CNN has a gallery of the dumbest tech failures of 2006, including:
Sony’s exploding PC batteries;
The response by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which addressed such problems by advising laptop computer users to not use laptop computers in their laps;
A promotion with the TV show “The Apprentice”, where instead of promoting the client, General Motors, the team produced an advertisement blaming GM for Global Warming;
A McDonald’s promotion in Japan which gave away thousands of MP3 players – infected with computer viruses designed to steal passwords for hackers;
Amazon.com’s pre-game sales of UCLA’s NCAA Basketball Championship hats – – – the day before UCLA loses to Florida in the actual game;
AirTran’s collapse of their computer systems in June, leading to denial of boarding passes to thousands of customers at the airport, forcing paying customers to miss their flights while the airline ignored the problem;
and of course YouTube, which collected thousands of popular videos without requesting permission from the original site, sent a cease-and-desist demand to a user who found a way for users to save videos to their hard drive from YouTube.
What’s amazing to me, is that in spite of such “accomplishments”, the U.S. is still the model for business success for the world.