back to article Ten… top tech cock-ups of 2012

The past year provided us with some wonderful tales of innovation and expertise, but we all like to see a car crash as much as success story, right? So here's a roundup of the most colossal cock-ups of the last 12 months, including face-plants by Google, Facebook, Apple, and others who succumbed to that most universal of human …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Always nice to get some balanced comments regarding Apple. Google could sleep with your wife, Samsung could run over your dog and you would still swear you loved the Galaxy S3 more than your kids ;)

    Happy Christmas / New Year everyone!

    1. SuccessCase

      He, he. At least the author did some work in producing a top ten list. If it was Ms Leach the article would have been titled "The Top One Tech Cock-Up of 2012"

    2. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

      The facts are these:

      1) Apple screws over their customers.

      2) People are starting to wake up to point 1.

      3) Apple are not cool anymore - no innovation and petty litigstion hasn't gone unnoticed.

      It's game over for Apple..

      1. Bob Vistakin
        Mushroom

        And then, just as the great man had proudly walked by to the fawning cries of "ooh' and "aah" from the sycophantic crowd, a small boys' voice was heard by everyone: "but the emperor has no clothes on!"

        Read this and think how much iPads ect really fleece the iSheep: Are display devices becoming like light bulbs?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yeah Apple really screw their customers over by giving them really nice devices - almost certainly the best if you factor in the build quality, iOS, service and support. Samsung may ship devices with similar functionality and even a few tweaks of their own but as a complete system and as for support they are sadly lacking. Maps cockup - yes not perfect but at least we iOS users have both Apple and Google maps and I welcome the competition which will improve both - unless you reckon less competition is good?

        1. DJ Smiley
          WTF?

          How many browser frameworks you got?

          How many Porn Apps?

          How many changable batteries?

          Come back when you realize what choice actually is. Its the ability to choose freely, not be given the option of "death by drowning or death by lack of oxygen due to water inhalation".

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            How much malware you got?

            Updates for how long after a new model is released?

            Fragmentation?

            Is selling your personal information / soul to Google so much better?

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I have an iPhone 3GS that is probably getting on for 4 years old and on the original battery and 'shock' still working fine. If I wanted the battery changing I could get it changes - not as simple as clicking one off but for something that I may need doing every 4-5 years I can live with that if it makes the phone smaller, lighter or they could fit a larger battery in the first place.

            Same issue with CD / DVD drives in laptops - well netbooks and ultra-notebooks are typically to small and given the choice of a longer battery life (that I can use every day) as opposed to a DVD drive (that I may use a few times a year) seems a sensible move. After all I can just carry a USB DVD drive or but a different laptop if it's that important to me.

        2. Avatar of They
          Thumb Down

          Ooooh metro or apple... so close.

          Lol. Samsung with less functionality? Support sadly lacking? I read on the Reg Samsung throw more money at research than Apple and have for a while, iphone 4 to 5 has little changes and they try and advertise the bigger screen as if it was their idea, to fit a screen that allows your thumb to move across it, the world and dog having already done it doesn't equate to them. If support and service meant their manufacturing workers got better pay and conditions I would care more, but accroding to lots of reports it doesn't, so the money must be for fat patent lawyers and the execs.

          Where in Apple do you work? The 'cult like' happy-clapping staff of a shop or the more creepy head office?

          I do like the idea of having both on the apple, Google doesn't need another mapping app for android as it works fine. Apple does it seems. Not really a competition though if home grown is rubbish so lets bring in the compeition (and then see massive uptake for it)

          Anyway, for me the two big stories were Apple or Metro, I was going to go with Metro as it is a massive functional overhaul for every user and a huge PR gaff for the worlds biggest OS. But then Apple deserves a good kicking for constantly taking the urine with Patent lawyers this year which is backfiring on the goodwill towards them. And because there are still too many fanbois willing to pay massive amounts of money for a small apple symbol on the back of a chinese made phone with appalling employee H&S records.

          Not anon because I don't work at Apple (or samsung or google etc)

          1. Ted Treen
            Facepalm

            Re: Ooooh metro or apple... so close.

            "...a small apple symbol on the back of a chinese made phone with appalling employee H&S records..."

