Os 84 maiores fracassos, falhas e sonhos mortos da década em tecnologia


  

O mundo nunca muda da maneira que você espera. Mas em The Verge tivemos um assento na primeira fila enquanto a tecnologia permeava todos os aspectos de nossas vidas na última década. Alguns dos momentos resultantes – e gadgets – sem dúvida definiram a década e o mundo em que vivemos agora.

Mas outros comemos pipoca na mão, maravilhados com o quão incrivelmente duros eles fracassaram.

Esta é a década em que aprendemos que gadgets com financiamento coletivo podem ser desastres absolutos, mesmo que eles não roubem completamente o seu dinheiro suado. É a década de dispositivos de vestir, tablets, drones e baterias queimadas, e de avaliações ridículas para empresas que eram realmente boas em esconder o quão pouco elas realmente tinham a oferecer. É a década em que o Google enche seu cemitério de produtos, a Apple nega teimosamente erros óbvios e a Microsoft anula bilhões de dólares.

Aqui estão 84 coisas que morreram muito muitas vezes hilariamente, para nos levar aonde estamos hoje.

—Sean Hollister

84. Google Nexus Q

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
        
Tiramos esta foto em 2012. Não a usamos mais como um batente de porta.

  

Todo mundo ficou confuso com o Nexus Q do Google, quando estreou em 2012, incluindo The Verge – e é provavelmente por isso que a bola de boliche de uma serpentina de mídia caiu e queimou antes chegou ao mercado. Ao preço de US $ 299 além de outros US $ 399 para alto-falantes e US $ 49 para cabos, o Nexus Q era incrivelmente caro pelo que equivalia a um peso de papel enigmático. Apenas foi transmitido do YouTube, Play Music e Play Video; teve problemas de conexão estranhos; e exigiu que um aplicativo alterasse qualquer uma das configurações do dispositivo.

Logo após o anúncio, o Google pressionou a data oficial de lançamento do Nexus Q, dizendo aos que encomendaram o que a empresa "ouviu o feedback inicial dos usuários de que eles desejam que o Nexus Q faça ainda mais do que isso hoje ”, e“ decidiu adiar o lançamento do Nexus Q para consumidores enquanto trabalhamos para torná-lo ainda melhor ”. Esse lançamento nunca chegou: o Google silenciosamente arquivou o dispositivo (enquanto desviava os rumores de descontinuação ) e deu afastado seus protótipos restantes gratuitamente. – Dani Deahl

83. LeEco (anteriormente LeTV)


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
         Imagem de Dieter Bohn / The Verge
      
    

  

A LeEco, a “Netflix da China”, deveria ser a próxima empresa chinesa de tecnologia a fazer sucesso nos EUA. Mas as duas maiores apostas da LeEco – uma aquisição da fabricante de TV californiana Vizio e um concorrente de alto nível da Tesla chamado Faraday Future – acabaram manchando sua reputação e inviabilizando maciçamente os planos da empresa de lançar um negócio de eletrônicos nos EUA. (Houve também época em que seu carro autônomo não chegou à sua inauguração.)

Obstáculos regulatórios afundaram seus planos de adquirir a Vizio, que seria a grande entrada da LeEco no mercado de televisão e entretenimento dos EUA. O resultado foi uma retirada embaraçosa – e dois processos da Vizio. (As duas empresas acabaram se estabelecendo.) Quanto ao Faraday Future, financiado e eventualmente dirigido pelo fundador da LeEco, Jia Yueting, como uma escotilha de fuga nos EUA por evitar bilhões em dívidas chinesas, é um fracasso. O mais recente desenvolvimento: Yueting foi destituído como CEO e ele pode ter que voltar para a China e enfrentar suas dívidas se a empresa pedir falência . – Nick Statt

82. Apple Watch Edition

  


    
    
      
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<p id= A Apple realmente pensou que as pessoas queriam um smartwatch de US $ 10.000. Basta dizer, realmente. Mas, antes do lançamento original do Apple Watch, em 2015, um modelo luxuoso de "Edição" de ouro de 18 quilates começou a aparecer nos pulsos de celebridades como Beyoncé. Para surpresa de ninguém, saberíamos mais tarde que o relógio de alto luxo era um projeto apaixonado de Jony Ive. Mas poucas pessoas poderiam ser convencidas a gastar até US $ 17.000 em um dispositivo que seria obsoleto em alguns anos – comparado com a atemporalidade de algo como um Rolex. E no caso do Apple Watch original, isso significava Beyoncé e companhia. ficaram presos a uma visão particularmente lenta do futuro.

A Bloomberg relatou que as vendas estavam na “dezenas baixa de milhares” e caíram apenas algumas semanas após o lançamento. Nas versões subsequentes do Apple Watch Edition, a Apple mudou para uma caixa de cerâmica e reduziu drasticamente o preço. – Chris Welch

81. JooJoo

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
         Imagem por TokioDriftt (via Wikimedia Commons)
      
    

  

Originalmente conhecido como CrunchPad, o JooJoo foi um dos primeiros tablets. Dois anos antes da Apple anunciar o iPad, Michael Arrington, co-fundador do TechCrunch pediu que seus leitores o ajudassem a construir o computador de US $ 200. Mas uma briga com a Fusion Garage, a empresa de hardware por trás do JooJoo, significou que o produto final de US $ 500 seria lançado sem o envolvimento de Arrington e apenas alguns dias antes do lançamento do iPad da Apple. Depois de todo esse drama, o verdadeiro tablet JooJoo era simplesmente ruim com um software simples para navegador que não era páreo para o poder do ecossistema da Apple na App Store e das ferramentas de hardware. Não vamos nem começar com o nome. – Chaim Gartenberg

80. Google Reader

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
         Imagem: @leftoblique
      
    

  

Em 2019, o Google Reader finalmente obteve a lápide que merecia . É provavelmente o motivo pelo qual as pessoas tendem a falar sobre o cemitério de produtos do Google. Não foi a primeira ou a última vez que o Google apagou uma idéia, mas foi definitivamente uma das mais estúpidas – a decisão do Google de matar o amado leitor de RSS em 2013 apesar dos protestos e provavelmente apenas para economizar custos de servidor que o Google não notaria em mil anos, foi provavelmente a morte do RSS como uma tecnologia de distribuição de notícias . O Google Notícias nunca compensou essa lacuna e o Feed de notícias do Facebook se tornou uma fonte dominante de informação.

Também era apenas um bom leitor de RSS. Ainda lamentamos sua perda hoje. – Sean Hollister

79. Segredo

  


    
    
      
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<p id= Por um breve momento em 2014, uma rede social “anônima” foi toda a raiva. Segredo lhe mostrou mensagens de seus amigos e amigos de amigos, sem identificar ninguém pelo nome. O resultado foi um espaço relativamente seguro para conversar sobre sexo, drogas e outras coisas que o levariam ao Facebook. Ele rapidamente reuniu 15 milhões de usuários e levantou US $ 35 milhões.

Mas uma lição duradoura da década de 2010 é que nada anônimo pode permanecer. Onde não há identidade permanente, não há rede social permanente. Apenas 16 meses após o lançamento, o co-fundador da Secret tentou salvar a cara puxando o plugue, enviando a Secret para o cemitério anônimo de aplicativos ao lado de Yik Yak, Ask.fm, Forms.fm e muitos outros. Os fundadores se comprometeram a devolver o dinheiro que levantaram aos investidores – embora possam ter guardado alguns milhões para si . – Casey Newton

78. Salto Mágico

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
         Foto de James Bareham / The Verge
      
    

  

Quando o Google de repente ajudou a colocar meio bilhão de dólares nos cofres do Magic Leap a pouco conhecida startup de AR de repente parecia preparada para mudar tudo – apesar do fato de as pessoas não saberem quase nada sobre seu produto, e a Magic Leap trabalhou duro para manter as coisas dessa maneira. Ele ilustrou patentes de alto nível com uma sacola de imagens de ficção científica roubadas e prometeu que seu trabalho "transcenderia o que pode estar contido em um produto físico".

O Magic Leap impressionou tantas pessoas ricas, inteligentes e poderosas que algo incrível teve que estar acontecendo … mas entregar esse hype seria quase um milagre. Na realidade, o primeiro fone de ouvido da Magic Leap era muito parecido com o Microsoft HoloLens existente – mas sem um modelo de negócios óbvio e uma empresa menos estabelecida fazendo o backup. A Magic Leap já levantou US $ 2,6 bilhões, mas supostamente tem apenas 6.000 vendas para mostrar isso. —Adi Robertson

77. Google Fiber

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
         Imagem: Google Fiber
      
    

  

Parecia que o Google finalmente ouvira minhas orações: a Internet de fibra ótica de gigabit estava chegando à minha cidade natal, San Jose, Califórnia. Mas o Google desistiu da fibra antes que eu tivesse a chance de usá-la. A empresa alega que está fornecendo Internet para 18 áreas metropolitanas, mas vem ampliando esses números desde 2016, quando começou a contar cidades Webpass onde está conectando prédios de apartamentos em vez de casas. Partes de emocionantes cidades de fibra ainda estão aguardando acesso. Heck, o Google chegou a sair de algumas cidades desde – como Louisville, Kentucky onde acabou pagando milhões em reparações por estragar as estradas. – Sean Hollister

76. Liga da Justiça

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
         Warner Bros.
      
    

  

Liga da Justiça não é um fracasso em um sentido: o filme faturou quase US $ 660 milhões em todo o mundo. Mas também deu início a um movimento global, que levantou dezenas de milhões de dólares, para fazer a Warner Bros. lançar uma versão totalmente diferente. O filme não agradou os críticos, e os fãs obstinados ficaram tão chateados com a versão de Joss Whedon que eles publicaram outdoors na Times Square e anúncios de ônibus exigindo "The Snyder Cut" possivelmente um mítico – mas provavelmente versão real de Liga da Justiça que captura a visão completa de Zack Snyder para o filme.

