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80,259 News Articles

2007's 13 biggest technology flops

Hyped products that were unlucky for some

These much-hyped products and services from the likes of Apple, Microsoft and Facebook turned out to be lemons of the bitterest kind.

#11. Just Another Oxymoron: internet security

In 2007, the words "internet security" joined the ever-growing list of self-cancelling phrases, alongside "business intelligence", "government ethics" and "Microsoft Works".

This year, bot herders proved they could harness enough zombie PCs to take down an entire country's infrastructure for a month. Estonia eventually recovered, but our notion of net invulnerability hasn't.

According to McAfee's Virtual Criminology Report, some 120 governments are actively engaged in web espionage and cyber assaults.

Meanwhile, private criminals used the Storm worm to created a botnet for hire containing millions of zombies - enough to take down a major network.

As with global warming, there's plenty of blame to go around - for everybody from developers of insecure software to home users who blithely log on without inoculating their PCs. Let's hope they get more of a clue in 2008.

Bot mapWhere bot herders lurk

#10. Singing an old familiar Zune: Microsoft Zune

Microsoft ZuneMicrosoft got a chance to do things right with its "iPod Killer" in 2007. And Zune 2.0 was certainly an improvement - offering 80GB of storage instead of 30GB, wireless syncing, improved touch controls, and a choice of nano-like 8GB players in a variety of bright colors (Gaviscon pink, anyone?).

But Microsoft failed to lose the Zune's proprietary DRM scheme or remove all its restrictions on wireless music sharing (you can share songs with other nearby Zune users, but they can listen to them only three times before the songs go up in smoke).

We're not the only ones disappointed in the Zune. According to the NPD Group, Microsoft still lags behind Sandisk and Creative Labs in market share for portable media players. And for every Zune Microsoft sells, Apple sells 30 iPods. Remember: you can't kill an iPod if you can't get close to it.

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