Every few years, some new technology or application comes along that everyone's sure will miraculously conquer every obstacle in its path and, in some ludicrously short time period, make existing technology obsolete. And then, long after all the media hype fades away and investors' checkbooks disappear, well, nothing happens.
So what? Who cares? Why bother talking about our industry's bombs, the next big things that weren't? Well, for one thing, it's interesting to note how hungry we all are for news about new technology. It gets us excited. We complain about media hype, but love the hype.
It's also fascinating how existing technology has this way of hanging on by its fingernails way past the point of its predicted obsolescence. More importantly, we learn more from mistakes than we do from successes. That's part of the scientific method: hypothesis, test, learn, repeat until you get it right.
Lastly, those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it. Those are all good enough reasons for me. So here are my top 10 technology flops. But first, some ground rules. I stuck to the last 50 years or so. And I avoided specific company products. We've heard enough about the IBM PCjr, Apple Newton, Microsoft Bob, and OS2 to last 10 lifetimes.… Read more