Eu não sei, cara, mas se as pessoas estão com raiva o suficiente para arrecadar dinheiro através de uma campanha pública para dizer a todos na cidade de Nova York que seu filme foi péssimo – e esses são os fãs obstinados – é um fracasso. – Julia Alexander

75. Banda da Microsoft

  


    
    
      
         Microsoft Band "data-upload-width =" 2040 "src =" https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/KJxsK5KbC1weLhZeX0gE3cjjbOI=/0x0:2040x1360/1200x0/filters:focal (0x0: 2040x1360): no_upscale () / cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/2447948/microsoft-band-012-2040.0.jpg"/>[19459023[[19459024[</span/>]<br />
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<p id= A primeira tentativa da Microsoft de hardware vestível parecia mais um experimento na prisão. O hardware robusto e o ajuste desconfortável pareciam que a Microsoft simplesmente enviava uma amostra de engenharia como rastreador de fitness. Você também pode usar a banda para comprar um café na Starbucks, mas nem mesmo a Starbucks poderia salvar esse gadget da morte após a segunda versão fazer pouco para melhorar a estética e o ajuste. Eventualmente, a Microsoft reduziu suas perdas desligando os servidores, oferecendo reembolsos para pedir desculpas aos demais usuários leais da Banda. – Tom Warren

74. Solyndra

  


    
    
      
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         Foto de Justin Sullivan / Getty Images
      
    

  

De todos os cobiçados endossos que uma empresa de energia poderia procurar, ter Obama como seu embaixador pessoal da marca provavelmente está no topo da lista. Essa foi a posição de sorte que Solyndra se viu em cerca de 2009 quando seus painéis solares circulares chamaram a atenção do então presidente. A empresa tinha tudo o que o governo Obama queria: design inovador e eficiente, o potencial de fornecer centenas de novos empregos e bilhões de dólares em financiamento de fundos de hedge e capitalistas de risco . O único problema era que na verdade não tinha um plano de negócios. Em 2011, a empresa faliu graças aos custos crescentes e a uma base de clientes quase inexistente. O prego no caixão veio quando a China interveio para fornecer painéis solares extremamente baratos. Zoe Schiffer

73. Artefato da válvula

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
         Valve Corporation
      
    

  

Quando a Valve anuncia um novo jogo, há um nível de antecipação e entusiasmo com o qual a maioria das empresas apenas sonha, e O Artefato foi o primeiro jogo da Valve em quatro anos – apenas a ideia de que a Valve era fazer algo novo fez parecer um sucesso em potencial. Então, eles trouxeram o criador de Magic: The Gathering Richard Garfield, para projetar o jogo, revelaram que ele seria baseado no popular Dota 2 e também aproveitaria o jogo. Mercado Steam da Valve para permitir que os jogadores comprem e vendam cartas facilmente. Nada disso foi suficiente para os jogadores levarem para a economia paga no jogo do jogo.

Apesar dos elogios críticos por seu design de jogo, apenas um décimo dos seus 60.000 jogadores permaneceu em torno de dois meses após o lançamento, e apenas algumas centenas de jogadores permaneceram dois meses depois disso. Foi quando a Valve anunciou que interromperia as atualizações para redesenhar completamente tudo. Nunca um jogo da Valve se esgotou tão rapidamente. – Michael Moore

72. Pono

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  

Neil Young passou anos criticando MP3s, iTunes e música digital como um todo, insistindo que a qualidade do som compactado arruinou a experiência de audição em comparação com CDs e vinil. Em 2012, Young procurou resolver o problema ele mesmo anunciando o Pono music player e uma loja que vendia arquivos de áudio hi-fi e sem perdas. O Pono ganhou um burburinho e mais de US $ 6 milhões em apoio ao financiamento coletivo, e finalmente chegou em 2015, mas não conseguiu ressoar com um grande público melhor do que um Gibson Les Paul desconectado. A presunção de Young não ajudou, nem a cor amarela e o design descolados do dispositivo. Até o Zune da Microsoft parecia melhor.

Mas outras empresas transmitiram a obsessão de Young pela qualidade do áudio. Tidal saiu do portão com uma camada de streaming sem perdas. E este ano, a Amazon lançou um hi-fi de seu serviço de assinatura Music Unlimited, com Neil Young o primeiro a elogiar com uma dose saudável de hipérbole. "A Terra mudará para sempre quando a Amazon apresentar streaming de alta qualidade para as massas", disse ele. Pono em si nunca mudou muita coisa, no entanto. – Chris Welch

71. O Google Barge

  


    
    
      
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         Imagem de Josh Lowensohn / The Verge
      
    

  

As barcaças tinham toda a intriga de um romance de Dan Brown. As estruturas de quatro andares estavam flutuando na costa de São Francisco e o Google não quis dizer o que era. As pessoas especularam que apresentariam demos apenas para convidados, festas de luxo e showrooms para as novas tecnologias do Google.

Infelizmente, não era para ser. A empresa não obteve as permissões adequadas para atracar as barcaças perto de São Francisco . Em seguida, a guarda costeira interveio com preocupações traquinas de segurança contra incêndios e o projeto foi efetivamente morto. Acontece que as barcaças tinham cerca de 5.000 galões de combustível a bordo e não havia uma boa maneira de garantir que não pegariam fogo. Zoe Schiffer

70. IA falsa

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
         Kolibree / Baracoda
      
    

  

Para ficar claro: a IA teve uma década e tanto. Mas, à espreita do seu sucesso, como uma bolsa Gooci imitação ou um par de tênis Abibas, era o fenômeno esquálido da Fake AI. As empresas viram o hype e o mal-entendido que cercavam a inteligência artificial e pensaram: "A-ha, podemos vender isso". Eles produziram escovas de dentes AI camas inteligentes AI, despertadores AI e máquinas de lavar louça, prometendo que “algoritmos avançados de aprendizado de máquina” se adaptassem aos problemas de nossa vida, enquanto acionavam os mesmos produtos antigos baseados nas funções IF / OR. Em suma: eles venderam muito tat.

Não é exatamente um fracasso no sentido clássico, pois muitos desses produtos ainda estão lá fora e, presumivelmente, estão vendendo bem; mas é um fracasso de expectativas, com empresas falando sobre produtos que nunca poderiam corresponder à sua imagem exagerada. Infelizmente, enquanto a IA for bem-sucedida, a Fake AI será lançada atrás dela. – James Vincent

69. Galaxy Fold da Samsung

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
         Foto de Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge
      
    

  

Não sei se já vi um telefone ser lançado como o do Samsung Galaxy Fold. Depois de apenas alguns dias, minha unidade de revisão apenas… quebrou . E o mesmo aconteceu com as unidades de várias outras pessoas, porque a Samsung não disse para deixar o protetor de tela ligado. Em algum lugar ao norte de 50% dos revisores de mais alto nível em tecnologia, havia destruído unidades. Como a Samsung pensou que este dispositivo estava pronto para ser lançado, muito menos como um dispositivo de alto perfil, permanece um mistério até hoje. A empresa reformulou o design e o relançou mais tarde mas o dano foi (literalmente) causado. Telefones dobráveis ​​ainda podem ser A Thing, mas o primeiro chegou com A Thunk. – Dieter Bohn

68. Vida de arsênico

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
         NASA
      
    

  

Em 2010, quatro dias antes do lançamento do artigo, a NASA agendou uma conferência de imprensa sobre uma descoberta de astrobiologia . ”As especulações corriam soltas. " A NASA descobriu a vida extraterrestre ?", Perguntou a Internet . Bem, não exatamente: um grupo de pesquisadores alegou ter encontrado uma forma de vida alienígena na Califórnia (onde mais): uma bactéria que usava arsênico em vez de fósforo em seu DNA – uma grande coisa, já que todos os outros a vida na Terra usa fósforo. A descoberta muito badalada ao que parece, não era tanto uma descoberta como um erro. As bactérias, encontradas no lago Mono, rico em arsênico, quase imediatamente desencadeou o ceticismo entre alguns acadêmicos. ("Fiquei indignado com o quão ruim a ciência era", um pesquisador disse Slate. ) Em 2012, o estudo das bactérias mostrou prefira fósforo afinal – evitando o arsênico sempre que possível. Tanta coisa para a vida do arsênico. – Liz Lopatto

67. Filmes em VR

  


    
    
      
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O filme de realidade virtual Miyubi.
Felix & Paul / Festival de cinema de Sundance
      
    

  

O filme de ação ao vivo foi um grande componente do VR inicial, e soa maravilhoso até você parar para pensar nas desvantagens. Pro: uma tela enorme flutuando bem na sua frente! Contras: parece que está coberto de malha fina. Pro: uma experiência de 360 ​​graus em que a ação acontece ao seu redor! Contras: você deve segui-lo girando em uma cadeira. Pro: mergulhe na mídia sem distrações externas! Contras: você não está realmente interagindo com essa experiência e boa sorte comendo pipoca em um fone de ouvido de realidade virtual.

Jogue nas despesas e no inconveniente das câmeras de 360 ​​graus, na dificuldade de ganhar dinheiro com curtas-metragens e no status de nicho da VR, e não é de surpreender que não tenham decolado. Você ainda pode encontrar filmes de 360 ​​graus em festivais de cinema mas empresas de cinema em realidade virtual como Jaunt saíram do mercado ou fecharam o mercado – então, são mais um subgênero do que um meio . —Adi Robertson

66. Google+

  


    
    
      
        

      
    
    
  
  
    
      
      
         Stop Motion de Michele Doying / The Verge
      
    

  

Devido a … ah, vamos chamá-lo de um erro de contabilidade … esta lista estava originalmente com o número 66 no flop e também estava com o Google+. Felizmente, é mais ou menos assim que colocamos a rede social com falha do Google nos maiores fracassos da década.

