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Wallpaper|February 2018

History’s worst design decisions, Part I: Tech

The tech industry is an over-stuffed graveyard of bad design decisions, and the past year’s obituary list of lost devices is long. The fire went out of 3DTV, Microsoft gave up on the Windows Phone OS, and even established names like Vertu closed their doors. Bad luck, bad design or simple functional failure?

If there’s one thing the history of tech has shown us, it’s that there are no sure-fire bets. The doubters who dismissed the iPhone join the short-sighted sages who staked their names on the failure of the car, the telephone and the internet. Customers don’t always take the superior path (witness Sony’s struggles with Betamax), while brands don’t always do the smart thing (Kodak ignored its own patent for digital photography).

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