            As opposed to the small 'Samsung' symbol on the back of a chinese made phone with appalling employee H&S records.

        3. Ian Johnston Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          How to open a private browsing tab

          1. iOS (on a two week old iPad Mini). Press the home button. Choose "Settings". Scroll down to "Safari". Slide "private browsing" switch to "on". Press the hom ebutton. Select Safari. Browse. To return to normal browsing, do the whole rigmarole again.

          2. Android (on a one year old Galaxy Tab 10.1). Long press "New tab" button. Select "New private browsing tab". Browse. To return to normal browsing, close private tab.

          iOS is a very reliable but extremely clunky and very outdated interface. Apple kept the original Mac interface going for a decade after it was totally outclassed. Are they going to make the same mistake again?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: How to open a private browsing tab

            You forgot the part where Google still gets to sell all your data, you dont get 'private browsing' on Android, you get 'Only Google gets to spy on me and sell me like a street whore browsing'.

        4. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          @AC You only have two maps to choose from O_O!!!!????

          And yes I agree with you AC apple should let other software companies use their own browsers engines instead of having to use the inbuilt one, "unless you reckon less competition is good?"

      3. GitMeMyShootinIrons

        Meh.

        You could equally substitute Google here (blatant info peddlers that are as bad as FB for reducing their customers to being the product), except the Emperor's new clothes still look fine to the Droid drones, even if they are surprisingly similar to Apple's cut.

        Once upon a time, I'd have said MS could fit in too, but they fall down on the last point - were they ever actually cool?

        1. Bob Vistakin
          Pint

          Re: Meh.

          @GitMeMyShootinIrons

          Apple's very first act - before it had any products - was to copy. It took its name from the Beatles record label, then spent the rest of its existence basically polishing existing tech into a form just enough to fool those who prefer style over substance. This thou-shalt-not-copy hypocrisy was baked into its DNA from the start, and its legal antics are just the obvious extension of this - a smokescreen thrown up to try to disguise this fact. Now they are rumbled, and there is literally NOTHING they can put in any future products that a competitor hasn't done already, that little boy's voice is becoming the roar of the crowd.

          Apples' peak coincided with Steve jobs death, but were he around today he'd not have been able to stop the rot.

      4. Grave

        bailed

        microsoft should have never bailed them out

        it world would be a much better place without mediocre crapple

        1. Bob Vistakin
          Facepalm

          Re: bailed

          "microsoft should have never bailed them out"

          Samsung don't think so - it's the best thing that could have happened to them. Look at their runaway Android market share, and consider what it would have been had Nokia done the smart thing and gone with Android. Now, it would have been almost certainly a 50/50 split between the two. The official reason they didn't? There was "no way" to differentiate handset models if you run with Android, unlike the infinitely customisable WP8, which looks so different across all its various handset models, why, you can hardly tell its WP8 at all.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What's 'litigstion' ;)

        Just because you don't like Apple - does that mean other people are not allowed to like the stuff they make? What do you do crash into cars on purpose or verbally abuse the drivers because they are not the same make as yours?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          That is the most rational post I've seen compared to fan "bois" etc...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Always nice to get some balanced comments regarding Apple. Google could sleep with your wife, Samsung could run over your dog and you would still swear you loved the Galaxy S3 more than your kids ;)"

      Well yeah, but Apple raped me as a child and now they're after my children. I never really liked my wife's dog anyway.

  2. jake Silver badge

    One wonders ...

    ... how much longer it'll take for hoi polloi (including manglement!) to actually pay attention to the techies in the trenches, and how much more money will be wasted in the process.

    1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: One wonders ...

      Dont hold your breathe, that NEVER happens

      Once manglement has the idea, it must be followed to its logical conclusion no matter what...lost $2 billion, 80hr weeks, chapter 11, zombie apocalypse, heat death of the universe... the manglement are always right otherwise they'd just be a bunch of tossers in suits.

      And they are always looking for someone to blame.....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One wonders ...

      Who on earth really uses names like "manglement" - it's as bad as $amcrap and CrApple?

  3. Turtle

    The *Other* Side

    "You could argue – and you'd be right – that there was a lot of useful stuff in SOPA/PIPA/ACTA. We are going to need to take a good look at how rights and property are managed in an online world. But it's clear that one-sided regulation isn't the way to do it."

