From the launch of new game consoles to smarter-than-ever phones, 2013 had a lot of great tech moments.
But in the fast-paced tech world, not everything runs smoothly, and not every product is a success. 2013 also brought more than a few face palms for the tech industry. From the government to the gaming world, even the biggest names faced embarrassments this year. There were massive security breaches, failed gaming launches, half-baked products, and more.
So, here's our look at some of the biggest disasters that befell the tech industry in 2013, with eight major tech gaffes highlighted. Feel free to add your own favourite tech fails in the comments section below, and perhaps make some predictions about what you think could be in store for next year.
Botched SimCity launch
After 10 long years, the beloved SimCity franchise returned on 5 March. However, since Electronic Arts insisted that gamers had to be online to access the game, its servers were quickly overloaded and players faced error messages and disconnections for days. Following the disastrous launch, EA won Consumerist's "Worst Company in America" poll for a second consecutive year.
Reddit’s hunt for the Boston Bombers
In the immediate aftermath of the April bombings, members of Reddit, 4chan, and other sites encouraged users to post photos and videos from the marathon online. The idea was that Internet users might spot evidence that would be of use to law enforcement, but in some cases, it ended up confusing matters further. Reddit later admitted that the effort got out of hand and issued an apology.
Back in April, amidst considerable hype, Twitter unveiled a new music discovery service for the web and mobile devices. Dubbed Twitter #music, the service promised to "change the way people find music, based on Twitter." In reality, it wound up being a huge flop. Just six months after launch, word spread that Twitter was planning to shut down the service, and it has been largely forgotten about now.
Dell fights the PC slump
This year, Dell faced an uphill battle in a market that continues to see the PC lose out to tablets and smartphones – areas in which the former stock market darling has yet to really succeed. Following a fight with shareholders in September, founder Michael Dell completed a $24.9 billion (£15.3 billion) buyout of the company and took it private. Layoffs are likely on tap, but for now the company is asking employees to voluntarily quit in exchange for separation packages.
After a tough year that included massive job cuts, product delays, and quarterly losses, in September BlackBerry announced plans to sell its business and go private in a $4.7 billion (£2.9 billion) deal. Less than two months later, BlackBerry announced that CEO Thorsten Heins was out in a deal whereby Fairfax Financial would invest $1 billion (£610 million) in the company rather than buy it out.
In late October, Adobe revealed it had suffered a massive security breach which compromised customer names, encrypted credit or debit card numbers, expiration dates, and other information relating to customer orders. The company initially said that 3 million people were affected, but later revised the number to 38 million. Meanwhile, Adobe wasn't the only company to experience a breach in 2013. Other high-profile victims included Apple, Tumblr, and the Finnish government.
The social network had grand plans to take over smartphones with Facebook Home, but the service didn't resonate with users and the only phone to come loaded with the software, the HTC First, was a complete failure. At the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in September, Mark Zuckerberg admitted Home was slow to catch on, but said Facebook is committed to the product. Also, there's another much-hyped Facebook product we haven't heard much about lately: Graph Search.
Microsoft Surface tablets
In a quarterly filing this July, Redmond revealed that Surface revenue totalled $853 million (£520 million) between October 2012 and June 2013. That might not seem too shabby, but Microsoft also incurred a $900 million (£550 million) charge for Surface RT inventory adjustments. Microsoft dropped the price of the device by £120 before basically admitting Windows RT was a total disaster. It's now hoping for more success with the second-generation of Surface tablets.