Tech Disasters that shocked the world

By Kalyan Ajayakumar 

Every second, technology soars to new heights. Its development and growth are beyond the comprehension of the average person. But these achievements did not happen overnight. Instead, it is a process that can only be observed through numerous experiments. There will inevitably be more failures than successes. Such setbacks aid in recognition of success. It is impossible to create new technologies every time with perfect results. But funding development and the path there are by no means simple. It costs money to deliver a product in its entirety to the customer. On some level, failure is inevitable, but the money at stake and how frequently it happens are staggering. Numerous things can go wrong when billions are spent bringing hardware and software to market. A project may occasionally fail due to outside factors like bad weather and choppy market conditions. Other times, investor carelessness and neglect can cause fortunes to be lost. Let’s explore some of the worst technological disasters that cost a lot of time and money.

Microsoft Zune

When Steve Jobs unveiled the iPod, the majority of people had just begun to accept the idea that everything they knew would soon be available digitally. The speed of the internet was increasing, and new tools for facilitating entertainment on digital platforms appeared to be every week. Many companies released mp3-Players around the same time as Apple released the iPod, but none of them attained the market share that the iPod did (via MacWorld). Microsoft should have been able to compete with its own player, given its size and power. Why didn’t the Zune work when Windows remained the most popular operating system, and it had success with the XBOX gaming system? Medium claimed that the Zune had a great interface and was a high-quality product. Both its performance and specifications were comparable to those of the iPod. The conclusions, however, are that Microsoft failed to market the devices and chose an audience that was either too small or entirely inappropriate. Due to being five years behind its biggest competitor, poor timing most likely also played a role in its demise. In 2007, Tech Crunch reported that the slow-moving Zune, which had been reduced from its original retail price of $229 down to $168, had cost Microsoft $289 million in lost profits. 2011 saw the complete demise of the Zune.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7

Samsung has undoubtedly long been the best manufacturer of Android smartphones. The phones are the product that most people associate with the brand, even though the Korean company has been making all kinds of electronics for decades. When most smartphones were no bigger than a deck of cards, the Galaxy Note took advantage of a trend toward larger smartphone screens. Samsung’s best-selling Note Series took off and became popular. However, growth is not always free of discomfort. Soon after the Galaxy Note 7 series was released, reports of people’s phones spontaneously igniting, smoking, and smouldering into a semi-molten lump of useless electronic junk began to surface. News stories quickly surface when issues occur with one of the most popular devices in the world. Samsung had to take swift action in the wake of the Note 7 fires in order to preserve its reputation and limit its liability for any injuries or property damage the phone may have caused. In the end, Samsung issued a recall that cost the company an estimated $17 billion and instructed all Note 7 owners to turn off their devices.

The Morris Worm

With the threat of viruses, trojan horses, keyloggers, and other malicious digital software circulating online, the modern digital age offers a variety of opportunities for illicit digital activities. To counter these threats, dozens of businesses have developed software, fostering the growth of a booming and lucrative sector. But before these dangers were present, hardly anyone used a computer anywhere, much less one connected to a network. Networked computers were available in universities in the beginning, and research students made up the majority of their users. This served as a forerunner to the modern internet and the world wide web. Robert Morris developed a programme to assist him in tracking users out of pure curiosity to find out how many users had connected to the network. By rapidly replicating, spreading to other computers on the network, and causing multiple systems to overload and crash, he unintentionally created the first computer virus. The aftermath led to the first conviction under the 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and made the expanding community of computer users aware of the potential harm improper lines of code can cause. Morris was given a light sentence because the damage was the result of an accident, and he had no malicious intentions. However, cleaning up and restarting the systems took hours, and the FBI calculates that the damage cost anywhere between $100,000 and $10 million to repair.


Innovation is essential to the healthcare sector’s success. Investors are eager to seize new opportunities to carry out procedures that hasten to heal and cut costs. A 19-year-old college dropout leading such an endeavour is unusual, though. Elizabeth Holmes established Theranos in 2003, promising a quicker, simpler, less expensive, and better method of receiving results from blood tests. Blood testing can be a time-consuming and expensive diagnostic, but it is essential to providing effective healthcare. Theranos created a small, portable device that could measure blood pressure using a pinprick-sized blood sample rather than a vial. There was a lot of interest in the technology because many people in the scientific and medical communities were eager to see this product hit the market. According to Investopedia, Holmes was so successful at generating buzz that she was able to raise close to $1 billion and her company’s value increased to $10 billion. The delivery of the test equipment had not yet occurred, and many people began to wonder what Theranos was really up to as a result of the company’s tight security and secrecy. Federal authorities ultimately accused Holmes and the company’s president, Ramesh Balwani, of a number of counts of fraud. Theranos was eventually shut down, and Holmes was found guilty of all 11 of the charges brought against her. According to CNBC, over $600 million was reportedly lost by investors, including Betsy DeVos and Rupert Murdoch.

