CNN Dings Ping, Stings “Antennagate” as Top Ten Fails

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CNN has published a lit of the “The 10 Biggest Tech ‘Fails’ of 2010,” and Apple made the list twice. The news powerhouse named the iPhone 4’s “Antennagate” kerfuffle as the #1 “Tech Fail” of 2010, while Ping was included as #10, both of which were included in our Ted Landau’s list of the five “bottom” stories of the year where Apple was portrayed in a bad light.

Taking the top spot in the list was the so-called “Antennagate” problem where some users lost all signal to their carrier when holding the device in certain way that became known as the “Death Grip.”

“First Apple said the problem didn’t exist,” CNN’s Doug Gross wrote. “Then they said it was a software issue. Then they kind-of admitted it existed and gave away free cases to help. Then, they said it doesn’t really exist anymore and stopped giving away the bumpers.”

All of which is fairly accurate and to the point, but CNN also noted that, “Months later, the problem is all but forgotten and the phones show no sign of dipping in popularity. So ‘fail,’ in this case, is a pretty relative term.”

Which begs the question of how this qualifies as one of the biggest “Tech Fails” of the year — the iPhone 4 is the single most successful smartphone on the planet, after all.

Then again, he labeled the scandal as a “Tech Fail,” and not the device itself, an important distinction. Apple’s effort to correct perceptions was massive, and the company received more negative ink for this issue than it has since the days when Michael Diesel was hiding under his desk in Cupertino or Gil Amelio was wielding the corporate firing axe like Paul Bunyun on a killing spree.

While Apple came out the other side of this problem just fine, it took a Herculean effort by the company to do so.

Falling in at #10 is Apple’s Ping music social networking service built into-iTunes. “There’s a whole social network set up in Apple’s iTunes store now,” Mr. Gross wrote. “Didn’t know that? Well, there you go.”

He noted that not all artists participate in the service, and that it doesn’t integrate with Facebook. “And, a lot of the time,” he wrote, “it simply pushes you to buy music. Needless to say, Ping hasn’t really caught on.”

Also included in the list are:

  • 2. 3-D TV
  • 3. Microsoft Kin
  • 4. Nexus One
  • 5. Facebook privacy
  • 6. Google Buzz
  • 7. Gawker media sites hacked
  • 8. Content farms
  • 9. Digg relaunch

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The iPhone is still a top seller, I’d take that kind of “fail” any day and cry all the way to the bank, just like Apple probably is.


I’m sure you meant “Michael Diesel” in a tongue in cheek way, Bryan. smile

Does anyone know whatever happened to that guy? From what I can tell he faded into complete obscurity after he imploded as Apple’s CEO… info on other CEO’s - Amelio, Sculley, etc. is easy to find after their tenure, but Spindler? He completely vanished, without a trace. Or maybe he found that Supreme Closet In The Sky to hide in.


I think antenna gate was the single biggest tech scandal success of the year: a successful inflation of a non-issue into a gigantic story.

As for bigger actual fails, the Kin and the Gawker hack were much bigger. Kin for spectacularly selling no phones and Gawker for for the lax security that allowed the hackers so much access.

Lee Dronick

think antenna gate was the single biggest tech scandal success of the year: a successful inflation of a non-issue into a gigantic story.

CNN: Breaking news! Let’s go to Tamora. Tamora what is happening there?

Well Titus, Lady Gaga’s flight just landed at the airport without incident and is taxiing towards the terminal! That is all the information we have at this time…back to you.

Thank you Tamora. We will keep you advised of this breaking story, stay tuned. Coming up at the top of hour we will discus how mainlining allspice can affect your health.


I would agree that “Antennagate” (I hate that term) is the #1 Tech “fail” of the year.

But it was a failure of reporting. It was a failure of the newsoids to get the facts. A failure of reporters to do their job properly.  A failure of Consumer Reports to properly test and then a failure to admit that they screwed up. A failure of a media who were more concerned about joining in the pack of baying hounds than getting at the actual facts of the story.

There was a fail, a screw-up, an act of complete incompitance, but it wasn’t Apple’s.


We all knew journalism was dying, and this was another example. Why research when you can just repeat?


interesting, I still have to put a case on my iPhone4 to prevent signal loss.

issue or not, the biggest fail here is societites continued downward spiral and obsession over material products that allows them to accept big corporations screwing up and accepting probably the most arrogant display of corporate “perception control”. Apple handled the entire situation like someone with a god complex out of control. “Who us? Apple? Oh we never screw up”.

The only win here is journalisms constant reporting on the issue to finally get Steve Jobs to man up enough to deal with it like a real respectable human being insfead of treating his customers like a bunch of idiots.

bottom line: the iPhone4 antennae design is flawed simply oveer the fact that you have to wear a cass to prevent signal loss. Some people dont experience, others do. Other phones can exhibit the same issue but are not as sensitive to it as the iPhone.

Now Ill step out of the way to allow all you fanboys to flame away in your rabid inability to accept anything other than “Steve Jobs is GOD!”

Lee Dronick

I still have to put a case on my iPhone4 to prevent signal loss

Do you lose bars or do you drop calls?




Gawker Media getting hacked was big, but I would have though that Gawker media’s shameless outing of the guy who lost the iPhone 4 prototype was an even bigger fail.  Much like “attennagate”, both were stories that were just as much about journalism failure than tech failure.

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