John C. Dvorak X3: Biggest Tech Flops of 2011

John C. Dvorak and pals tell you what products, in their opinions, truly sucked last year.

Before we get too much further into the New Year, here’s John C. Dvorak, Andrew Eisner and Joseph Engo with the top tech flops of 2011.


  • IMHO, Netflix’s splitting of content delivery was the major flop of the past year. Their selection of content is just pallid outside of documentaries and television series, with many of the latter available to watch for free – with commercials – on Hulu.

    • Netflix seems to have more extensive copyright privileges, with access to entire television series seasons, and a decent number on both DVD and “Watch Instantly” streaming.

  • Netflix certainly handled the whole thing as badly as — no, make that, worse than — any company has ever handled anything. But the split was inevitable. So much of its streaming content came out the original sweetheart deal with Starz, and with that expiring it faces a much tougher future cutting deal with studios. So, 2011’s endless PR blunders aside, its biggest blunder may have actually occurred a couple years ago when they started down the road of conditioning their customers to think of streaming content as a free bonus on their DVD plans.

    Still, Netflix’s 2011 is a stunning demonstration of how devastating PR blunders can be. Even with the price increase and separate fees, their unlimited commercial-free streaming and 1 DVD at-a-time plan is still a penny less a month than the price of HBO alone (and of course you can’t buy HBO alone). But we haven’t seen any kind of effective messaging out of Netflix to drive that point home. I’m don’t know if they’re in shock after years of being the golden boys, or just incompetent, but I have to think that eventually the board and or stockholders will get tired of the endless mismanagement.