From Musk-Twitter to FTX: Tech’s Biggest Fails in 2022 Roundup
The turn of the new year is an opportunity to look in the rearview mirror, looking at major failures in the tech industry and the lessons that can be learned from them.
Chaos is the new normal for social media
Over the past few years, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok have had their fair share of controversies, from political controversies to data privacy issues. But few have faced the chaos that has engulfed Twitter since Elon Musk took control last October after spending $44 billion to buy the social network. Mass layoffs, brutal management, controversial and erratic decisions… The billionaire made enough missteps to threaten Twitter’s existence, send Tesla’s stock down, and tarnish his image as a visionary who succeeds in everything. Elon Musk has questioned whether to continue as CEO of Twitter after receiving numerous requests from his subscribers about the feasibility of making certain changes and restoring banned accounts, including Donald Trump’s. After the majority voted in favor of his departure, he promised to resign as soon as he was found.” someone crazy enough to take the job! “.
The collapse of cryptocurrency reminds us that money is not easy
The NFT craze of 2022 started with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies reaching all-time highs, and FTX was not yet popular. Eleven months later, bitcoin and the rest of the cryptocurrency market are still struggling to recover from a major crisis that wiped out $2 trillion in market capitalization over the summer. Last month, leading cryptocurrency exchange FTX collapsed after rival Binance backed out of its acquisition plan. Investigations revealed management violations by FTX executives that led to a major financial scandal. Sam Bankman-Fried, the platform’s founder and leader, was arrested in the Bahamas and later extradited to the United States to face trial after being released on $250 million bail. That’s why cryptocurrencies end the year the way it started: they’re on everyone’s mind, but for the worst reasons. It’s a painful reminder to some that despite the meteoric rise of digital currencies in recent years, these gains are not guaranteed.
The Metaverse may be the future, but not anytime soon
More than a year ago, Facebook moved into the metaverse and rebranded itself as Meta to symbolize the company’s commitment to a new virtual platform on which it banked heavily.
But the metaverse did not develop as expected, and Meta was affected in a very concrete way, swallowing huge sums as Facebook’s ad revenue plummeted in a deteriorating economic context. All this led to a massive layoff plan involving 13% of Meta’s total workforce, or 11,000 layoffs.
Nothing is forever, some things are less than others
In 2022, we said goodbye to several flagship online services and others that few knew existed. Moral: Even the hottest product or service can be gone in the blink of an eye.
That’s what happened with Google Stadia. Launched two years ago, the streaming video game platform was supposed to revolutionize the way we play. But a series of technical issues, public enthusiasm and lack of investment led Google to announce that Stadia will be shutting down for good starting January 18, 2023.
Even more ephemeral is Spotify’s Car Thing, a car accessory that was introduced in 2021 but only went on sale last February. After just five months on the market, the music streaming platform has thrown in the towel citing low sales volume.
Also exit Pixy, the selfie-taking drone that Snap launched in the US and France in April 2022 and abandoned in August due to strategic positioning. The summer of 2022 was also fatal for Facebook’s Portal-connected screens.
The problem of shortage of electronic chips has not yet been solved
A pandemic-related slowdown in semiconductor production in Asia has been a major factor behind shortages in many consumer goods, from cars to graphics cards. This situation has highlighted that we are too dependent on a few vendors for the small chips that power virtually everything.
A year ago, Intel laid out a big plan to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. and invested in a new generation of tools to make it happen. But in October, the smelter said its third-quarter profit fell 85% from a year earlier and it expects annual revenue to fall short of its forecast. In these difficult circumstances, Intel’s ambition to make the US more self-sufficient in semiconductors will take years to materialize.
There is nothing to fear from AI. For the moment…
On a funnier note, Meta’s BlenderBot 3 chatbot, in a chat with CNET’s Queenie Wong, said it’s not a fan of Facebook. Or Galactica, another AI from Meta, designed to digest millions of scientific papers and “organize science” that should be “paused” after making erroneous claims.
Conversely, the DALL-E image generator from OpenAI (renamed Craiyon) impressed with its ability to generate content from text. What about the ChatGPT conversational AI, developed by OpenAI in early December and surprising everyone with its accuracy and timeliness. Within days of its launch, over a million people had tried ChatGPT. Some even saw it as a direct threat to Google and certain professions, starting with journalism in general.
CNET.com article adapted from CNETFrance
Photo: James Martin/CNET