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80,259 News Articles

The 10 silliest technology blunders

iPod? No, that's never going to work

We look at the 10 silliest tech blunders that have left companies kicking themselves over missed opportunities.

8. Newspapers fail to read the writing on the wall - Craigslist

Newspapers are dying, and by nearly all accounts (certainly, all newspaper accounts), Craigslist's fingerprints can be found all over the crime scene. People have blamed the mostly free online ad service for cutting the legs out from under classified advertising, one of the newspaper industry's cash cows.

As recently as 2005, classified ads brought more than $17.3bn into US newspapers'. Since then, the use of classified ad sites such as Craigslist (as well as Amazon, eBay and Google) has more than doubled, according to the Pew Research Center, while classified ad revenues have been halved.

If a consortium of newspapers had bought out Craigslist back in 2005, when classified ad revenues were flying high, things could be quite different today. But first they would have had to persuade Craigslist creator Craig Newmark to sell.

In a January 2008 interview with PC Advisor's sister publication InfoWorld, Newmark said that his company's role in the collapse of the newspaper industry has been greatly exaggerated - mostly by newspapers.

"I figure the biggest problems newspapers have these days have to do with fact-checking," he said.

9. The Google before Google

In the mid-1990s the hottest search engine technology wasn't the work of Yahoo, Alta Vista or Lycos; it was the Open Text Web Index.

Much like Google today, Open Text was lauded for its speed, accuracy, and comprehensiveness; by 1995 Open Text Corp claimed that it had indexed every word on the roughly 5 million documents that constituted the web at that time. That year, Yahoo incorporated Open Text's search technology into its directory.

But two years after partnering with Yahoo, Open Text abandoned search and moved into enterprise content management. A year later Google made its debut. The missed opportunity? Not realising how big search was going to be.

"If anything made Open Text special, it was that they came closer to having Google-like technology than anyone else in their time," says Steve Parker, a communications consultant who helped publicise Yahoo's launch of Open Text's search technology.

"With a three-year lead on Google, you have to consider whether Google would have been forced to burn cash at a much faster pace, and if they might have run out of time to overtake the market leader. If things had gone differently, that might have been good enough to get [Open Text] to king of the hill."

Broadband speed test

NEXT PAGE: Microsoft saves a rotting Apple

  1. The missed opportunities that have left some tech companies kicking themselves
  2. Sony and Toshiba disagree over HD
  3. The recording industry plays the same old tune
  4. Newspapers don't predict Craigslist
  5. Microsoft saves a rotting Apple


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