Cria-se supostamente como uma resposta direta à ameaça existencial que o Facebook representava para as empresas do Google em junho de 2011, o Google+ tornou-se também uma saída direta. Apesar das afirmações ousadas de que "consertaria" o compartilhamento on-line … basicamente parecia o Facebook com uma camada de tinta diferente. Somente o Google também tentou empurrá-lo para a garganta dos usuários, conectando-o a outros serviços mais populares, o que definitivamente ajudou a diminuir o número de usuários. Veja como Casey Newton, do Verge descreveu o dilema do Google + em 2014:

Quase três anos e meio depois de abrir suas portas ao público, seria difícil nomear uma única pessoa que se tornou famosa por causa dos seguidores criados no Google+; nomear uma notícia que apareceu primeiro; ou identificar uma maneira de se diferenciar significativamente do excesso de produtos sociais no mercado. Eu acho que existem muitas pessoas que usam o Google+, mesmo que sejam de passagem; Eu acho que há muito poucos deles que o amam.

Mas alguns adoraram e permaneceram até outubro de 2018, quando outro outro Google falhou levou a empresa a matá-lo – uma enorme violação de dados que a empresa ocultou inicialmente de seus usuários .

Ao longo do caminho, o Google seguiu uma das sugestões de Casey sobre como melhorar as coisas, permitindo que o excelente Google Fotos se tornasse seu próprio aplicativo, além do Google Hangouts e Steam. E podemos creditar ao Google+ a criação de um único login unificado que você pode usar para todos os serviços do Google e na Web. “As pessoas esquecem que você costumava ter um login separado no YouTube!” Casey me lembra. – Sean Hollister

65. A tentativa de eliminar gradualmente as lâmpadas incandescentes

Os padrões federais de eficiência foram estabelecidos para limpar basicamente lâmpadas incandescentes desnecessárias das prateleiras das lojas até 2020, economizando dinheiro das pessoas em suas contas de eletricidade e ajudando a parar a crise climática. Eles já foram comprovados ao longo da década, pois as lâmpadas fluorescentes compactas e os LEDs assumiram o lugar da incandescente em muitos lares americanos. Então, em 2019, o presidente Trump lançou uma tábua de salvação para a incandescente, revertendo os padrões de eficiência da era Bush e Obama.

Por quê? Como a escolha do consumidor é mais importante do que salvar o planeta, decidiu Trump . E, de acordo com o presidente, "[a more efficient bulb] não faz você parecer tão bom." É isso mesmo, ele culpou injustamente a lâmpada por dar a ele uma aparência "laranja". "Ser uma pessoa vaidosa, isso é muito importante para mim", confessou em dezembro. – Justine Calma

64. EverQuest Next

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
         EverQuest Next via Polygon
      
    

  

Jogos on-line com vários jogadores são obsoletos. Faz 15 anos desde que World of Warcraft foi lançado, e um "WoW killer" nunca se materializou. A única coisa que chegou perto é World of Warcraft – sim, em 2019 a Blizzard relançou seu MMO clássico para capturar novamente os aventureiros vencidos. Mas por um breve momento nesta década, havia alguma esperança de que um nome clássico nos MMOs injetasse uma nova vida no gênero. O EverQuest Next deveria ser um grande salto em frente em grandes jogos multiplayer. Ele prometeu mundos dinâmicos que poderiam ser destruídos como em Minecraft mas com elementos narrativos tradicionais de jogos de RPG de fantasia que responderiam à maneira como os jogadores mudaram o mundo. Cavar fundo demais, e o mundo pode ser invadido por criaturas do abismo; abandonar um assentamento, e orcs podem assumir. Em vez de narrativas pré-programadas, EverQuest Next prometeu o potencial para um mundo com seus próprios comportamentos emergentes.

Infelizmente, a Sony vendeu a divisão que criou o EverQuest para uma empresa de investimentos em 2015, que renomeou a propriedade como Daybreak Game Company. Eventualmente, Daybreak cancelou EQ Next e sua visão ambiciosa foi perdida. Esperamos que, à medida que a IA avança nos jogos, veremos algumas de suas idéias retornando, mas, por enquanto, é apenas mais um fracasso. – TC Sottek

63. Aereo

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  

O fundador da Aereo, Chet Kanojia, tinha um objetivo direto: permitir que os clientes assistissem transmissões de TV ao vivo e pelo ar das principais emissoras e outras redes por uma pequena assinatura mensal. A empresa adotou uma abordagem inovadora, alugando uma antena individual e um DVR para cada cliente. Dessa forma, a Aereo argumentou que estava fornecendo acesso ao conteúdo de TV a que os consumidores já têm direito – mas com mais liberdade.

No entanto, não demorou muito para que Aereo atraísse a ira da ABC, CBS, Fox e NBC e se viesse em uma batalha legal. O fim chegou quando uma decisão da Suprema Corte descobriu que as “diferenças tecnológicas nos bastidores” de Aereo não o distinguiam dos fornecedores tradicionais de cabos, a empresa violou a lei de direitos autorais e foi forçada a o negócio. A história tem uma maneira de se repetir, e vimos uma briga muito semelhante entre as emissoras e a Locast, sem fins lucrativos, em 2019. – Chris Welch

62. Google Tango

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
         Imagem de Vjeran Pavic / The Verge
      
    

  

São necessários dois para dançar o tango, mas o Google nunca encontrou parceiros suficientes para sua incursão inicial em realidade aumentada para causar impacto na pista de dança. É uma pena, como o Projeto Tango sempre teve sacos de promessa .

Lançado em 2014, o Tango adotou uma nova abordagem do AR que focava em localizar a posição de um dispositivo no espaço (como o senso humano de propriocepção) para fornecer um suporte para sobreposições visuais. O plano do Google era desenvolver a tecnologia principal e permitir que fabricantes de telefones e desenvolvedores produzissem os produtos de consumo reais.

Mas, no final, apenas duas empresas – Lenovo e Asus – aceitaram o Google em sua oferta, criando dispositivos que absolutamente não atendiam às expectativas e, em 2017, o Google encerrou o Tango em favor de sua estrutura de realidade aumentada mais tradicional, ARCore, para telefones normais. – James Vincent

61. Movimento de salto

  


    
    
      
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        Movimento de salto
      
    

  

"Temos certeza de que vimos a próxima grande novidade na computação" – foi assim que The Verge descreveu o controlador da Leap Motion em 2012 . (Narrator: It was not the next big thing in computing.) While Leap Motion proved that swiping and pinching the air felt really cool, it lacked the utilitarian reliability of a mouse or keyboard. The company got a boost from VR’s resurgence, because the market for a good motion controller was literally up for grabs. But despite repeatedly demoing a system for consumer headsets, it never got hardware makers like Oculus and HTC to sign on, so almost nobody in the VR world could use it. The company ended up merging with another specialized hardware company and mostly disappearing from public view. —Adi Robertson

60. Flappy Bird

  


    
    
      
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flappy bird

  

Call it the anti-flop; the flip-flopper; or just … the Icarus of the App Store. Whatever epithet you choose, you have to admit that Flappy Bird was a work of art: a game so ludicrously simple and perversely difficult that it operated less as entertainment and more as spiritual provocation. Without any story, character, or perceivable sub-text at all, Flappy Bird managed to scream at players: “Why are you doing this to yourself? Why are you doing this to your life?” It soared to the top of the app store charts in January 2014 and hovered there like a malignant spirit for weeks, reminding us all of our folly while earning its creator, Vietnamese developer Dong Nguyen, $50,000 a day.

Eventually, guilt overwhelmed Nguyen and he pulled the game from iOS and Android, saying it had become too popular and too addictive for its own good. Flappy Bird flapped its last and quickly flopped out of existence. —James Vincent

59. ISIS (the mobile wallet)

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Softcard
      
    

  

You know what sounds worse than a mobile wallet initiative backed by phone carriers? A mobile wallet called ISIS. It was the year 2012, and little did AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon know they would be competing in SEO with a violent, extremist militant group responsible for thousands of gruesome civilian deaths globally. The whole thing got so awkward that the carriers had to rebrand itless than two years after launch.

The name wasn’t the only terrible thing about the wallet formerly known as ISIS, though. Using the app required a special SIM card, and if your credit card wasn’t supported by the system, you had to buy a special prepaid credit card in order to put money into your account. Synergy! You love to see it. In 2015, the whole project was scrapped in favor of preloading Google Wallet onto Android devices. —Natt Garun

58. Qwikster

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
        
Famous last words.
Netflix
      
    

  

Few companies have dominated the 2010’s like Netflix has, but there is a dark spot on its nearly pristine decade: Qwikster. There’s a good chance that Qwikster is something that you can barely recall. Though perhaps you can remember the awkward Reed Hastings video announcing a separate streaming company within Netflix? Qwikster, Netflix’s attempt to split off streaming from its DVD rental business, was announced in September 2011. By Octoberthe company had pivoted away from its pivot. If something happens but doesn’t really happen, is it still a flop? Sim. The pivot to a pivot and never uttering the word Qwikster again is the definition of one. —Julia Alexander

57. Lily Drone

  


    
    
      
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        Image by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge
      
    

  

A fully-waterproof drone that can follow you down a mountain, take off when you toss it into the air, then automatically take your picture — even in 2019, that sounds like the best drone ever. But this 2015 idea was a crowdfunding disaster. After years of hype and anticipation, it was revealed that the company’s promo video was a shamlikely faked using footage from GoPros that may have even been carried by a DJI drone instead of the Lily itself.