    Right. It is important that the other side is also represented; you know, the side that profits from piracy and theft, that feels that the value of any human endeavor is judged solely by the value of the advertising that can be run against it, and is against all forms of digital rights and property and against any form of enforcement of those rights, and whose platform consists of expropriation of the many by those few who form the tech oligarchy.

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: The *Other* Side

      Or the side that just wants to be able to buy a movie, watch it on their TV, smartphone, tablet and computer when they want without having to leap through hoops and get labelled a pirate over and over again - despite having actually paid for the content.

      Heck, even just buying a Blu-ray and playing it on your Blu-ray player is fraught with obstacles - region coding, and even key revocation that makes it suddenly impossible for you to buy any new movies!

      Power has swung to give complete and total control to the MPAA et al - they can take away your ability to watch something you have already paid for, just because they feel like it.

      That's the "other side" here - your rights as a consumer to actually watch/listen/play the thing you bought and paid for.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The *Other* Side

        @Richard 12 - 09:37

        "despite having actually paid for the content."

        Sorry to break it to you Dicky, but you never, ever pay for the content you rent it, OK. You got that now?

        You may like to think you paid for it but you never have, never did and you never will all the time the scumbag media corps have their way. So stop pandering to the them, stop paying to rent their overpriced, over-hyped shit output starring short-arse, testorone-filled cretins saving bimbo heroines by essentially copying every nursery rhyme storyline ever written.

        Make your own media, plenty of software and tools out there and it's lot more fun to write your own music. I don't watch movies and I make my own art to hang on my walls with my camera and copy of GIMP. The only media I pay for is music and then I buy direct from the artists via their websites so I know they're getting the money in their pockets to make the music I like to hear.

    2. Steen Hive
      Trollface

      Re: The *Other* Side

      Why should people who understand that copyright isn't a property right, but a state-mandated monopoly on distribution of copies be excluded? Driving coach and horses through fundamental principles of natural law in camera to suit "interests" and their associated trolls perhaps isn't optimal.

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: The *Other* Side

      > Right. It is important that the other side is also represented

      Andrew sure is posting from holidays.

    4. Captain DaFt

      Re: The *Other* Side

      SOPA, PIPA, etc., were(are) pushed by the big boys.

      The other side also consists of writers, artists, musicians, and playwrights that'd love not having to sell their souls and lively hoods to the major corps for a pittance.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "leaving more and more investors wondering just how they'd managed to come up with a $100bn valuation for the social network"

    Really? I think we can all take a guess.

    Also I was expecting the Dotcom bubble burst (no, the other Dotcom ;) ) to be the big news. White collar crime the police could have stopped while he was at their station drinking coffee, they instead use a terrorist crack force to arrest.

  5. ChrisM

    The issue is with the reputation of the company involved.... Apples is much bigger precisely BECAUSE no one expected it... Everyone knew that Facebook and Autonomy were overpriced, that RIM were a rudderless ship and that Googles advertising couldn't sustain the crazy growth that analysts seem to be panting after...

  6. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Why live in the Past whenever the Future is whatever IT decides to show y'all is not impossible.

    If life existed on Mars, it could conceivably have spread to our own planet. On the other hand, if Mars life is very different to life on Earth, this suggests a huge variety of possibilities for life to bloom throughout the universe.

    And whenever life as existed/exists on Mars has spread to this repressive and GOD obsessive planet and is very different to life on Earth, are there countless surreal possibilities and innumerable zeroday vulnerabilities to exploit for novel life phorms to bloom and seed new intellectual property feeds which server future imaginative needs.

    And that might not be so much an alien program but rather more likely AI@ITsWork for Media and IT Presentation of SMARTR Virtual Reality Programs and Pogroms which leave the Past and its Corrupted Hereditary Legacy Systems of Primitive Perception Control as Historical Memory Reminders of Failed Sub-Prime Lead Intelligence …… which are as Oxymoronic Power Stations in the Greater Scheme of Things.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why live in the Past whenever the Future is whatever IT decides to show y'all is not impossible.

      because printing a map with gun owners addresses is a front to civil war.

      even if you won't admit it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Mushroom

      Re: Why live in the Past whenever the Future is whatever IT decides to show y'all is not impossible.

