Top 10 tech blunders of 2012

December 21, 2012 // By George Leopold, Junko Yoshida
In a year that saw consolidation around several electronics ecosystems (think Apple), 2012 also had its share of missteps (think Apple, again). In the pages that follow, we chronicle the year's most notable corporate delays, false steps, miscalculations and screw-ups.

They say there is no experience without suffering. Let’s hope those who goofed in 2012 will learn from their mistakes.

Apple loses its way on maps
The engine of the “iEconomy” was already taking a beating over reports of labor abuses at its leading manufacturing partner, Foxconn, when the roll out of the iPhone 5 in the fall was overshadowed by a map-app fiasco. Under new CEO Tim Cook, Apple decided to ditch a reliable Google maps system for a poorly designed and inadequately tested version that led users astray and became the butt of talk-show jokes. The consumer electronics giants apologized profusely and vowed to fix the iPhone’s map app, but reports were still trickling in at year’s end of lost, confused and angry users.

Lesson: Don’t try to reinvent the wheel, even if you are the biggest corporation on Earth.

Who will run Intel?
When CEOs at Freescale and Intel suddenly announced retirement plans this year without naming successors, it struck us as odd. The moves were explained as "a necessary step" by companies that said they were also looking at external candidates.

Once a company conducting a CEO search starts calling external candidates, those people are under no obligation to keep the overture confidential. Fortunately, Freescale's CEO transition moved fairly smoothly as the company tapped ex-TI executive Gregg Lowe to replace Rich Beyer, Freescale’s former chairman and CEO.
But the succession drama at Intel – which had $54 billion revenue in 2011 – is more intriguing. Why would CEO Paul Otellini announce his retirement six months in advance?

Otellini has reportedly expressed his satisfaction with Intel’s internal candidates. He argued that picking an insider would be the smart path for Intel given the challenges the chip giant faces. But he added, “It’s not up to me, but I think that’s the most likely outcome.”

What happened to grooming the next CEO, which at Intel was an important