7 Biggest Product Failures of All Time

As business owners of trading, distribution or e-commerce companies (if you’re holding stock), what’s the worst way you can screw up your business?

For starters, having a really bad product is one such way to go down notoriously in the history books.

We are lucky enough to live in the generation of the best products such as the Apple Macbook Pro, the Microsoft Surface, and perhaps Amazon’s drone delivery, but we must not forget that for every good tech product there are hundreds, if not thousands that fail miserably.

And sometimes, there are some that make the news for failing extra hard.

In light of people blindly buying products totaling US$3.34 BILLION over the Black Friday weekend (which they probably won’t use in the coming year), we’d like to commemorate 7 of the worst tech product fails that have ever been created in recent times.

Here’s the list of 7 Biggest Product Failures of All Time

1. Google Glass

Google glass - biggest product failuresGoogle Glass’s failure came about as a mix of product and marketing fails that left the glass shattering all over Google’s dreams.

Marketing took an off day and forgot to clearly convey the purpose of the Glass. There was no clear need for the product, yet it cost a hefty amount and was put into the hands of the wrong ‘early adopters’.

The product team is not going to go unscathed, though as the user interface and design was atrocious, putting people off along with untested health risks and unanswered concerns.

2. Samsung Galaxy Note 7 – One of the biggest product failure of 2016

Samsung Note 7 - Biggest tech failures of 2016

The infamous Phone that Caught Fire. As such will it be remembered in history.

Other than costing the South Korean company more than US$10 billion in recall costs, production and marketing costs, the company also has to deal with the social fallout from people putting Samsung’s phone to the test on multiple social networks.

An engineering failure, it shows how important creating a good product is.

Just one mistake could potentially bring down a multinational conglomerate such as Samsung, costing them stock value and pole position in a very competitive space.

Clearly, a painful lesson to be learned: You can lose everything, but NEVER lose your reputation. Touche.

3. Microsoft Zunezune - the biggest product failure?

A case of catching the bus a little too late, Mircosoft’s Zune cost the tech giant tons of tech ‘street cred’ when it launched Zune.

Other than being labeled a ‘copycat’, and ‘anti-hipster’, Microsoft was reeling from not paying attention to the price points. In fact, the Zune retailed for a dollar MORE than Apple’s 120GB iPod.

Talk about being totally out of touch in the ‘hood y’all!

To be fair, Apple was totally dominating the music scene with the iPod. Heck, even I want one now, the way they used to make them. The last time I checked, sales are still going strong at $400 a pop on Amazon.

4. HP Touchpad

hp-touch-pad-1

The HP Touchpad over promised but dramatically undelivered, and public attention soon died off.

Read one encounter of a reporter’s search for the Touchpad on launch day, and it seems to be harder to find than that missing sock in your drawer.

In fact, the Touchpad failed not so much because of the product, but because of the lack of awareness around it.

A massive public launch six months before the product hit stores was impressive but lacked a shipping date and a price tag. And from this, we learned that fury hath no equal like keeping tech geeks waiting for a product.

Whether the Touchpad could have actually succeeded is anybody’s guess, but the fact that poor marketing and disastrous timing events led to the crash and burn of a what was a bright shining star in the tech world.

5. Segway – The Biggest Failure? 


Segway’s inventor, Dean Kamen was a bit of a prick and a whole other lot of optimistic.

Calling his invention ‘one of the world’s most important’, he overhyped his product but yet still priced it out of reach of the everyday person.

UH-HUH! Wrong business move, buddy. Without a lack of a following and a clear market to sell to, the buzz fizzled rather quickly.

The Segway was also brittle and fragile, and could not live up to the wear and tear of everyday life.

For that mistake, the Segway is now relegated to the occasional sightings of tourists who decide that standing out on a scooter will enhance their tourist experiences or the hipster for whom walking is too mainstream.

6. Windows Vista

windows vista - product failure

Windows Vista was born in a period of great change in the tech industry.

Back in 2008, both Windows and Apple were trying to transition over to a subscription business model, and release content and updates more regularly than the 3-5 years that usually accompany a Windows upgrade.

That move started with Windows XP, and it led to over 70% of the business world adopting it.

Simply put, Vista got outmuscled by its predecessor on this one.

The XP was overall better, compared to the numerous complaints that Vista had to endure. Slow speeds, high memory usage and Vista being Microsoft’s ‘unwanted child’ all made to the top 10 reasons people hate Vista.

7. Sony’s eVilla

sony-evilla-biggest-product-failures-2

eVilla was Sony’s attempt to dabble in the mobile PC world, and that brought it into direct competition with Apple and other major brands like Dell, HP and IBM.

The eVilla was basically a physical product (designed to surf the Internet) in a digital world, where computers were already a generation ahead and able to perform a whole host of functions and applications.

The eVilla simply could not compete, due to a complete misreading of the market, its audience, their needs and available solutions. The final lifespan of the eVilla? Just 16 days.

Conclusion – Lessons learnt from Biggest Product Failures:

This list is not to ridicule products, creators or businesses.

Indeed we need them to keep taking risks to eventually discover good products that will improve our lives. But the fact is that products fail all the time, especially in our fast moving world of technology.

We can learn valuable lessons from these failures and incorporate their lessons to budding businesses with products so that we can profit better.