      Yes but we know that in last days of the 19th century, life did travel to earth from Mars , despite the chances of it being a million to 1, but we know how that ended for them.....

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd have put Windows 8 in there twice

    It just deserves it.

  8. Ian Emery Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Does YouView count as tech??

    Then it may be No.1 in next years list.

    Why??

    Apparently they DONT own the rights to the name, and the people who do are kicking up a stink and may have applied for a restraining order.

    1. Shades
      Stop

      Re: Does YouView count as tech??

      I'm pretty sure I wouldn't confuse "YouView" and "YourView" given that one is a telly box that connects to the internet (for catch-up services) and the other is a portal allowing businesses to monitor telephone and internet usage. Only a complete moron would confuse the two, and thats assuming they've even heard of one and the other.

      Then again, after shoulder surfing my nephews Facebook news feeds there's an awful lot of complete f*cking morons, who seem to revel in their idiocity, about to be unleashed upon the world.

  9. The BigYin

    Petraeus now makes sense

    He gave out his CIA login? He didn't just use a public system like mail.com etc?

    Surely giving out such sensitive details is not just worthy or firing, but of jail time, dishonourable discharge, and goodness knows what else? He gave unfettered access to his CIA email, and not happens, yet Manning rots in a military prison.

    Seems in the USA (like in the UK) justice is no longer blind and actively favours the rich.

    1. heyrick Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Petraeus now makes sense

      Surely work-related email would be more sanitised than that, like not available outside the CIA buildings and/or logins tracked (with the possibility of rejection if logged into by an unknown device - hell *Facebook* can do that much!).

      Or is the reality that your average spook has POP3 with a cleartext passwords...god help 'em if a spook loses their smartphone down the back of somebody's sofa!

    2. wilber

      Re: Petraeus now makes sense

      I believe that you are jumping to conclusions, here.

      If I remember correctly, it was his private gmail account that was used for the shenanigans; Not his CIA email account.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Petraeus now makes sense

        The notion of "private" with respect to a Gmail account is laughable in itself..

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Petraeus now makes sense

          They just ain't read the Cryptome ISP series yet. lol

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Metro"

    Surely MS dropped Metro for Win8 after German megaretailer Metro AG threatened to sue the lederhosen off them? The Paris transport authority hasn't trademarked "Metro" and in any event, it's spelled "Métro"

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: "Metro"

      > German megaretailer Metro AG

      I have never heard of them. They the guys running "Saturn" at el.?

    2. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: "Metro"

      The problem as I see it isn't that they dropped the name metro, but that there wasn't a believable replacement. Ms has dropped codenames before release heaps of times, but in this case the replacement name really was inadequate to describe pretty much any standard windows application that opted for the TIFKAM look and feel but a more traditional installer. You know, like those crazies who think they should still sell to folk running win 7 or earlier.

      1. Tom 35 Silver badge

        dropped codenames before release heaps of times

        Except for Win Phone 7... even if only two people bought one.

        But yes the biggest fail is not being able to come up with a non-crap name to replace it.

      2. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: "Metro"

        Paris' famous Metro railway system

        Which would be on shaky ground claiming a prior right. The Paris Metro in turn copied its name (originally Métropolitain) from the Metropolitan Railway in London.

    3. IvyKing
      Pirate

      MS and researching trademarks

      Anyone remember the brouhaha over MS using "Internet Explorer" for its browser without checking to see if "Internet Explorer" was already trademarked?

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Mozart was a Wunderkind, not a Wuenderkind

    And "wünderkind" does not take a trema, it's just "Wunderkind" (i.e. "prodigy")

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Headmaster

      And then...

      "it's holdings held their value"

      No no no no no ... NO!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mozart was a Wunderkind, not a Wuenderkind

      Surely you mean Umlaut. A German cannot resist. ;)

    3. Wyrdness
      FAIL

      Re: Mozart was a Wunderkind, not a Wuenderkind

      According to German g/f, it's permissible in German to substitute 'ue' for 'ü'. So Weunderkind is probably more correct than Wunderkind.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Holmes

        Re: Mozart was a Wunderkind, not a Wuenderkind

        Fail? NO U!