Mt. Gox Bitcoin-Fiasco

Today, financial professionals frequently use the term “Bitcoin.” Despite being brief, its history tells a complex story. The digital currency known as Bitcoin is not backed by a government institution. It is only exchanged between computer servers by sending digital packets between them, with additional servers confirming the validity and authenticity of the packets. These bundles, or wallets, can be kept on an exchange, which functions as a sort of digital currency vault. Around 2010, Mark Karpeles managed Mt. Gox, which at the time handled close to 70% of all Bitcoin transactions and had amassed a sizable amount of Bitcoin in its reserves (via Investopedia). This not only made it a well-liked location for those willing to wager on cryptocurrencies, but it also made it a very alluring target for malicious hackers. According to Wired, Mt. Gox experienced two separate hacks, one small and one large. A small number of Bitcoins were stolen as a result of the smaller breach, and the problem appeared to be solved after Mt. Gox replaced the stolen coins. The second hack was more significant and resulted in the loss of between 650,000 and 850,000 bitcoins, which is equivalent to billions of dollars, according to some. As a result of the aftermath, Karpeles was accused and found guilty in a Japanese court. 200,000 of the bitcoins that Karpeles had were found, but the vast majority were lost forever, leaving Mt. Gox customers with little to show for their holdings.


American consumers have a sizable appetite for fresh fruit juices and juice blends. The desire to “juice” and create various types of smoothies, juice extracts and similar products is still very strong. This offers clever businesspeople the chance to take advantage of the demand and supply of goods so that consumers can sate their cravings at home. In order to meet this demand, the people at Juicero came up with the novel idea of creating a machine that produced freshly squeezed juice from a proprietary device that only functioned with their packaged ingredients. To make it unique, the $700 machine operated by scanning a QR code on the packaging and pumping out freshly squeezed fruit juice in the user’s home while they relaxed. Everything was going smoothly until a couple of keen-eyed Bloomberg reporters published an article demonstrating that you can accomplish the same task that this $700 machine could work with just your two hands and a pair of scissors. The response was prompt, and sales immediately plummeted. According to the Consumerist, the company lost investors like Google-Parent-Alphabet and Basketball-Player-Kobe Bryant upwards of $120 million when they decided to shut down operations after the public realised they were being duped. Fortunately, this catastrophe only caused some bruised egos among those who spent $700 on a glorified Capri Sun dispenser.

RMS Titanic

Shipbuilding was one of the most technologically advanced sectors of transportation in an era before jets ruled the skies. Shipbuilders of the early 20th century created magnificent vessels that were capable of feats that were unthinkable a generation prior by building on the knowledge and expertise amassed since the first seafaring humans took to the water. The RMS Titanic was constructed using the best and most modern shipbuilding methods and technology available at the time. It was hailed for ushering in a new era of ocean travel with accommodations and luxury never before experienced at sea. The shipbuilders boasted haughtily that the boat couldn’t sink because they were so confident in their ability to build ships. On the evening of April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank to the ocean floor after striking an iceberg, demonstrating that it was a sinkable ship. According to Brittanica, a number of errors and mishaps, as well as a string of poor choices supported by the arrogance of believing the ship was unassailable contributed to the collision. Although the loss of 1517 lives is a tragedy that cannot be quantified in dollars or pounds, White Star Lines, the ship’s owner, suffered a tremendous financial loss. According to Investopedia, the Titanic was built for an estimated $7.5 million in 1912 or $400 million in today’s currency. That estimate is reasonable given that brand-new cruise ships can cost more than a billion dollars. Additionally, even after the ship sank, the costs related to the fallout kept rising.


Since its creation, the internet has provided us with a wide range of benefits. There are some great streaming video services among them that let us watch TV shows and movies whenever we want. Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime are a few of these excellent services, but Quibi is not one of them. Quibi is most definitely not among the top streaming services. It might have been incorporated. Yet it isn’t. Quibi recruited some incredible talent and an even more incredible amount of money, and it had all the potential of any tech startup. Most people would assume Jeffrey Katzenberg knows what he is doing when he launches an entertainment business because of his extensive history in Hollywood and his track record of other successful ventures. Most people would be horribly mistaken. For unknown reasons, Quibi was only able to create brief videos that could only be viewed on mobile devices. They made an effort to fix their error, but it was already too late. This decision turned out to have a fatal flaw. The cost of hiring A-list Hollywood actors, producers, and directors was the only thing more astonishing than this terrible choice. From beginning to end, the Quibi-Run took six months. The fact that Katzenberg began the Quibi saga with a meagre $1.5 billion budget is one of its impressive aspects. The fact that he raised more than a billion dollars and set it on fire in such a short period of time is even more impressive.

