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78,131 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.

#9. Sorry, we already gave: Office 2007

Many of us spent a decade learning how to use Microsoft Office. So now that we finally have it all down, Microsoft changes almost everything about the interface in 2007, and not for the better. Instead of simple-if-prosaic toolbars, Office 2007 serves up a jumble of confusing icons known as the 'Ribbon.'

Microsoft Office

Robert Luhn, editor in chief of DrBicuspid.com, says the new version was a stumble backwards. "Scrambled interface, incompatibility with old macros, but hey, I do get in-context spell checking," he says. "Is that worth the £200 upgrade? Me thinks not."

Overall, we liked the added support for XML and online collaboration tools when we reviewed Office 2007 late last year. But Ribbon schmibbon. We'll take the classic menus, please - even if we have to spend £20 for an add-in program to get them back.

Microsoft Office 2007: the definitive review

#8. Needs to change its spots: Apple "Leopard" OS 10.5

Maybe we just got spoiled by the iPod and iPhone, but the glow came off Steve Job's halo after this feline fleabag debuted. Within days of its release last October, Mac users reported dozens of problems with the new OS, some more serious than others.

Among the many: wireless connections that slowly petered away, administrative logins that mysteriously disappeared, and a disturbing tendency to nuke data when moving it between two drives if the connection is interrupted.

Worse, a security bug that was fixed in OS 10.4 in March 2006 resurfaced in Leopard, according to Symantec. The Apple Mail vulnerability allows malicious attachments to execute code.

German security researchers discovered that Leopard came with its firewall turned off, leaving users vulnerable to attack. Adding insult to injury, some upgraders even reported a Windows-like Blue Screen of Death when upgrading from previous Mac OSes.

In mid-November, Apple released an update to Leopard that fixed some of the bugs, including the firewall glitch. Repairing Apple's reputation, however, may take slightly longer.

Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard: review

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