        "Weunderkind" would lose you points in any exam, as would "Wünderkind".

        What exactly is hard to understand in "It's spelled WUNDERKIND".

        And certainly not "WEUNDERKIND", for Christ's Sake.

        And the "probably" adjective is not to be used here. At all.

  12. J.G.Harston Silver badge
    FAIL

    So, if I type in "maps.google.co.uk" in the browser address bar of a browser running on an Apple product I get a 404? An internet stack that doesn't give internet connectivity? That breach of the Fitness for Purpose clause of the Sales of Goods Act.

    1. Zaphod.Beeblebrox
      Meh

      Odd, it workes for me on my iDevices...

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Works for me - too much Xmas spirits?

      1. Zaphod.Beeblebrox
        Trollface

        Re: Xmas spirits

        Past, present or future?

  13. Justa
    FAIL

    I thought YouView too

    Was sure it would be the number one cock-up. Launched years too late when so many people have already got alternatives. Confusion with regard to the packages on offer and then the major shareholders decide to pump big money into advertising it's biggest competitor Freeview+ on TV at Christmas!

    Not just Doh, but Dodo (Raphus cucullatus) comes to mind...

  14. Adam 1 Silver badge

    honourable mentions?

    Surely accidentally firing your whole company must get you pretty close.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/04/22/aviva_mistakenly_fires_1300_in_mass_email/

  15. 8Ace
    Thumb Down

    Wot .. no RBS ????

    While lots of the happenings in this article make good tech headlines, surely the single biggest tech foul up in terms of its impact on ordinary people was the RBS computer "glitch". When companies are threatened with going to the wall due to cash flow issues and when ordinary people are denied access to their own money, for 10 weeks in N Ireland I believe, then nothing else comes close!

    1. stanimir

      Re: Wot .. no RBS ????

      Thought the same, but it is an American article.

      Apple getting top position is questionable imo. It's just a single rushed application and I am horrified by the Objective C, itself, and some of the crap one has to put up with iOS (to program, that's it). AAPL is just not worthy the attention they get.

      1. Adam 1 Silver badge

        Re: Wot .. no RBS ????

        If it were just a rushed app then that would be understood alongside all the other rushed apps of history, but Apple managed to screw up an app that most users were happy with. Apple has always positioned itself as a premium offering but in the maps decision they really forgot their users.

      2. Not That Andrew
        FAIL

        Re: Wot .. no RBS ????

        American journalist or not, The Register is an international site based in Britain, and the RBS cock-up was on a far greater scale than anything mentioned here and is a cautionary tale to financial institutions everywhere why you don't outsource critical IT jobs and infrastructure.

        I also think the NHS Project for IT should be on here, even though they finally killed it off last year. It should be on every list of IT disasters everywhere until the British government creates an even bigger cock-up.

  16. JeffyPooh Silver badge
    Pint

    3=1, etc.

    Apple's map flap is shocking only to those that are deaf, dumb and blind. The quality of their code has been *obviously* suspect for years; map flap is just the latest example. They need to clean ranks in their coding department.

    The MS Metro fiasco is far far far worse. It signals an inflection point for Microsoft. When *all* Win 8 products flop in the marketplace, it'll be obvious where they're headed.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: 3=1, etc.

      Well said Sir!

      The Apple Maps was just one APP in an Ecosystem

      Metro is a whole Ecosytem.

      Utter fail on Microsoft's part and El Reg's.

      Then again, the Apple Haters rule here ok!

      Androids ain't so wonderful (Her indoor's Samsung Galaxy corrupted the SD card over Christmas, my HTC Sensation regularly misses incoming calls)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 3=1, etc.

        And Google mapping is still far from perfect and the satellite images are old. Streetview is pretty good but realistically hardly ever *need* it. I've tried both Apple and Google Maps - it's not clear-cut by any means - Apple seem to give better routes, Google have more POIs but navigating to an address / post code (which is what many people will use it for) is about the same. Sure if you are a darwin award contestant and drive through Oz with no paper maps etc. you may have got caught out but Google Maps are not perfect with that either.

        1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Apple Maps not so bad and at least the trains ran on time, yadda yadda....

          Stop talking like this, it sounds like someone explaining the inner torments and global misunderstanding of a (Russian|European|African) dictator's hidden heart of gold.