Lily Robotics never shipped a single unit out of the 60,000 preorders it received, and got sued by the San Francisco District Attorney’s office. Even though the company received $34 million from their backers and another $15 million in venture capital, many of said backers never received a promised refund. But Lilly somehow rose from the ashes in 2017 to give us “Lily Next-Gen,” a completely uninspiring drone that couldn’t even get wet. —Vjeran Pavic

56. Uber’s IPO

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge
      
    

  

In late 2018, Uber was expected to go public at a whopping $120 billion, nearly double the company’s valuation in a fundraising round just a few months before, and a sum that would have made the ride-hailing company more valuable than General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler — Detroit’s “Big Three” automakers — combined. That didn’t happen. Instead Uber went public at $45 a share, which valued it at about $75.46 billion. That’s a lot of sawbucks, but it also registered as a 38 percent drop in value from those early, drunken projections. And don’t worry, it’s gotten much worse since then. The stock is now trading at about $30 a share, a roughly 30 percent drop from the IPO. Uber lost a truly stomach churning $5.2 billion in the second quarter of the year. And its path to profitability looks about as far-fetched as Uber’s plans to launch an air taxi service in 2023. —Andrew Hawkins

55. The “Facebook Phone”

  


    
    
      
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        HTC
      
    

  

The early 2010s were a good run for Facebook, a company that got so cocky it thought releasing a phone with a dedicated Facebook button akin to the Netflix button on every smart TV remote. It partnered with HTC to launch the Status and Salsa, two phones that premiered to nearly no fanfare, then tripled down on the concept with the HTC Firstan Android device with a custom Facebook Home skin. Strangely, it turns out that while people liked using Facebook at the time, no one wanted to admit to using it so often that they needed Facebook timeline photos splattered across their wallpaper at any given moment.

You would think the embarrassment of these phone failures would stop Facebook from releasing any more hardware, especially considering increased privacy revelations in recent years. But as we’ve seen with the Portal, Zuck isn’t quite ready to give up. —Natt Garun

54. Chatbots

  


    
    
      
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        Microsoft
      
    

  

It’s a fad that tech companies would rather we forgot: in 2016, established firms and startups alike fawned over the possibility of chatbots. At minimum they would make customer service easier; in their full glory they could be the future of computing. “Conversation as a platform” would have as “profound an impact as … previous platform shifts,” predicted Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Needless to say: it didn’t happen, and no chatbot represented the overpromise more than Microsoft’s own Tay.

Launched on Twitter in March 2016, Tay “learned” by talking to users. Within 24 hours Tay was taught to repeat an array of racist, sexist, and anti-semitic statements and was ignominiously shut down like a hate-filled Clippy recently indoctrinated into the Westboro Baptist Church. Welcome to the internet, Tay. —James Vincent

53. Google Daydream

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  

Google Daydream seemed to have it all. It was a VR platform built right into Android, paired with a cozy-looking mobile headset that solved some of the competing Samsung Gear VR’s biggest flaws — from a clunky setup process to the lack of a real controller. Then it hit the runway, sputtered a few feet into the air, and dropped straight into the ocean. Android phonemakers waited months to support Daydream if they did so at all. Google’s app selection was lightweight at best. And phone-based VR was too fundamentally limited to take off the way that any VR company, including Google, had hoped it might. Less than three years later, the Daydream was just another headstone in Google’s big product graveyard. —Adi Robertson

52. SOPA and PIPA

  


    
    
      
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The Napster party was never going to last. By 2012, Hollywood and the music industry were coming down hard on piracy, and blasting through any parts of internet culture that stood in the way. It wasn’t clear how much would be left by the time they were finished. That came to a head with SOPA and PIPA, a pair of bills that aimed to build privacy protections into the backbone of the internet itself.

It was the kind of bill that routinely skates through Congress, but thanks to a first-of-its-kind mobilization led by Reddit, Congress got cold feet. It turns out, when the internet gets organized, even the content lobby can flop. —Russell Brandom

51. Verizon Go90

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Verizon
      
    

  

I can’t hear the word Go90 without thinking of Verge editor-in-chief Nilay Patel using it as a scale to determine if a streaming service will survive. Netflix sits at a ten. Disney+, a five. The goal, you see, is to never fully go Go90. To go Go90 is certain death.

Here’s what you need to know about Verizon’s Go90 service: it was a streaming service that wanted to give subscribers access to films and TV shows, but focus on the social aspect. This included leaning into Tumblra site that isn’t really a social network anymore. Go90 launched in 2015, and was discontinued three years later. It reportedly cost Verizon $1.2 billion. It’s a flop on top of a flop: it was originally known as Intel’s OnCue, but Intel reportedly sold it for a fraction of the asking price after it failed to attract content partners.

Fortunately, Verizon figured out a much more successful way to keep its name in the streaming world, partnering with Disney to give Verizon subscribers a free year of Disney+ in 2019. The move has supposedly been very successful for both companies. Verizon’s Go90 may have gone full Go90, but the Disney partnership is a solid 5. —Julia Alexander

50. Android tablets

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Motorola, Inc.
      
    

  

It’s frustrating to watch companies do something, fail resoundingly, then try again and again expecting different results each time. Such was Google’s decade-long run at sponsoring tablets you’d want to buy. It started with 2011’s Motorola’s Xoom, the flagship device for Android 3.0 — the only version explicitly designed for tablets. It had decent specs, but was mired by a high price, lousy software, and a lack of compelling apps. Tragically, that description also fits most of the tablets Google released after it. I remember rooting for Google when it took even the smallest chances, like with the cutting-edge Samsung Nexus 10, or with the smaller, more affordable Asus Nexus 7. But slight improvements in design didn’t mask that Google’s tablets were at a stand-still by literally every other metric. They were going nowhere, and those were the good years.

Instead, Google stubbornly gunned for Apple’s throne with the Nexus 9the Pixel Cand the Pixel Slate. Every time, it further embarrassed itself as the dents it could make against the iPad, as well as Amazon and Microsoft’s growing hold, kept shrinking. It’s now sworn off tablets altogether. —Cameron Faulkner

49. Vine

  


    
    
      
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Before it was a failure, Vine was a glorious engine of culture. The looping 6-second videos that the app pioneered became a launching pad for comedians and musicians while also introducing countless priceless phrases and memes into the culture. Eyebrows on fleek! A potato flew around my room! Back at it again at the Krispy Kreme! No defunct social network is more fondly remembered.

Unfortunately for Vine, it was purchased in its infancy by Twitter, which might never have known what to do with it, and certainly never figured it out along the way. The New York-based team languished while the Twitter team in San Francisco focused on more pressing problems, including a decade of unprofitability. Vine itself stopped growing when Instagram introduced videos, and advertisers and influencers abandoned the app, and died in 2016 from neglect. It lives on as a series of compilations on YouTube with tens of millions of collective views, and in its spiritual successor, TikTok. —Casey Newton

48. AirPower

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Image: Apple
      
    

  

Apple is usually associated with some of the best engineering and design in the technology world. Usually. AirPower, on the other hand, might be the biggest failure Apple’s had in recent memory, resulting in a product that was reportedly so bad, it never shipped at all. Announced alongside the iPhone X, AirPower promised to be a new kind of wireless charger, that would charge up to three devices all at once (say, an iPhone, an Apple Watch, and AirPods), without having to worry about the specific “sweet spots” of other chargers. But apparently, actually getting that tech to work together was harder than Apple thought, and a year and a half after it was announced, AirPower was unceremoniously canceled by the company. —Chaim Gartenberg

47. Ouya

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  

Ouya seemed like a good idea. Pitched at a time when mobile hardware was rapidly improving but games didn’t really make use of it, the startup proposed sticking an Nvidia Tegra 3 chip into a sleek $99 Yves Behar-designed box, packaging it with a game controller, and curating games for a custom version of Android designed for TV screens. It raised more than $8 million on Kickstarter and is still the tenth most funded project in the platform’s history. Unfortunately the controller was terrible, the software was half-baked, and the store didn’t have any games worth playing. (Okay, except Towerfall.) Razer bought the company’s hollowed-out remains a couple of years after launch and tried to keep the storefront going, but shut it down earlier in 2019. Ouya was one of the earliest and highest profile examples of Kickstarter success turning into real-world failure. —Sam Byford

46. Essential Phone

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge
      
    

  

When the Essential Phone debuted, it was a little bit mind-blowing: its screen pushed right against the top of the phone, with just the slightest cutout for the camera — something we hadn’t seen before. It also seemed promising that it came from Android co-founder Andy Rubin, in his first major project since leaving Google, and the titanium frame felt superb. But the company’s promises of camera quality and durability turned out to be hugely overblown, the software started out riddled with bugs, and it wound up shipping nearly two months after Rubin promised — only a month later, the iPhone X arrived with a notched screen as well.

Few bothered to buy an Essential Phone, and the company reportedly canceled development of a second phone less than a year later. Now, there’s another shadow hanging over the company and its new project: revelations about the sexual misconduct allegations that pushed Rubin out of Google in the first place. —Jake Kasternakes

45. Samsung Bixby

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge
      
    

  

Apple had Siri, Amazon had Alexa, Google had Google Assistant. Each was a voice-activated helper that would change how we interact with our devices on a fundamental level. On the other hand, there’s Bixby, Samsung’s also-ran attempt to jump on the voice assistant bandwagon. Samsung tried really hard to get Bixby to work, going as far as adding a mandatory Bixby button to some of its phones. But Samsung’s assistant just wasn’t very good, and with the plethora of other options available on Android — like the native Google Assistant that was bundled by default on every Bixby phone — Samsung’s option mostly served to piss off people who wanted to use the Bixby Button for something else. But unlike many of the things on this list, Bixby still exists today, even if Samsung’s flagship Bixby hardware, the Galaxy Home, still hasn’t shipped. —Chaim Gartenberg

44. Hyperloop

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Tesla Motors
      
    

  

A “cross between a Concorde and a railgun and an air hockey table.” That was how Elon Musk described plans for Hyperloop, a “fifth mode of transport” that he unveiled to the world after months of teasing in 2013. The original whitepaper outlined a system of pressurized tubes that would propel pods across the country at speeds of 700 MPH. But the document proved to be little more than an elaborate back-of-the-napkin sketch, with engineers and transport experts pointing out serious structural problems in the plan, and noting that costs had been drastically underestimated.

