Business

Technology 2012: The year’s winners and losers

The losers

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RIM, BlackBerry

It’s been a disastrous year for a company that was once a smartphone king. The forecast was cloudy at the beginning of the year, and it took losing less than investors expected to end the year on a high note, of sorts.

But revenue is down almost 50 percent, and my bet is that the story will be similar in one more year.

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HP

HP had almost as bad a year as RIM. Competing for the worst board in America is not a great way to start. Nor is bleeding employees or taking massive $8.8 billion accounting charge over a failed acquisition.

But perhaps even worse is your CEO telling investors that a company turn-around will take another five years, which basically means: Go away if you want any return on your money.

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Sony (PS3, PS Vita)

Gaming revenues are falling, good news is lower losses than expected, stock is down 80 percent in the last five years. …

And while PS3 sales were decent over the Black Friday weekend, the console is in third place for the living room battle.

Sony is losing the TV and phone and gaming battles to Korean companies, Microsoft — and Apple.

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Google Nexus Q

It could stream games — sort of — and not much else, leading us to call it a “big ball of boring.”

A rare fail for Google.

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3DTV

The latest 3DTV story on VentureBeat is from January 2012, and that about sums it up.

Cool, sure, but an almost complete lack of live content recorded in 3D make 3DTVs still more of a gimmick than a must-have technical toy.

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NFC (on this continent, anyways)

This story could be so much different if the iPhone 5 had included a near-field communications chip. But it didn’t, and while Google Wallet and some smart funky socks do, and even while 100 million NFC chips have shipped so far, the technology has hardly impacted the U.S. yet.

Perhaps that will change in 2013 with combo radios from Broadcomm that bundle Bluetooth, NFC, and cellular communications.

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Groupon

How good does that $5 billion acquisition offer from Google look now? And how happy are Google execs that the deal did not actually move forward?

Impossibly good, and very happy.

The one-year IPO anniversary was more funeral than party, and increased earnings are still not coming with actual, factual, bankable profit.

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Intel

CEO Paul Otellini is retiring next year with his biggest legacy: a massive miss on the mobile market.

And while Intel still makes boatloads of money, the desktop industry is not growing, and its mobile efforts have so far not led to any significant success.

Things are so bad that some analysts speculated that Intel would start building ARM chips — the ultimate humiliation.

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Zynga

Weak earnings, executive turnover, copyright infringement claims, and allegations of insider trading.

Add to it all a minidivorce from Facebook and it has not been a year for Marc Pincus to write home about as the once-mighty social games king has floundered in 2012.

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Nokia

This one is just too easy: Nokia slipped to 4 percent market share in smartphones in the third quarter, and just this month agreed to sell its edifice complex headquarters in Espoo for $222 million.

Sadly, Windows 8 is no savior, at least with the way Microsoft has been playing this “partner.”

Next page: Win some, lose some

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