        2. Adam 1 Silver badge

          Re: 3=1, etc.

          To be fair, navigate to mildura does sound suspiciously like take me to the middle of nowhere so I can die.

          ;)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 3=1, etc.

      hey bro I hea ya. Try a Yahoo MAPQUEST 50 out of town up in teh mtns in Kali.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 3=1, etc.

      Was the Map issue so bad for anyone - Google are down more than 500bn a year and Apple are up the same? Apple users now have BOTH, Apple get breathing room to make theirs better, can provide cheaper / more access to developers, users could ALWAYS go to maps.google.co.uk anyway.

      As for the quality of the maps - well for me Apple sat pics are more up to date and three routes I know well were navigated worse (further) with Google Maps than Apple Maps. And - you think Google Maps is perfect - think again - over the last week or so noticed many POIs around 1/2 out of their genuine position and another Australian police force gave a warning against Google Maps as well.

      So to summaries - iDevices now have both - users = win, developers get better access = win, Apple saves buckets of cash = win

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 3=1, etc.

      Actually, there is not much wrong with the map app from a software POV, the issue is with the dataset that it accesses and queries, but that has rapidly improved too. It's certainly more polished that Google's iOS offering. That has the opposite issue, great data, not so great software.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 3=1, etc.

        At least Apple should be able to fix Maps and then it's good to have competition with Google.

      2. Colin Wilson 2

        Re: 3=1, etc.

        There are problems with the Apple Maps software - not just the data.

        1. The colours are ridiculous. Stupid. Who's bright idea was it to make almost all roads pale grey on a pale yellow background?

        2. It doesn't understand U.K addresses. In particular, it often seems to take the town from your postcode and thinks that's where you live. So if your address is '1 High street, Cookham, SL6 1AX'. It sees the 'SL' bit and thinks you live at '1 High street, Slough' - which is miles away.

    5. Martin 71 Silver badge

      Re: 3=1, etc.

      Much as I'm an anti-apple-fanboi, (Their products are ok, but massively overpriced for what they do, and sometimes restricted in weirdly arbitrary ways, and thus I like el Reg's constant attacks on them), I agree, the maps fiasco was merely a one off mistake, the 'interface previously known as metro' is hideous, and apparently was designed by someone who wants microsoft to go under. I attempted to use a windows 8 machine in John Lewis, couldn't figure out how to use it.

      Previous incarnations of windows have not been like that. Windows 98 was new to me (my previous computer experience had been DOS and CP/M), yet clicking the start menu was obvious, as it looked like a button and said "Start" on it. This new interface may be okay for touchscreens, but for a normal computer with a pointing device, and a screen bigger than 'tiny', it looks more ludicrous than XP's luna theme, and the fact it breaks the UI paradigm they've used for so many years may well be 'game over' for them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 3=1, etc.

        Why do people keep harping on that Apple are 'massively' overpriced - guess you can say that of a BMW when you buy a Ford etc. When I bought my Macbook Air the competition was scarce and was about the same price (but the Air was better made). When I bought my iPhone I considered a Samsung Galaxy - it was about £3 less per month - hardly significant when the contract cost was about £45-50 anyway or about £70 less SIM free (which over 2 years is not much). However, with Apple the support is much better and when I dropped the phone and the camera lens got slightly dislodged the Apple Store just fixed it at no cost and in 20 minutes. I'm happy with the choice and suspect a lot of other people are as well - wait until you have a problem and that's how good you know a company is.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: camera lens got slightly dislodged

          How many times do you intend to tell us that compelling story?

  17. MahFL22

    Typo.

    "For most of the year journalists and the public had been told about Metro and Metro-style apps, but now we were all told to forget it every happened. ( every ).

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Typo.

      That's fine by me. I'm quite happy to completely and totally forget everything about ...

      What was that name again?

  18. Bill Neal
    Unhappy

    red-headed stepchild?

    I resent that stereotype, as a red-headed stepchild who was NOT beaten into adolescence. I understand it is common, but that doesn't make it any more tasteful that using the same standard for people of African-American descent.