Mariner I

After the Soviet Union successfully launched Sputnik, the space race accelerated, and the United States responded by making every effort to explore space. The Mariner I research craft, which left in 1962 to study Venus, was one of the efforts (via Mental Floss). Total research, development, launch, and support costs for the Mariner series of spacecraft (Mariners 1 through 10) were estimated by NASA to be $554 million; however, the US Inflation Calculator estimates that the amount would be more than $5 billion in today’s dollars. Mariner I would have cost $500 million if all ten spacecraft’s costs were distributed equally. The craft was designed to pass close to Venus and gather information about the planet. The Soviet Union had already made an unsuccessful attempt to reach Venus. According to mission details published in Electrical Design Magazine, the spacecraft began to deviate from its intended path as a result of an unplanned yaw-lift manoeuvre. Within 293 seconds of launch, ground control issued an order to abort the mission. NASA conducted a review of the flight and found that the code contained a missing hyphen, which allowed the craft to receive the wrong guidance signals. Even though NASA has many plans that can fail, some people might consider the failure caused by a single character of code to be a terrible waste of tax money. Within months of Mariner I’s demise, a second spacecraft was prepared, was launched, and went on to become the first Earth-based planetary discovery mission to be successful.


Finding a place to launch a business is just one of the difficulties faced by entrepreneurs. Commercial real estate can be pricey and typically necessitates commitments over a long period of time. Giving startups a fully equipped, ready-to-use workspace that they can rent for a short time and expand into offers flexibility and takes care of a lot of the problems that come with starting a business. WeWork started its business by renting out large spaces and individual desks and workstations that were already set up and ready to go, along with a variety of perks like free beer and cafes. The management of the company, not the business model, was the source of the issues. Buzzfeed discovered that raising capital was the one thing WeWork did better than anything else. WeWork was able to raise ever-increasing investments into the company to the point that its valuation increased to the billions despite operating on razor-thin profit margins, if not losses, by floating huge potential- that anyone who worked in an office is a potential customer. The initial public offering, or IPO, in 2019 brought to a head all of the hype and investment flurry. The CEO of WeWork resigned and gave up his shares within six weeks after the company’s IPO, according to The Guardian, and Softbank, the company’s largest shareholder, took over. WeWork is still around, albeit with a more cautious and reliable management team, and it is no longer a hype-driven tech darling.

Fisker Automotive

Several companies are available to meet the demand for emission-free vehicles, and electric cars currently rule the automotive news. Many businesses have made an effort to present workable concepts that could satisfy demand. Fisker failed miserably in this, while Tesla has done so. The company Henrik Fisker founded produced the Karma, a high-end hybrid sports sedan. Henrik Fisker is a skilled auto designer known for creating stylish exterior and interior styling for vehicles like the Aston Martin V8 Vantage and the BMW Z8. Despite the car’s eye-catching features, owners soon discovered design flaws. According to Edmunds’ review of the 2012 Karma, the interior’s biggest drawbacks are a small trunk, blind spots, and a cramped space in the back. With these drawbacks and a list price over $100,000, it was challenging to draw buyers. Consumer Reports also gave it a failing grade, and the business ultimately fell short of expectations. Fisker failed in 2013, plagued by its issues and the risks of operating in a specialised market. Although Fisker had attracted numerous notable investors, the U.S. government was the largest investor. Fisker received government-backed loans with approval for up to $500 million as part of the Obama administration’s initiatives to promote the development of electric vehicles. The government recovered about a quarter of the total amount received, according to The Atlantic, but even so, $150 million in taxpayer money was irreparably lost.

Most people are familiar with the well-known websites that were launched in the 1990s: Amazon, eBay, Zappos, Alibaba, and Netflix. Each started selling online early and enjoyed great success. Many people once believed that would be one of them. The majority of those in charge of believed it would eventually achieve great success, but it didn’t. In 1998, was established as the top web resource for all pet owners’ needs. Late in the 1990s, dial-up connections and sluggish websites were still the norms on the internet. Some early adopters began with modest resources and employed a variety of tactics to gradually and steadily increase their customer base. made the decision to raise the most venture capital and invest it in marketing.

Furthermore, the people running did little market research and somehow failed to realise their most profitable items, like food and litter, are heavy and expensive to ship, according to Jeff Fischer of The Motley Fool. “Given its marketing spending plan, management was aware when the company went public on Valentine’s Day this year that it would soon require more funding, Fischer wrote. The volume of the smaller, more affordable-to-ship items, like dog toys, is insufficient to generate the consistent, dependable profits that consumables would generate. The New York Times reported that shut down around the year 2000 after spending $147 million, and Computer World noted that by the end of 2000, Petsmart had purchased the domain name.

The bottom line

Disasters brought on by technology can be incredibly exhausting because they are unpredictable, damaging, and disorganised. On various levels, people, as individuals, families, and communities, are all impacted. Individuals could suffer from loss of money, employment, and future security. Even post-traumatic stress disorder and severe depression are conditions that some people suffer from (PTSD). Communities may experience a collective sense of frustration with the government, emergency personnel, and technology managers. Rumours and misunderstandings can cause people to lose trust, make bad choices, and have unrealistic expectations for public services. Overall, contrasting perspectives may cause the community to become divided. When it comes to enterprises, they will either lose money due to halted business operations or become overburdened with excessive demand for services. The preparation of individuals, communities, first responders and the government is essential to managing technology disasters. Plans for emergency responses, hierarchies in communication, command structures, and public awareness campaigns all aid. Through effective collaboration, communication, and communication, and technological catastrophe may be managed.

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