth, has taken a beating, and India’s largest telco may have to withdraw the plan to undo the damage. 
Brand expert Harish Bijoor says Airtel has become a victim of its timing, and would be able to undo the damage only by withdrawing the plan, especially after ecommerce major Flipkart pulled out of negotiations to be a part of it, saying going forward Airtel Zero could violate the principles of net neutrality. This was seen against the net neutrality Principles and it made the Indian Government take sttrict steps in maintaining the standards of neutrality,the only good this plan ever did.

2. The Internet.org followed suit

The debate of net neutrality which was started by Airtel Zero was further fuelled by Mark Zuckerberg’s pet project Internet.org program now known as free Basics. The company allows access to a certain websites in the name of giving access to basic internet facilities to the poor people who cannot afford it.
Noted journalist, Nikhil Pahwa writes in Hindustan Times, the concept has countered by giving many instances where free services have failed to do good for the mass. He calls Zuckerberg’s ambitious project an effort to “confuse hundreds of millions of emerging market users into thinking that Facebook and the Internet are one and the same.” He also asks, “Who selects the companies that get the benefit of zero-rating via Internet.org? What are the terms? Nobody knows, because none of that is publicly available.”
The concept can not only be termed as ‘failure’ but also created deep divides among the intelligentsia, the activists and even within the policymakers.
3. Ugrading to Windows 10, think twice
This one in this list is interesting.Despite having a mass adoptation and success of Microsoft’s Windows operating System we all remember the massive confusion which was caused about whether the company would give it free to all the users. While the confusion is although clear now but some parts still are unsolved.
‘Free’ Windows 10 has an expensive secret. According to reports, Windows 7 and 8 users can upgrade to Windows 10 for free but they’ll have to pay subscription charges from next year onwards.
As it stands, what Microsoft is perpetuating is that after July 28th 2016, Windows 10 Home and Windows 10 Pro will cost $119 and $199 respectively, reads the official Windows 10 home page. No wonder the saying goes, there are no free lunches.
4. Ashley Madison hack embarrasses millions

An organization called ”Impact Team” hacked Avid Life Media, the operators of affair matchmaking website Ashley Madison in July, with the user data of millions of people being released by Impact Team in August. ZDNet’s Violet Blue noted that Ashley Madison is “a honeypot for people who had something to hide.”

According to the report, about one third of the email addresses are fakes like “foxmulder@fbi.gov,” but a surprising number of users registered with their work email addresses, causing embarrassment both for employees and employers.

While every cyber attack comes with some degree of monetary and reputational loss, the Ashley Madison is different and dangerous, Saket Modi is CEO, Lucideus Tech mentioned in an article in Economic Times (23 September) “It has a psychological aspect to it that no other hack has had before- not to such an extent. Not surprising therefore, Noel Biderman, the CEO of Avid Life Media, announced his resignation after the incident.

5. 4K video’s boring

The much-hyped 4K suffered a terrible plight as critics called it ‘boring’ - a worst adjective given to any technology. There were many issues. Even though the latest and high-end television sets support the technology, there just isn’t enough content available. You’re stuck paying $30 to purchase a small handful of 4K movies available on services - not that it would appeal viewers. Many so-called 4K movies are just upsampled from HD.

Moreover, viewers can hardly tell the difference.Tellingly, 4K has already been superseded by the arrival of OLED 4K displays with HDR. And even that fresh standard’s set to expire with the looming threat of 8K on the horizon. and as Daniel Cooper, senior editor of Engadget mentions, ”I can’t imagine telling someone to spend thousands of dollars on one of these units, as there’s not yet enough content to justify the purchase.”

The other problem with launching a new standard like 4K is that companies must convince consumers who’ve already invested in the status quo to upgrade their existing content libraries.