    1. Swarthy Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: red-headed stepchild?

      Having had an oddly high number of friends who were both ginger and products of their parents' first marriage, i agree. That is why I usually threaten to beat people with a red-headed step-child.

  19. Zaphod.Beeblebrox
    FAIL

    One of these things is not like the others

    Is it just me, or is the one about Lulzsec's Sabu not really a technology cockup and doesn't really fit in with the theme of the article?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can honestly say

    I didn't fall into any of those cock-up's. I mostly removed myself from the equation.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    bottom line

    if I can spy on everything you do, your fucked and there is no protection.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OH you wanted TECH COCK UPS

    how about the 404 errors @ microsoft.com

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    gdi exploit

    Still rollin? on some boxes? I seen it... FUCKUP...

    http://isc.sans.edu/diary.html?storyid=321

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why can't they just be honest?

    Metro --- we screwed up, it's somebody else's trade mark."

    Don't these idiots realise that that would score points in the PR war? That it would make them look decent?

    Or do they just have a pathological-lying culture? Which makes them people to stay away from.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Why can't they just be honest?

      There more so as at long it isn't someone's REGISTERED trade mark and their domain of application is different anyway, they will most certainly prevail in court.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Unhappy

        Re: Why can't they just be honest?

        Don't try, commentards don't quite grasp this concept.

        I could easily open a curtain making business and call it Windows or a shoe repair shop and call it Apple or a chair cushion called iPad.

        So long as it is in no way confusable with the other item, then there is no issue (although the large megacorps try to bully others into giving it up)

  25. David Taylor 1
    Alien

    Martian conspiracy?

    "El Reg was there at the landing"

    We already have people on Mars!?

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Martian conspiracy?

      Only in the "invited guests" stand, directly next to Obama.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Of course!

      Amanfrom....

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Given that the Apple maps are number 1 why did the Reg give the iPhone 5 such a glowing review and didn't even mention the maps?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Maps is just one 'app' and it was always a trivial issue to bookmark maps.google.co.uk onto an icon on your device. Most people who have tried the two side-by-side are not all that bothered as in reality Google Maps is better is some respects and Apple Maps in others so it depends on your usage. I find Apple Maps quicker, like the 3D view and routing seems better - Google Maps has streetview and a few nice features as well.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's such a good phone / OS despite 'maps'. When you compare it to the fragmented, poorly service / support and insecure 'Android' it's clear. Anyone can make an Android phone - so next year Samsung may not be king of the Androids but Apple will still be growing it's user base of longer term, more loyal users.

  27. Dana W
    Meh

    Apple blew an App, Microsoft blew a whole OS. No doubt the map app needs to be here. "Thankfully I live in an area its actually accurate in"

    But Windows RT is the number one fail of the year. Was talking to my friends in computer retail. They can't give them away.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I've never actually met someone that had a serious issue with Apple Maps - at least no-one who had tried both and could say Google Maps was definitely better. Most said the mapping on Apple was more up to date and Google still have inaccuracies - I reported 2 about a year or so ago - still not fixed - c'est la via ;(

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Suspect most of the people on here who whinge about Apple Maps are probably non-iOS / Android users who:

        1. have never used it / never compared it side-by-side

        2. have a bigoted view of Apple and anything they do

        3. are jealous as now iOS users have both Apple Maps and Google Maps

        4. believe Google Maps is perfect (when clearly it is not)

        5. do not appreciate that competition is good

        6. work for Google ;)

        1. MrWibble

          My problem with apple maps is that where I live (Solihull) does not exist. Nothing to do with bigoted views / jealosy, just a crap app that doesn't work for me.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Think people are just making this stuff up as out of interest put Solihull into my iOS 6 (Apple Maps) and of course it's there and shock, horror in the same place as Google Maps shows it.

        2. Bob Vistakin
          Facepalm

          @AC 8:56

          7. Innocent members of the public who felt like a Chinese take away and ended up nearly drowning: http://goo.gl/8gMYw

      2. Dana W

        Works fine in my state, and from what I'm told the US in general. Not in the US? Apparently you are on your own.

        "I have both installed"

  28. bri

    Metro

    I think that bigger problem than Paris' Metro was a big German store chain Metro Group (Microsoft Metro Store moniker would certainly collide with it).

