Top 15 Tech Mistakes In History. The Biggest, The Greatest, The Saddest!

This article featuring 15 top tech mistakes in history is a must read for everyone. Discover the biggest technology mistakes, the greatest errors in the tech industry & some of the saddest technology mistakes! Looking at the tech industry with a bird’s eye view, it might appear everything is quite amazing, awesome & perfect! But sadly it wasn’t always that way. The consistent innovation & growth is no doubt worth the credits. From the shift in advertising & rise of digital media to online businesses, mobile innovations & advanced technology gadgets – The technology industry has indeed grown compared to the way it was.

With artificial intelligence revolutionizing industries, virtual reality taking over, one can’t help but imagine what the future of tech will probably be like. In Steve Jobs words – You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards, lets have a quick review of how past events have helped shape the current status of things in the tech industry & what to expect in future as discussed in the list below:

Top 15 Tech Mistakes In History

  • The first on this list is none other than the famous Mars Climate Orbiter which has caused the loss of several millions of dollars and which eventually lead to the destruction of a $327m space system & guess why it failed? Conversion of imperial measurements into metric. Nonetheless, the United States still keeps to the imperial units that were in place since the founding of the colonies. For a full understanding of the failed MCO project, click here to visit the official NASA page on the project.

mcoLet’s look at what would have happened if the mistake was not made? The Mars Climate Orbiter was intended to carry two instruments – one specifically to study the climate and weather of mars. The objectives of the mission also includes monitoring the water vapor and dust content of the atmosphere, determine the temperature profiles of the atmosphere and monitor daily weather & atmospheric conditions.

  • Facebook Beacon: Adding this as one of the tech mistakes in history wouldn’t have been necessary if social media had not turned out to be one of the biggest markets in the industry. Back in 2007, someone convinced the executives at Facebook to construct a system that’d combine advertising with traditional social networking features – This system was called The Beacon. Facebook didn’t immediately identify a slight prblem users might have which is having all of their purchases broadcasted on Facebook!
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Top 15 Tech Mistakes In History Facebook Beacon

An unanticipated protest erupted and Facebook was eventually forced to kill off the ill-conceived and ill-deployed Beacon platform. Although advertisers loved the idea, users on the other hand were less than enthralled.

  • Yahoo Misses Out On Deal To Own Google Currently worth approx. $500bn! Back when Yahoo was still the hottest property on the internet, Yahoo had continuously held talks with Google on acquiring the search giants but never really pulled the trigger. Now Google is worth over $500bn and Yahoo is worth $35bn
  • Apple III – Created and designed to succeed the successful Apple II, the ill-conceived Apple III flopped in the market and locked Apple out of so much business opportunities and revenues. With inadequate heat sinks and no fan to cool the board, the system was prone to overheating and all of the problems that came with it. Unfortunately for Apple the case design also meant that the chips on the motherboard had to be positioned close to one another.

Top Tech Mistakes In History - Apple III

Only now is Apple making serious inroads into the corporate computing sphere and it’s doing it not because of the quality of its computers but the excellence of its smartphones. Not surprisingly, the Apple III sold poorly and was discontinued in 1984.

  • News Corp Buying MySpace & AOL Deal With BEBO – Back when MySpace was still the biggest social network on the internet, News Corp had bought it over for $530million but due to mismanagement and the launch of Facebook, MySpace stopped growing. However, while News Corp’s acquisition of MySpace can be considered as a bet that went wrong, how can AOL’s deal with BEBO be described – AOL ended up selling Bebo for $10million. It was initially purchased at $850million – An estimated loss of over $840million. Now this is not only one of the biggest tech mistakes in history but also one of the biggest business mistakes.
  • Selling off 10% share in Apple Inc currently estimated to worth $40billion today! If you having a bad time any day, You should remember that sometimes back Apple’s third co-founder – Ronald Wayne sold his 10% stake in Apple for $800 two weeks after launch. He later got $1,500 for renouncing all claims to ownership. If he had kept it, it would be worth more than $40billion in today’s value.
  • Brain Virus: If you believe the creators of the first malware for the MS-DOS operating system – the whole thing was a case of copyright protection gone wrong. The virus is thought to have been developed in 1986 by two brothers who were looking to protect some medical software they had written. The brothers had found some suitable code on an internet bulletin board site and adapted it so that if someone used the software then the malware would be installed. Someone else adapted this for MS-DOS and the stage was set! Once installed the code wrote itself to the boot sector of the computer’s hard drive and then display a message to the user warning them that they were infected, and give them a number to call to sort out the problem. Brain wasn’t originally designed with malicious intent. Really the idea was to notify users when a pirated copy of the software was run.
  • SONY Rootkit: In Sony’s case, the company decided that its customers didn’t need to know about what was on the disk and what it would do to their systems. It never seemed to dawn on the company that there was something wrong with lacing its CDs with code that would not only automatically install itself onto your system, but also embed itself at the kernel level. This was when the music industry was really panicking about Napster & music piracy. The idea was to introduce a DRM software that let Sony know every time a disc was copied? The software to do this could be developed simply and in a stroke pirates could be stopped in their tracks. Months after release, virus writers were using it to break into systems and Sony was forced into an embarrassing climb down and had to pay compensation.
  • Yahoo Also Missed Out On Buying Facebook! – If you think Yahoo’s loss of Google is one of the biggest tech mistakes in history well guess Yahoo Inc is actually guilty of making the same mistakes. After Google bought YouTube, Yahoo felt it had to make a big “2.0” acquisition. Yahoo CEO Terry Semel and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shook hands on $1 billion. For some reasons, this deal did not pull through and today, Facebook is one of the biggest companies in the world right now.
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Other mistakes to note in the history of the tech industry and digital media also includes IBM handing Microsoft the software monopoly! now let me break this down to why this has turned out to be one of the greatest mistakes in the tech industry. IBM in the early days was certain that their values was in hardware and making personal computers. Microsoft thought hardware would get commoditized, not software. So when IBM asked Microsoft to make an OS for them, Microsoft asked to keep the rights to the OS and be able to license it to other makers. Today Microsoft is a $220 billion market cap company.

This list would not complete without mentioning these mistakes. Do you know that Kodak declared bankruptcy in 2012? One of the mistakes the company made was turning down the idea of the film-less camera in 1975. In 1985 – whether Steve Jobs left Apple Inc or he was pushed out, his departure was the start of the failure of the company bringing it down to its knees in 1990s. Ninetendo would have been the biggest name in the game console market if it had not turned down Sony & signed with Philips. Although this one was never officially confirmed as compared to the Mars Climate Orbiter, it’s still relevant and should be considered today – In the early 1980s French intelligence persuaded a disaffected Soviet Colonel to hand over something called the Farewell Dossier. In it were the names of Soviet spies who had infiltrated Western companies with the aim of stealing technology. Making it to become one of the greatest tech mistakes in history, This was shared with the Americans and it was discovered that the Soviets had infiltrated a Canadian company to steal control software for gas pipelines, something that was needed if the Siberian gas pipeline intended to supply Western European markets was to be completed.

“The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space. – Thomas reed: nATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL

The code that would have caused such an explosion would likely have been extremely small and simple, yet capable of causing absolute chaos when properly deployed.

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Whilst these could be considered as some of the biggest tech mistakes in history, it is also important to note that the industry has continued to bloom over the years.


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