The Worst Product Flops of 2012
1. Apple Maps
> Company: Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL)
When Apple upgraded its operating platform to the iOS6, the company decided to dump rival Google’s Maps system and replace it with its own product. When the service debuted in September, though, a host of problems arose. Users quickly noticed incorrect information, such as confusing Greenland with the Indian Ocean. Some images were only in black and white, and some points on the map were obscured by clouds. The fiasco was so bad that Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote a public letter apologizing for the mess. When Apple’s senior vice president of iOS software, Scott Forstall, refused to sign the letter, he was shown the door. As the company tried to solve the problem, it recommended using its competitors services. This month, Google maps returned to the iPhone and became the most downloaded app in the iTunes store less than a day after its release.
2. Dodge Dart
> Company: Chrysler
Chrysler placed much emphasis on the Dart, hoping it could compete with other compact cars such as the Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus. The company began its marketing campaign during the Major League Baseball All-Star game with a 90-second commercial featuring NFL quarterback Tom Brady. Even though Chrysler aimed for the fences, the Dart appears to have struck out. Initial sales were as low as 200 units a month. And although Chrysler managed to sell 4,500 Darts in November, it was well below sales of the Civic and Corolla, which sold 30,075 and 22,255, respectively, during the same month. Analysts at Edmunds.com tell 24/7 Wall St. that Chrysler did not have experience selling compact cars in the same manner it had selling Jeeps and trucks. Reviewers from Consumer Reports failed to give the Dart its “recommended” rating due to powertrain issues.
3. “John Carter”
>Company: Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS)
“John Carter” was widely touted by Disney, but the ingredients to make it a success were never there. The director, Andrew Stanton, had never directed a live-action movie before. The executives producing the film had minimal experience running a movie production. The reviews were, to be generous, mixed. The science-fiction movie, which cost $250 million to make and another $100 million to promote, opened with a meager $30.6 million in U.S. ticket sales. Foreign sales helped boost opening weekend to more than $100 million, but sales quickly fell. Disney said shortly after the release it would take a $200 million write-down on the movie, making it the biggest box-office dud ever.
4. Sony Tablet P
> Company: Sony (NYSE: SNE)
Earlier this year Sony debuted the Tablet P, the company’s attempt to make tablets an even more portable experience. The P features a unique clamshell design, allowing the device to fold in half and fit into a pocket. This feature, however, also resulted in a flaw that ruined the device for most users. In order to fold, the screen is split in half by a large, black hinge, which makes playing games and reading incredibly awkward. Because of the screen split, as well as complaints about the operating system and touchscreen sensitivity, the P garnered horrible reviews. In response to poor sales, the device was sold at steep discount — dropping from $549 to $199 — within a few months. In August, Sony announced it would be updating the Android operating system to the latest “Jellybean” version for the Sony Tablet S, but that the P would not be updated. The company is no longer selling the tablet on its American website.