A bevy of Hyperloop companies have so far failed to produce even a single mile of fully-operational track, and Musk himself has rerouted his ambitions to simply building tunnels for cars. Talk about going underground. —James Vincent

43. Windows 8

  


    
    
      
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Ever wanted your Start menu and button to disappear? And everything else familiar in Windows to be shifted around? Install Windows 8. Microsoft was chasing the iPad hard, and the company went head on into touchscreens while forgetting what people actually use their PCs for. Windows 8 included a tile-based UI, fullscreen Start menu, and an overall confusing interface for keyboard and mouse users. Thankfully, Microsoft quickly recovered from a disaster with Windows 10. —Tom Warren

42. Antennagate

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Apple
      
    

  

Apple doesn’t screw things up often, but when it does make mistakes, they tend to go big. And none were as big as “Antennagate,” a problem with the iPhone 4 that saw signal strength drop when the external antennas were blocked by simply holding the phone. Then-CEO Steve Jobs infamously advised one customer to “just avoid holding it that way.” The issue escalated, with Apple first issuing a software update to address a “mistake” in how antenna bars were displayed, before eventually admitting to the defect and supplying iPhone 4 customers with free cases. Antennagate would come to define a classic Apple scandal: deny the problem, issue a software update, and then eventually, reluctantly make amends with customers. —Chaim Gartenberg

41. WeWork’s attempt to go public

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
      
    

  

Founded in 2010, WeWork wasn’t originally just a co-working space. Pushed by SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son in 2016 to make the business “ten times bigger than your original plan,” Adam Neumann set off on a pot- and tequila-filled journey to make a Facebook for real life — a community you’d never have to leave. You could send your kid to WeGrow; you could rent a room in WeLive; and obviously, work at WeWork. While the coworking spaces were often popular among startups — making the real estate market more manageable — many of the other choices WeWork made were nonsensical, and when the required filings around an initial public offering came out, well, most of the internet pointed and laughed. WeWork had a sky-high valuation more befitting a company engaged in software as a service than, well, a real-estate concern.

Though the last funding round WeWork had received gave the company a valuation of $47 billion, Bloomberg reported that the IPO would value the company at $20 billion to $30 billion. Then that estimate dropped to $10 billionper Reuters. Then the IPO was shelved, Neumann resigned as CEOand took a healthy $1.7 billion payout to leave the company’s board. WeWork has trimmed its wings, selling or shuttering some businesses and laying off employees. Whether the company will recover is an open question. There is, however, some good news: Nicholas Braun, best known as Succession’s Cousin Greg, will play Neumann in a WeWork project — airdate tbd. —Liz Lopatto

40. Google’s Project Ara

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Google
      
    

  

The dream of modular smartphones began in 2013 with the Phonebloks concept video from Dave Hakkens. It galvanized our dormant desire for a flexible handheld device that could last forever, or at least a few years longer than the disposable designs that had transfixed Apple and Samsung. Prefer face ID over a fingerprint scanner? Snap your preference into the base frame. More speed? Pop in a new CPU/GPU/memory core. Improved photos? “Okay, Google, eject the camera.” Google’s new Motorola division took the concept and ran with itbefore stumbling at the finish line and calling it quits in 2016. Truly, the end of an Ara. —Thomas Ricker

39. Microsoft Kinect

  


    
    
      
        via <a href=cdn2.sbnation.com" data-upload-width="1020" src="https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/9qt0pBewSdIqpdlsGxDlLNgbiok=/0x0:1020×675/1200×0/filters:focal(0x0:1020×675):no_upscale()/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/14392694/DSC_4575-hero_verge_super_wide.1419979721.jpg"/>

    
  

  

Microsoft’s 3D camera peripheral can’t be written off as a total failure. It sold well out of the gate, it was popular among artists and researchers, and Apple eventually bought the company behind its technology to power the iPhone X’s Face ID. But despite Microsoft’s insistence that “You are the controller,” its promise for gaming never panned out. Microsoft’s focus on Kinect turned out to be a huge strategic blunder, particularly when the Xbox One debuted. The Xbox One was compromised from a price and design perspective by the inclusion of a Kinect in every box — with almost no worthwhile games to show for it. Microsoft later took a dramatic decision to discontinue the device entirely, even removing its connector on subsequent Xbox One revisions. —Sam Byford

38. Color

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  

All but forgotten today, few Silicon Valley startups ever had as much hype before their debut. Color’s hype stemmed from the massive $41 million its co-founders raised in 2011 to build the app, a photo-sharing service designed to help you explore the world around you. Instead of following individuals, as on Instagram, on Color you would open the app to see what pictures that nearby users had posted. The app was mocked widely at the time for its bizarre user interface, which used strange invented characters for basic functions and was hilariously difficult to navigate as a result. Just a year and a half after launch, Color denied reports that it was shutting its doors — and a month later, confirmed them.

Ultimately, Instagram was just a much better photo-sharing app than Color was — unless you were at a special event, it was almost always more interesting to look at photos from people you knew or had followed for a particular reason than to look at whatever photos people were posting around you. Still, Instagram ultimately offered various ways to view photos and videos by location, too. —Casey Newton

37. Nikon 1

  


    
    
      
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This list has a lot of bad products on it, but few where the most plausible explanation for their failure was that they were designed to suck on purpose. That could well have been the case with the Nikon 1 system, a range of mirrorless cameras with terrible controls, small 1-inch sensors, and slow lenses that was wholly uncompetitive against the likes of Sony, Fujifilm, and Olympus. Nikon apparently figured that in order to create a truly modern mirrorless camera, you needed a new lens mount, which could have risked erasing the company’s biggest lock-in advantage: its huge line-up of F-mount SLR lenses that dates back to the 50s. The Nikon 1 range, then, was seemingly intended to attract compact camera upgraders without cannibalizing its DSLR business.

The system had its advantages, like great autofocus performance and the best underwater camera ever made, but the image quality was so unimpressive it made no sense for almost anyone to buy. The real nail in its coffin was the Sony RX100, which offered the same size sensor in a smaller, more useful package. Sony is now on its seventh iteration of that hugely successful range, while Nikon finally gave in last year and released its first full-frame Z-mount mirrorless cameras. —Sam Byford

36. Google’s smartwatch ambitions

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Photo by James Bareham / The Verge
      
    

  

Google hasn’t had the best time with smartwatches. In the early six years since it announced Android Wear, including its relaunch as Wear OS, it’s powered dozens of devices without producing a single watch to truly challenge Apple — generally delivering huge, hulking watches and/or poor battery life. In 2016, Google reportedly pulled out of a deal to launch LG-made, Pixel-branded smartwatches because it felt they would hurt Google’s hardware brand. And yet it still didn’t look great for the Wear OS brand when LG later released the watches on its own. Some brands like Motorola and Asus gave up on the platform years ago.

Now, Google seems to be taking matters into its own hands (wrists?) after paying millions for Fossil mystery smartwatch tech and $2.1 billion for Fitbit. But each minute that passes without a good Google smartwatch is another opportunity for Apple. —Jay Peters

35. Young Blood

Siphoning blood from young people and injecting it into old people sounds like something out of a fairy tale (the scary kind, not the Disney kind). But starting around 2016, salesmen promised that strapping into an IV of the stuff might help prevent Alzheimer’s, improve skin quality, and enhance athleticism. Peter Thiel was reportedly interested. People lined up to pay one young blood startup, called Ambrosia, $8,000 a liter for blood from people under the age of 25. Then, in February 2019, the FDA stepped in to squash the hype.

Despite the claims, there’s no actual evidence that young blood has any health benefits. And even necessary blood transfusions can have dangerous side effects, so there’s no point in taking the risk. It might be possible to identify helpful compounds floating in the blood of younger people that might eventually become helpful drugs, but that’s many years away. For now, you’re better off spending $8,000 somewhere else. —Nicole Wetsman

34. Amazon HQ2

  


    
    
      
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When Amazon announced it was looking for a location to build a second headquarters, it decided to turn the whole thing into a contest — with cities across the US practically begging the retail giant to select them in hopes of new economic opportunities. But after many, many months of trotting out finalist cities like some kind of pageant, Amazon didn’t actually pick a needy city for a true second HQ. Instead, it opted for two regional offices in New York City and Arlington, Virginia. The former didn’t take the news well. When New Yorkers, already struggling with various infrastructure and housing issues, learned Amazon would be getting more than $1 billion in incentives, they waged a months-long battle against Amazon that culminated in the company abandoning its plans altogether. (Amazon is still building offices in NYC, just not the giant headquarters of Jeff Bezos’ dreams.) It’s as if we never learned you can’t conduct the business of an entire town (or country) like a reality show. —Natt Garun

33. Sony PlayStation Vita

  


    
    
      
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Unlike most products on this list, the PlayStation Vita delighted most people who bought it. The trouble was that not very many people did. A gorgeous piece of hardware capable of powering games far more ambitious than had previously been seen on handheld consoles, the Vita ended up finding its niche as a portable indie game machine and a handy PS4 Remote Play controller. There was certainly something to be said for playing Spelunky on the bus, and the stream of “free” PlayStation Plus titles meant the Vita was always worth keeping in your bag. But Sony simply didn’t support it with the type of software it was designed for, and the console never fulfilled its true potential. It’s estimated to have sold roughly as poorly as Nintendo’s Wii U, one of the worst-selling Nintendo systems ever, and many times worse than its PlayStation Portable predecessor. —Sam Byford

Correction: The Wii U wasn’t the worst-selling Nintendo system ever, which is something Sean added during an edit; it was one of Nintendo’s worst-selling home consoles, but the Virtual Boy reportedly sold fewer than 1 million after its 1995 debut.

