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Quiz Of The Week: Tech Failures

Peter Judge has been involved with tech B2B publishing in the UK for many years, working at Ziff-Davis, ZDNet, IDG and Reed. His main interests are networking security, mobility and cloud

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This week’s quiz celebrates heroic but misguided efforts by the tech industry

After last year’s efforts to promote Tech Success, this week’s quiz looks at the flip side – when the IT industry gets it gloriously, hopelessly wrong.

From misjudged product launches to mammoth security blunders, we’ve rounded up our favourite IT bloopers and goofs, in a quiz which will test your understanding of what it is to mess up big-time. At least you will be in company where you literally cannot lose!

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A brief history of fail

There’s nothing new in getting things wrong, so we have interspersed recent blunders with classic errors from technology history.

And, while we don’t want to overburden your Friday by getting overly serious, there are a couple of things we can learn from a study of cock-ups.

Firstly, these mistakes were mostly not fatal. Google, Microsoft, Apple and IBM all feature here, but their slip-ups are generally only a minor set-back on a successful trajectory. In fact, you can’t succeed without  being prepared to make a few mistakes on the way.

And secondly, a lot of failures were simply too early. “My tech failure of all time would be the Apple Newton,” Gartner vice president Richard Gordon told us. “It was just too far ahead of its time. Years later we have everything it tried to offer, in our pockets.” But how many years ago did Apple make that foray into portable computing? That would be telling!

So explore a world of failure in this quiz. If there is anything we got wrong, do let us know, or if we missed your favourite clunker.

Take the quiz!

And if you like it, try some of our others…