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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.

#7. Cannot be completed as dialed: voice over IP

Here's a recipe for disaster: Have the market leader in your industry sued by three of the biggest telecom companies on the planet. Have second-tier players go belly up overnight, leaving thousands of business customers without any phone service. Add in a healthy dose of security vulnerabilities, and bake at 450 degrees until crispy.

Any way you slice it, 2007 was a crappy year for VoIP. Oh and by the way, your VoIP line may be bugged.

In November a UK-based security researcher released SIPtap, a proof-of-concept exploit that allows remote users to tap into and record voice streams across the net.

Please contact your regional phone monopoly for service, and dial again.

#6. 'Up to' something: the broadband industry

Broadband AdvisorIn 2007 US users learned that some of the largest ISPs in the country - Comcast, Cox, Qwest, Cablevision, and Charter among them - throttle or otherwise interfere with BitTorrent traffic on the sly. Comcast denied it at first, then admitted to "traffic shaping" to discourage bandwidth-sucking peer-to-peer users. Now it's being sued by angry customers. Suddenly the whole net neutrality argument doesn't seem like such a bad idea.

Meanwhile, all the major telecom providers who blithely handed their bitstreams over to the NSA without a subpoena are now demanding retroactive immunity for the deed. Whose bits are they, anyway?

But before UK users get too smug, try to remember the last time your broadband connection was as fast as the 'up to' figure you were quoted led you to believe. And then try to define what is meant by 'fair useage' on your ISP's download policy. Perhaps talk to Sky and Virgin subscribers about their ugly spat, or ask Ofcom to comment on the speed and build-quality of the UK's broadband infrastructure.

Add in ISPs merging left, right and centre, and 2007 was a less-than auspicious year for the broadband industry. As always, it was the poor old consumer who felt the chill. Keep up with the latest internet and ISP news, reviews, tips and tricks with Broadband Advisor.

NEXT PAGE: Apple's bright-and-shiny thing, and reasons not to be cheerful for Yahoo > >

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