32. Red Hydrogen

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
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RED’s cameras had such an impact on digital filmmaking, that it was easy to buy into the company’s ceaseless hype around its first steps into the smartphone world. According to RED founder Jim Jannard, the Hydrogen One would have a “holographic display” and revolutionize filmmaking with a new and improved 3D format called “4V.” It’d even be able to attach to RED cameras and be used with a RED imaging sensor and compatible lenses. Then, the phone appeared.

It’s hard to sum up exactly what went wrong, because it’s kind of everything: the basics were dated and flawed. And the fancy new features were outright bad — the screen was far from holographic, and the 3D effect looked more like a lenticular lunchbox than a next-gen revolution (let alone something good enough for this generation of mediocre 3D). The fancy accessories never launched, and at $1,300, there was just no redeeming this device. Eventually, Jannard would leave the company citing health concerns and shut the phone project down on his way out. —Jake Kasternakes

31. Zynga’s acquisition of Draw Something

  


    
    
      
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Zynga was perhaps the biggest winner from the anything-goes era of Facebook’s desktop web era, in which developers could get seemingly infinite traffic by posting stories to your News Feed whenever any person took any action inside their app. But in the early 2010s, desktop Facebook began to wane, and so one day in February 2012, Zynga announced it would spend $183 million on OMGPOP, makers of a popular iOS and Android game called Draw Something. The basic idea was “what if we copied Pictionary in basically every way, but didn’t call it that?” It generated 20 million downloads in its first five weekswhich would still be an impressive feat today. (At the time, Instagram had only 27 million downloads. Foursquare had 15 million.)

The thing is, who wants to play Pictionary for more than a couple weeks? Draw Something printed money for a few weeks — it was supported by advertising and also sold various in-game perks — but by May the user base was in free fall. A year later, Zynga shut down OMGPOP and laid off its employees. It was the start of a brutal few years at Zynga that saw its founding CEO slink out the door. The most amazing thing about all this is that Zynga survived, and it’s basically fine now? Franchises like Farmville and Words With Friends kept it afloat, and Draw Somethingsomehow, is still in active development. —Casey Newton

30. Game of Thrones’ ending

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
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It wasn’t supposed to be like this. Going into 2019, Game of Thrones seemed poised to be the kind of cultural juggernaut with an ending that would be talked about for years. And in a way, it was — just probably not in the way that HBO or the showrunners had hoped. Plot threads were rushed, story beats were thrown out with apparent lack of concern for characterization, past history, or common sense, culminating in a final episode that saw the hottest TV show in recent memory fizzle out with the saddest of whimpers. Things like “subtlety” or “logic” were thrown out the window, as Game of Thrones did whatever the polar opposite of “sticking the landing” is.

It turns out, writing an ending to Game of Thrones that’s actually good is as hard of a task as George R.R. Martin has said all these years. Odds are, we’ll still be talking about Game of Thrones in the years to come — if only to puzzle out just where exactly everything went wrong. —Chaim Gartenberg

29. Healthcare.gov

  


    
    
      
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When Congress successfully passed President Obama’s signature legislation, the Affordable Care Act, in 2010, it seemed like the hard part was over. But the administration wasn’t prepared for the true opposition: poor web design. The rollout of healthcare.gov, where Americans were supposed to sign up for insurance under Obamacare, was chaos. The site crashed repeatedly, rendering it totally inaccessible. Jon Stewart roasted it as “the weakest link.” Obama told the public that “interest way exceeded expectations, and that’s the good news.” The bad news? Almost everything else. —Colin Lecher

28. Equifax

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
      
    

  

Cybersecurity tends to make the average person’s eyes glaze over, but it seemed like everyone paid attention to the Equifax hack. That’s mostly because of how monumental the consumer reporting agency’s screwup was. More than 143 million Americans’ Social Security numbers were exposed, as well as birth dates, addresses, and driver’s license numbers. Credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 people were accessed as well.

It was such a colossal disaster that the incident has practically become synonymous with the company’s brand name. Oh, did we mention the that former chief information officer of the company was convicted of insider trading for selling stock before the breach was disclosed? Equifax eventually settled for $700 million, but the mess didn’t end there. Only $31 million was set apart for the $125 per-person payouts, and the Federal Trade Commission had to later issue a public notice that nobody would actually receive that sum due to the sheer volume of affected Americans requesting the cash. Que pesadelo. —Nick Statt

27. The FTC’s $5 billion Facebook fine

  


    
    
      
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To Facebook, a company that brought in over $16 billion in revenue in 2019, losing $5 billion is nothing. In July 2019, the Federal Trade Commission ended its year-long investigation into the company over its alleged misuse of user data and privacy scandals (like Cambridge Analytica) with that meager multi-billion-dollar settlement. It’s worth repeating once more: a record-setting $5 billion fine was such a relief to investors that Facebook’s stock price went up.

We’ll never know what would have happened if the FTC had pursued the company in court, instead of opting to end its probe quickly and get some lofty-looking numbers in headlines as an attempt to make the agency appear as though it treated Facebook harsher than what it actually did. If the company was found guilty, it would have at least been forced to admit fault — something it will never have to do for its alleged data abuses throughout the 2010s. —Makena Kelly

26. Everything will.i.am touches

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  

Most famous for winning the competitive battle for being the worst member of the Black Eyed Peas, will.i.am (né William) struck it out on his own in the past decade as a solo artist. He’s responsible for what I believe is the worst song of the decade, ”T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)” which is — and I am not joking here — entirely about boners. One line goes: “I woke up in the morning / hard like morning wood in the morning.”

will.i.am’s other solo act was as a tech entrepreneur, which involved a series of products, decisions, and acquisitions that I would also describe as boners. In 2012, will.i.am founded i.am+, which produced garish iPhone cases with slide-out keyboards and a separate camera. This would be his least bad idea over the next eight years. Next he launched the Puls, a smartwatch which our own Dan Seifert called “the worst product I’ve touched all year.” He followed it up with another smartwatch — this one voice activated, for no apparent reason — called Dial that nobody bought. Then there was the Delorean-inspired car IAMAUTO, a vehicle that was immediately impounded for not being street legalbut did make me better appreciate when will.i.am’s branding is lowercase and separated by periods. i.am+ later acquired Wink, pivoting to a business focused on smart home, AI, and losing gobs and gobs of money. Things got so bad that employees went months without pay. Also, somewhere in there, will.i.am had time to become chief creative officer of a company that 3D prints bullshit.

What does the next decade look like for will.i.am? This December, he launched Buttons, a new company featuring — checks notes — wireless earbuds, which means we can look forward to 10 more years of boners. —Kevin Nguyen

25. HP TouchPad

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  

What do you get when you take Apple’s first-generation iPad, replace its metal frame with a greasy plastic body, give it a grainy touchscreen, install a new software platform with next to no third-party app support, and then put it on shelves for the same price as the iPad in July 2011, four months after the iPad 2 was released? You get the HP TouchPad, an unmitigated disaster of a product that not only sold terribly, but also completely torpedoed the webOS mobile device platform.

The TouchPad was such a failure that less than two months after launch, HP announced it would discontinue all webOS devices — phones and tablets included — and slashed the price of the TouchPad from $499 down to a measly $99 for the 16GB model. Only then did it actually start moving off shelves, and the company made another production run in order to use up components it had left over. By 2012, the TouchPad was a faded memory, and in 2013, HP sold all of its webOS assets to LG, which would utilize them for its TV line. webOS for phones and tablets was officially dead as we knew it, and we can blame the TouchPad for its demise. —Dan Seifert

24. Juicero

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Juicero
      
    

  

Juicero promised the world juice sold in a pouch. Not a juice box, how dare you, but a pouch of fresh fruits and vegetables sealed into a QR code-verified pouch that required a $700 machine counterpart to squeeze the pouch and release the sweet, sweet juice. The dream seemed real enough — like Keurig but for juice, got it. But then, investors and Bloomberg discovered that the machine, the lynchpin of the entire Juicero operation, wasn’t even needed. People could squeeze their juice packs by hand. By hand! The company shut down shortly after the damning news.

At least the company offered to refund people for their machine, but wow, juice pouches, not juice boxes, and a machine to squeeze them all funded by venture capitalists. We should have seen this failure coming. —Ashley Carman

23. Steam Machines

  


    
    
      
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        Valve Corporation
      
    

  

In 2012, The Verge exclusively revealed that Valve was building a game console. I predicted it would be a Linux-based PC. Gabe Newell himself confirmed our reporting, and we excitedly wrote “How Valve’s Steam Box will reinvent the game console as you know it.” I still believe it could have played out that way.

But while Valve managed to build an extremely impressive console-sized gaming PC and an intriguing controller to go with it, the company’s overall plan relied on a wide array of partners to do the heavy lifting, and Valve didn’t have enough carrots or sticks to keep them on track. The Steam Machines finally launched in 2014 with a laughable, confusing array of computers, some far more expensive than a console, and they only supported a fraction of the games in Steam’s catalog. Valve’s utter reliance on game developers meant that even games that had been ported to Linux wouldn’t necessarily work on SteamOS. And unlike with the new VR-exclusive Half-Life: AlyxValve was unwilling to pledge any games exclusively to the new paradigm.