    Actually, I got that information from The Register. Wonder why it wasn't mentioned here...

    1. Not That Andrew

      They're a bit more than a " big German store chain". They cover almost all of Europe, Russia, China, Central Asia, India, Pakistan and parts of North Africa and SE Asia. Almost as big as Tesco and Walmart but they're mainly cash and carry so they're not as high profile.

  29. Christopher Slater-Walker
    FAIL

    It's an American point of view over maps

    There is another mapping app besides Apple and Google and that is Nokia's "Here" app. In my opinion it's at least as good as anything else. Typically, our American friends don't even think of anything beyond Apple and Android.

    1. Dana W
      Meh

      Re: It's an American point of view over maps

      In the US Nokia means cheap "pay as you go" phone. Walmart bottom of the barrel. They have not been relevant here in quite a while.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's an American point of view over maps

        It's not just in the US. They make lots and lots of very cheap phones that they probably make little / no profit on. That and the new Windows Phones which are probably make or (more likely) break for them. If Windows Phone catches on all the other (cheaper) manufacturers will wade in and obliterate any profits. At least Apple own / develop iOS for their own hardware.

  30. Ilgaz

    Marvell deserves a last minute note

    I have just read on BBC that they lost a patent case against Carnagie Mellon university potentially losing the freaking company itself since we talk about a really pissed off judge who may order $3B+.

    Not into details.

  31. AndrewCarlton
    FAIL

    Democracy

    "...but thankfully Europe still holds truck with this messy democracy business."

    I LOL'd so hard at this

  32. All names Taken

    Biggest UK cockup?

    It has to be Costa.

    I mean, who wants to pay taxes that they do not want to pay?

    Costa?

    (sell your shares immediately?)

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No RBS?

    Someone's already mentioned this, but you left the most glaringly obvious candidate for top tech cock-up of 2012 off the list?!

    1. typeo

      ... not just for the outage that stopped customers accessing their money. Also due to the IT integration issues that caused Santander to pull out of the branch purchase, cunning plan so they keep hold of the customer base they have perhaps?

  34. Roger Hill

    The problem with Google Maps

    The problem with the "old" google maps on iOS was that it was a monopoly, and one that was run by Apple's biggest competitor int he mobile space.

    Some time agoe, Apple went cap in hand to Google saying "please sir: can we have some of that turn by turn direction goodness that you get on Android?".

    Google: "Sorry sonny, You don't need that on your shiny black iPhones. We're keeping the good stuff for our own unwashed masses"

    Put in this position, Apple had no choice but to go out and roll their own turn by turn mapping app. And to be fair it does work (at least every time I've tried it in the UK). The traffic info works (I just need to pay attention to it!) It lacks some of the location data that Google has managed to accumulate over the years, but give it at least 6/10 for the features it does have which work and work well.

    Google, having noticed that Apple has cut it's connection to the cash cow that is iOS maps, realises that it needs to pull it's finger out and deliver a decent upgrade to Google Maps for the unwashed iOS masses.

    Result: three months later Goole says: "Ok, sonny, looks like you do need that turn by turn mapping after all"

    So for Apple the result is that they now have Google pretty much where they want them: they have been forced to deliver a mapping application with turn by turn mapping and all of the excellent location data that we expect from them. Apple also have the opportunity to develop and enhance their mapping app over time, and eventually suck some of that mapping goodness out Google's accounts.

    Yes, the mapping app could have been better when launched, and a few Apple execs have paid the ultimate sacrifice for that. But the launch date was probably driven as much by the iOS release schedule and the need to support new hardware as by the readiness of the app itself.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The problem with Google Maps

      iOS users are happy as now have both. I imagine it may have delayed some people from buying an iPhone 5 or upgrading to iOS 6 - but probably just delayed.

      No mapping app is perfect - Google have been doing this for a long time and still have many errors. Apple and their shareholders are happy as read they had paid $2bn over the last 4 years (and most of that will be in more recent years as total installed base has increased) - so savings of at least $500m a year straight off a competitors and onto Apple's balance sheet.

      I've actually used both - Google Maps is nagware trying to get you to login all the time - why - to get better access to you / your profile / data. They could have stored bookmarks locally or probably in iCloud but no they want you to have a Google login and nag you over and over.

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