Microsoft’s biggest flops of the decade


A recent TechRepublic article had Windows 8, Windows RT, and Windows Phone. As we wrap up the decade, what makes your list?

Comments (18)

18 responses to “Microsoft’s biggest flops of the decade”

  1. warren

    Microsoft's acquisition of Motorola was a $5 billion++ flop. The original partnership was good, we got some great phones like the Lumia 920, but post-acquisition everything went sideways.

  2. Daishi

    I think it’s pretty safe to give this to the Surface RT. As disappointing as the results from Windows 8 and the various incarnations of Phone May have been neither of them resulted in a billion dollar write down in less than a year.

    • driftsk

      In reply to Daishi:

      Actually, the Nokia Mobile Business acquisition resulted in a write-off of $7.6 billion in one year (April 2014-April 2015), so that would be the biggest flop if we use money loss as metric. (deliberately simplifying as we know the story was way more complicated.)

      On the other hand Surface RT has the merit of having started what is today a successful product line. We wouldn't have today's Surfaces without that belittled, underpowered RT.

      Full disclosure: I purchased my Surface RT in October 2012 and I'm still using it for web browsing, Netflix, light productivity and SSH into remote systems. I think it was beautifully designed and well built, and it saved me more than once in circumstances where an iPad - albeit superior under all aspects - could not have. So yes, I might be biased.

  3. justme

    This is a difficult one. In my case, I would tend to not include Windows 8/8.1, but I understand why others do.

    For me - its Windows as a Service. It is any attempt thus far for a "light" version of Windows, meaning RT and S. It is the launch of the XBox One.

  4. madthinus

    Nokia purchase - Took forever to close and once they did close they did nothing with it.

    Microsoft Store - A me too product that did nothing special and was a dumpster fire of junk apps to chase numbers

    Xbox One (The S was the corrected version of the console. The original had DDR3 and Kinect. Sony made better choices / trade offs)

    Windows 8 tablet first UI. Windows 8 as a core Desktop OS had some great features ideas, tied to an interface no one wanted.

    • illuminated

      In reply to madthinus:

      Nokia, Microsoft Store and UWP are the parts of the Windows Phone failure.

      Although it is unfair to say that Microsoft Store is junk. Apps are junk (I have my junk there too BTW) but the store service is good.

  5. codymesh

    Windows 8 and the Xbox One launch

  6. Bats

    Biggest flops....?........? Pretty much everything. I am thinking it about it now, I am laughing. Think back to all the companies that brought something cool to the tech sector. Then, all of a sudden, Microsoft enters the picture like Maroon 5 showing up to perform at a wedding (think, Sugar) and not one gives a s**t ?. Microsoft has serious delusions of grandeur. Even Bill Gates blames himself for Android....when it didn't even exist (WTH?).

    If I have to pinpoint to Microsoft biggest flop.......?........Xbox One? Surface (the "darling" that saved the PC industry as per Brad Samms )? There is just so many. Pretty much everything, that was not created in the 80's or 90's.

  7. Lordbaal

    Windows 8 was not a flop. It was the beginning of 10.

  8. anoldamigauser

    Windows as a service.

  9. wolters

    This is tough to I was a fan of Windows Phone and Windows 8.1 (once I got used to it) but I can look outside of that and realize why both didn't do well.

    Remember the Dad trying Windows 8 for the first time?

    I think their attempts at a "lite" Windows are the biggest failure. Windows RT, Windows S-Mode and the jury is still out on "Windows on ARM."

    • illuminated

      In reply to wolters:

      Windows 8 was over the top but the video of somebody not knowing what to do was an exaggeration. Recently I was at apple store and tried to use iPad that had not button. I seriously did not know what to do. Apple is no longer intuitive for people who are not frequent apple users.

  10. Winner

    Microsoft spent billions for aQuantive in I think 2007 (not this decade), but wrote it all off early in this decade. Another bunch of $billions wasted on a Ballmer escapade.