In the end, Valve’s partners decided to ship Windows instead, or in addition to SteamOS, if they didn’t cancel their console-esque computers altogether. Valve quietly hid the Steam Machine section of its store last year and put the Steam Controller, the last remaining piece of its failed initiative, on $5 fire sale this November. —Sean Hollister

22. Nintendo’s Wii U

  


    
    
      
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The best thing you can say about the Wii U is that had it not flamed out so remarkably, we wouldn’t have the Switch. Nintendo’s Wii successor was a disastrous product on almost every level, from its low-quality touchscreen controller to its bafflingly slow software and its confusing, derivative name. Most damningly of all, Nintendo quickly ran out of ideas for how to make use of its own hardware. The Wii U library includes some of Nintendo’s best games ever, from Super Mario 3D World to Mario Kart 8 to Breath of the Wildbut almost all of them could be played on the GamePad controller without any dual-screen functionality. While it was nice to be able to play some great games around the house, it made for a convoluted waste of hardware.

“Shouldn’t the GamePad just be its own, truly portable system?” wondered everyone. Thankfully, Nintendo agreed in the end. The Wii U became Nintendo’s worst-selling home console of the modern era with just 13.56 million sales worldwide, and the Switch eclipsed it with less than a year on the market. —Sam Byford

21. Dieselgate

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Photo by Anthony Dias / The Verge
      
    

  

The biggest automotive scandal of the decade started when a group of West Virginia University researchers stumbled across some abnormalities in an emissions tests of a Volkswagen Jetta and Passat. Since then, almost everyone important at VW has been charged in the so-called Dieselgate. The whole scheme was laughably criminal: VW engineers installed defeat devices — pieces of code labelled “acoustic condition” — designed to help the company’s diesel vehicles trick regulators into thinking they emitted less pollution than they actually did.

VW has paid more than $30 billion in fines since getting caught and has vowed to spend billions more in an effort to become a leader in electric vehicles. In other words, that cloud of diesel smog may have a silver lining to it. —Andrew Hawkins

20. Windows RT

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  

Windows RT started off life dazed and confused, with a ridiculous name that meant nothing to anyone. It powered Microsoft’s first Surface RT tablet, and it had a desktop mode that looked like regular Windows. Except it wasn’t regular Windows, as you couldn’t install all your favorite desktop apps — something that Microsoft didn’t bother to explain to buyers or even its own Microsoft Store employees. If you weren’t confused enough already, the Surface RT was also painfully slow and lacked tablet apps. The Surface RT wound up bombing so hard that Microsoft wrote off $900 million in tablets it couldn’t sell. Microsoft thought everyone would want a Surface RT, but it turned out that everyone actually wanted real Windows. —Tom Warren

19. GoPro Karma

  


    
    
      
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        Photo by Sean O’Kane / The Verge
      
    

  

Some things you never forget, and for me, one of those things is that GoPro recalled its first drone on the night of the 2016 election. Yeah, sure, maybe that was just coincidental timing — after all, the drones were literally falling out of the sky thanks to a faulty battery latch design, so something had to be done. But if there was ever a time to drop some bad news, I’m guessing using the most-watched (and most controversial) election as cover would have been a pretty easy call.

Karma was an okay drone, especially if viewed purely as a literal vehicle for GoPro’s excellent cameras (which is how the company always tried to market it). But it lacked the sorts of advanced features that DJI developed on its way to full-on dominance of the drone market, so it’s no surprise that Karma never really took hold. That said, Karma’s demise is also a good example of how failure can be a good thing for a company. GoPro announced the Karma at a time when the company’s product lineup was at its most bloated. When it failed, it helped push GoPro to refocus its efforts on what it’s truly good at: making (basically) one really damn good action camera. —Sean O’Kane

18. BlackBerry

  


    
    
      
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At the start of the decade, BlackBerry was on top of the world. Even as the iPhone turned five, BlackBerry-owner Research in Motion had record subscribers and its iconic PDA-style cell phones were still the must-have gadgets of teenagers, business executives, and celebrities alike. But within months of its all-time subscriber high of more than 80 million in the summer of 2012, everything started to unravel. The iPhone 4S had been released the year prior, and Apple’s iOS was adding new features at a rapid clip, while Google’s Android operating system started catching on globally.

Instead of focusing on its strengths, BlackBerry instead released an alarming and inexplicable series of misguided products. From the PlayBook tablet that shipped without an email client to the disastrous BlackBerry 10 OS, the company released one embarrassing flop after another in pretty much every product category imaginable. Even when BlackBerry went back to basics, like with the physical keyboard on the Android-powered Privthe company realized far too late in the game that it was never going to catch up to Apple and Google. The BlackBerry brand is best known now as a footnote in the history of mobile computing. —Nick Statt

17. Hoverboards

  


    
    
      
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When so-called “hoverboards” first became a fad in 2015 — with teens, tweens, even full-grown adults zipping down the streets like floating statues while barely moving faster than if they’d just walked — the ridicule was already strong. Where was the Back to the Future levitation we’d been promised? Why would we embrace the WALL-E future where humans are lazy bums? But it quickly developed into full-blown schadenfreude when it turned out the shoddily made contraptions had a tendency to literally burst into flames. Whether it was fear, humiliation, or simply the arrival of more practical electric scooters, it feels like hoverboards fizzled fast: I frequently see them on deep discount online, but rarely in person. —Sean Hollister

16. Faraday Future

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  

Faraday Future was at one point the most hyped EV startup in the world. It hired away top talent from the biggest tech and automotive companies by liberally spending its billionaire founder’s money, and at the same time, insisted on overwhelming secrecy. That combination fueled so much speculation about the startup’s intentions that, at one point, it was thought Faraday Future was a front for Apple’s own secretive car project. Many believed it would take on Tesla, or perhaps even take it down.

Yeah, nope. As The Verge has documented in great detail over the last three years, Faraday Future is now more well-known for rampant mismanagement, sketchy financial dealings, and ceaseless drama. The company does still exist, but it has teetered on the brink for more than two years now, all without shipping one single car. And even if Faraday Future ever does put its gaudy, fast, screen-laden electric SUV on the road, the majority of people who worked on the car have already left the company. —Sean O’Kane

15. Fyre Festival

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Image: Fyre Festival LLC
      
    

  

Every generation gets the scam it deserves; remember Enron? Or how about the original Ponzi scheme, perpetrated by one Charles Ponzi? What about Fyre Festival?

Yeah. You remember Fyre Festival. As far as grifts go, it was very, very good — at least to watch from a distance. The year was 2017: Billy McFarland made up an expensive festival with the washed rapper Ja Rule, didn’t plan anything, got a whole lot of people to pay for the privilege, and then spent the money on himself and influencers to promote the charade. When attendees got to the island and started tweeting pictures of their accommodations (FEMA tents, sad cheese sandwiches), an immediate wave of schadenfreude washed over the ‘net. By and large, the people who got scammed were the kind of people who have money, at least in a conspicuous, Instagrammy way.

It was, in other words, a flop. McFarland got six years. (Despite being something of a co-founder, Ja Rule got off scot free.) The saga spawned a pair of documentaries, a countless number of blogs, and kicked off a rising wave of interest in grifters that’s continued to this day. We’re post-Fyre in so many ways — especially in how we talk about scams now. But at the end of the day / decade, what should be very clear is how much we still enjoy a good scam. Provided we’re not caught up in it. —Bijan Stephen

14. Apple Maps

  


    
    
      
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Tired of defaulting to its competitor, Google, for its mapping services, Apple decided to launch its own version in 2012 alongside iOS 6. It was an ambitious feat given how much of the mapping market Google already had, and it turned out, well, utterly embarrassing for Apple. Apple Maps was buggy, lacked public transit information, and in some areas and countries, offered literally nothing but blank voids or misplaced landmarks. The fumble eventually lead to the firings of multiple Apple executives who led its Maps project, and the company would spend the next decade proving to everyone it could build an actual competitor to Google Maps.

Seven years later, Apple Maps has been rebuilt from the ground up. Yet as of September 2019, detailed transit directions are only offered in 10 cities globally while Google has sent Street View expeditions to space. Good luck catching up with that. —Natt Garun

13. Microsoft Kin

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
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Before Windows Phone, there were the Microsoft Kin — the “social phones” that the company infamously discontinued just six weeks after they went on sale in May 2010 because they were that particularly annoying combination of terrible and expensive. The Kin One and Kin Two were supposed to be the second coming of the popular T-Mobile Sidekick — whose creator, Danger, was snapped up by Microsoft for an estimated $500 million to work on this specific project — and featured a unique interface that put social networking feed front and center and let you drag and drop items to share with friends.

But they also featured a hilariously untenable monthly price tag of $30 per month for a Verizon data plan, on top of your phone plan. They launched without support for Twitter replies or retweets, or YouTube, and without microSD storage even though SanDisk had announced that specific feature. Word was that forces within Microsoft had sabotaged the project in favor of the upcoming Windows Phone. That makes sense, considering Microsoft knew full well that focus groups hated it. The company wound up writing off the Kin to the tune of at least $240 million, not counting what it paid for Danger. —Sean Hollister

12. Coolest Cooler

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Coolest Cooler
      
    

  

Coolest Cooler started as one of the highest funded Kickstarter projects ever — raising over $13 million in 2014 for a cooler with a built in party speaker and blender lid. It closed off the decade with its maker, Coolest, shutting down after only delivering two-thirds of the 60,000 coolers it had promised to backers. (Not cool.)

In between, the company made a number of missteps, like angering people by selling the product on Amazon before sending them to backers first, and offering backers the option of “expedited shipping”, for an extra $97. Coolest blamed the increase in Chinese tariffs for its ultimate demise, but the wild saga of its failed Kickstarter stands an emblematic symbol of the risks of crowdfunding. —Dami Lee

11. MoviePass

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Graphic by William Joel / The Verge
      
    

  

MoviePass seemed too good to be true, because it was. It was glorious while it lasted, but offering people the chance to watch one movie a day in theaters, for the low price of $9.99 a month, was clearly an unsustainable business model. MoviePass was hoping that people wouldn’t actually take them up on their offer,but subscribers were doing that and more — people were using their passes as an excuse to use theater bathrooms, or get their parking validated.

