The biggest tech turkeys of 2016

This year's most notable flops came from tech's heaviest hitters, proving that anyone -- from Samsung to Facebook to Apple -- can have a bad moment. Or two.

Roger Cheng Former Executive Editor / Head of News
Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
Expertise Mobile, 5G, Big Tech, Social Media Credentials
  • SABEW Best in Business 2011 Award for Breaking News Coverage, Eddie Award in 2020 for 5G coverage, runner-up National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Award for culture analysis.
Roger Cheng
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It was a rough year in tech.

Gabe Souza

Editors' note: Another year, another round of embarrassing gaffes, flops and downright terrible behavior. Join us for a look at the biggest Tech Turkeys of 2017.

It's time to pay thanks for the bounty of turkeys bequeathed to us by the world of tech. And oh, were they plentiful this year.

Many of 2016's embarrassments came courtesy of tech's biggest companies, proving that nobody is too big to screw up. It's like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, but instead of colorful balloon versions of famous characters like Pikachu or SpongeBob Squarepants, you get a procession of misfires from household tech names like Samsung and Yahoo.

Then there was the rare merger of tech and politics, as this year's race for the White House thrived on social media -- often for the worse. Twitter, Facebook and other social networks helped fuel one of the most vitriolic and improbable elections in history, with everything from 3 a.m. tweets about former beauty queens and sex tapes to Anthony Weiner's sexting scandal.

Donald Trump and a couple of his tweets after winning the election. Twitter played a critical role in his ascent.

Donald Trump and a couple of his tweets after winning the election. Twitter played a critical role in his ascent.

Getty Images, Twitter. Composite image by CNET



Security also helped serve up many turkeys, from the hack of the Democratic National Committee to Yahoo losing info associated with at least half a billion (yes, billion) personal accounts. The safety of our personal data -- last year's top turkey -- once again reared its head. Between a massive online attack using our connected devices and the hack of an adult site, it was impossible to ignore.

This year also saw the end of BlackBerry building its own phones, the demise of media gossip site Gawker and the shuttering of social video service Vine (though Twitter might sell it).

Watch this: Top 5 tech turkeys of 2016

The grand turkey of the year goes to Samsung. The company basked in the success of its Galaxy S7 phone and showed off a new smartwatch, the Galaxy Gear S3. But then it roasted its customers, literally, when the much-anticipated Note 7 caught fire. Again. And again.

Of course, no year-end list is complete without mention of the inescapable phenomenon of Pokemon Go, which has been downloaded more than 500 million times since its July debut. Even with its success, though, the game wasn't without its problems, from updates that ticked off players to fanatic gamers hunting for monsters at places like the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.

So without further ado, here's a superduper-size edition of the worst in tech in 2016, starting with the least embarrassing and escalating from there. Gobble, gobble!

The biggest tech turkeys of 2016

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