Throughout the course of its tumultuous existence, the company ran into a number of disasters, like exposing its customers’ credit card numbers online, forcibly re-enrolling customers even after they’d cancelled their service, and having to shut down the app for several weeks to make updates. Though MoviePass finally perished recently, it inspired theater chains to offer their own, better-run subscription services. AMC Stubs and Regal Unlimited are two of the major ones, and moviegoers have MoviePass to thank for changing the theater experience forever. —Dami Lee

10. Apple’s butterfly Keyboard

Boy did Apple get it wrong with its “butterfly” keyboard, first introduced in the 2015 12-inch MacBook and eventually used on the MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. The butterfly keyboard is often held up as the peak (or more accurately, nadir) of Apple’s preference to emphasize form over function, as it was specifically designed to allow for thinner laptop bodies. But in doing so, Apple reduced the travel of the keys to a scant 1mm, which many found unpleasant under their fingers, and the keyboard was significantly louder to type on compared to prior MacBook models or other laptops.

But those were just the tip of the failberg for the butterfly keyboard. Once the butterfly keyboard showed up in 2016’s redesigned MacBook Pro, it didn’t take long for owners to complain about sticking keys that would either not work at all or would type two letters at a time. In typical Apple fashion, the company’s initial response was to deny the problem and instructed owners to use canned air to blow out any dust or debris that might be causing the keys to stick. Those that brought their computers to a Genius Bar were often met with high repair bills and long wait times, as the only way to “fix” the keyboard was to replace it entirely.

Apple eventually released four generations of the butterfly keyboard, each one slightly modified to try to improve reliability, and in 2018 it introduced an extended warranty program that provided four years of repair coverage from the purchase date. In late 2019, Apple finally released a new 16-inch MacBook Pro that returned to the scissor switch design that has longer key travel, less noise, and better reliability, though as of this publish, the company continues to sell the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro that still use the ill-fated butterfly keyboard. Dan Seifert

9. The concept of privacy

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge
      
    

  

Back in 2010, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg caused a minor uproar by suggesting that privacy was passébut insisted he’d been misconstrued. And yes, the US government had implemented a sweeping wiretapping program in the wake of 9/11 — but its legal violations were supposedly in the past. The following decade, unfortunately, didn’t bear these reassurances out. We soon learned the NSA was conscripting phone and internet companies to spy on the entire country. Our lives were monitored through smartphones, home surveillance equipment, online DNA databases, and everyone from credit card companies to the DMV selling records of our behavior. People still care about privacy — but it’s harder than ever to come by. —Adi Robertson

8. Google’s messaging strategy

  


    
    
      
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Which messaging apps? Take your pick, there have been so many. But the grandaddy of all of Google’s messaging flops in the last decade has to be Google Hangouts. Not because it was itself a terrible product — but because it did a bad job replacing a beloved one and then was left to twist in the winds of Google’s ever-changing corporate priorities and restructurings. It withered and died, converted into a haphazard and little-used Slack competitor that was quickly and efficiently overshadowed by Microsoft Teams. Then Google invested in Allo but didn’t really try and it bombed too. Then Google just gave up: cell phone carriers now control the future of Google’s messaging apps. Guess how well that’s going. —Dieter Bohn

7. 3D TV

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
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Coming off the enormous success that was 2009’s Avatar3D TV was supposed to bring a new level of immersion to the way people viewed movies in their living room. But unlike in theaters, where 3D screenings are still fairly common, the effort to bring that same experience home failed miserably. No one wanted to wear goofy 3D glasses during downtime on their couch. And the screen sizes of most TVs don’t showcase 3D in the same way content popping out of a giant movie theater screen can. TV companies continued to back 3D for several years, and there was a decent selection of 3D Blu-rays to choose from. But people just never took to it, and you can only force a feature on people for so long. By the latter half of the 2010s, the industry gave up on the dream and moved toward HDR and other picture enhancements that don’t require glasses. —Chris Welch

6. Fire Phone

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  

One of the most incredible facts about the last decade is that Jeff Bezos has had more success sending rockets into space than creating an Amazon smartphone. The Fire Phone, as it was called, was a truly tremendous flop of a product. Amazon took a nearly $200 million hit, which led to one of its worst financial quarters in history.

The Fire Phone failed in large part because it just felt half-baked. It ran truly awful software, was loaded with gimmicks, and perhaps most egregiously, it didn’t do enough to hide its ultimate purpose of becoming a vehicle for goosing Amazon sales. This was all the more remarkable because Bezos allegedly micro-managed the project from its inception. The man may have built a multibillion-dollar empire that will one day literally let him leave Earth, but that will never change the fact that his company’s smartphone was so bad that Amazon couldn’t even give them away. —Sean O’Kane

5. Google Glass

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  

Google Glass debuted with skydivers. Yes, Google co-founder Sergey Brin stormed the stage during a Google event at Moscone Center in 2012 to bring viewers a livestream of skydivers wearing Google Glass, who wore the glasses while they landed on top of the convention center. These connected glasses would change the world was the conceit. And they could have, until they freaked people out so much that the entire device failed to ever take off. People wearing the glasses became “glassholes;” Robert Scoble alarmingly posed with them in the shower; and concerned citizens worried about the privacy implications of a camera staring at them at any moment. Since it stopped shipping to consumers in 2015, Snapchat resurrected the idea of a camera in glasses with its Spectacles and dodged the fate of Google Glass. Meanwhile, Google kept its Glass dream alive with enterprise versions, but Google Glass’ shadow still hangs over every AR headset targeted at consumers. Maybe the world just isn’t ready. —Ashley Carman

4. Windows Phone


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Nokia
      
    

  

Microsoft shipped Windows Phone with a giant party celebrating the impending death of the iPhone. Opa Despite its flashy tile-based UI, Windows Phone wasn’t the phone OS to save us from our phones as Microsoft promised.

Instead, the company spent years trying in vain to convince developers to create apps for Windows Phone, and destroying Nokia in the process — first spending $7.2 billion to acquire Nokia’s phone business, then writing off the entire purchase as a failed experiment, cutting thousands of jobs and wasting at least an additional billion along the way. Mistakes were certainly made, especially when Ballmer laughed at the iPhone for lacking a physical keyboard. Guess who’s laughing now?

Bill Gates called Microsoft’s lack of leadership in the smartphone era his “greatest mistake ever,” and Windows Phone let the world watch that mistake play out as a slow-motion train wreck. —Tom Warren

3. Theranos

  


    
    
      
        

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Photo: Drew Kelly / Sundance Institute
      
    

  

Once valued at $9 billion and seemingly poised to revolutionize medicine with a breakthrough blood test so easy you could do it at the drugstore, Theranos went out of business in 2018 after The Wall Street Journal exposed that the company’s proprietary blood test didn’t actually work — and that CEO and founder Elizabeth Holmes had tricked VCs, corporate executives, and customers by using standard lab blood tests instead of the product she was selling. It appears to have been a giant scam. Holmes was later indicted for fraud, and earlier this year, her lawyers said she hadn’t paid them in months.

Theranos was a dark failure and a harbinger of things to come as other highly valued startups couldn’t fulfill their promises to investors. —Ashley Carman

2. Samsung Galaxy Note 7

  


    
    
      
        note 7 in a puddle" data-upload-width="2040" src=

    
  

  
    
      
      
        James Bareham / The Verge
      
    

  

When Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 first hit the review cycle on August 17, 2016, the reviewers went nuts over how wonderful it was — including, we have to admit, ours. “Galaxy Note 7 reviews have hit the internet this week and the consensus among them is that it might be the best designed smartphone ever,” we gushed. That was before the first phone exploded. Along with part of Samsung’s reputation.

By September 1st, there had been reports of at least 35 phones bursting into flames. Samsung issued a humble and apologetic statement in which the company announced it was recalling the Note 7 and issuing replacement devices. Okay, fine — except they promptly also began catching fire, including at least one on a plane, which caused the TSA to ban all Note 7s. Samsung was in all the headlines, but definitely not in a good way.

Eventually, instead of digging its own grave, Samsung dug one for the Note 7: it recalled all the phones and sent out a software update that made existing devices useless. The company’s decision to finally own its exploding phones and make good by replacing them with different models was probably what saved the company’s rep back in 2016. Now all it has to do is live down this year’s weird folding phone fail as well. —Barbara Krasnoff

1. Ajit Pai

  


    
    
      
        FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Testifies Before House Appropriations Committee" data-upload-width="4090" src=

    
  

  
    
      
      
        Photo by Alex Edelman/Getty Images
      
    

  

Net neutrality was one of the great success stories of this decade until one man killed it. In 2015, Americans reclaimed the public utility that built the 21st century, protecting it from the greed of monopolistic gatekeepers that had spent vast resources capturing federal regulators. The Open Internet Order established strong net neutrality rules that would have kept companies like Verizon and Comcast in check for years to come. Then came President Trump, and his new FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai.

Pai spent more of his tenure as FCC chairman trying to score points with right-wing media than crafting sensible public policy. His undoing of net neutrality was capricious, irrational, and unpopular. Pai ignored the millions of Americans who demanded net neutrality in favor of a small set of powerful interests, including Verizon, which he once collected a paycheck from.

Sometimes public policy failures are opaque layered with confusing complexities and unintended consequences. But in this case, the failure was clear. It wasn’t a poorly-written bill or bad timing. It was simply the result of regressive behavior from a public servant who would rather please internet service providers than serve the public. —TC Sottek



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