The tech world is a place where, for better or worse, anything can happen. And whether we’re having a controlled and intentional meltdown, or we’re a victim of the technology itself, it can lead to some pretty memorable results. We’ve scoured the web for examples, and managed to come up with these 15 Epic Tech Meltdowns You Won’t Believe. From famous directors to famously volatile CEOs, our list has a little something for everyone.
1. Michael Bay at CES
One thing we’ll give director Michael Bay (Transformers and Ninja Turtles): he was a lot less offensive than some folks on our list. That’s because when his teleprompter malfunctioned as he was speaking in support of Samsung’s curved television set at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), he ran off stage like a frightened animal. The incident resulted in a number of media sites and YouTubers jeering him for not being able to intelligently talk off-the-cuff about a product he was supposed to be endorsing. While this sort of thing could happen to anybody, it’s probably best that Bay stick with movies and forgo a side career as product spokesman. Check-out the full video here.
2. Mark Zuckerberg on Government Spying
Mark Zuckerberg, creator and CEO of the social networking site Facebook, recently took to the popular platform to let loose his frustration against NSA spying. In a thoughtful but epic takedown of US government overreach, Zuckerberg charged the government to be more open and transparent with how they go about collecting data and treating the privacy of common Internet users. Here’s a small highlight:
” The internet works because most people and companies do the same. We work together to create this secure environment and make our shared space even better for the world. This is why I’ve been so confused and frustrated by the repeated reports of the behavior of the US government. When our engineers work tirelessly to improve security, we imagine we’re protecting you against criminals, not our own government.”
The only problem with Zuckerberg’s meltdown: it came long after Edward Snowden’s revelations on NSA PRISM, a program in which many feel Facebook was complicit. Pot, meet Kettle.
3. Steve Jobs Demo Fail
In June 2010, former Apple head, the late Steve Jobs, was attempting to strut the iPhone 4’s stuff in front of a convention hall filled with people at the World Wide Developers Conference. Unfortunately, the building’s Internet connectivity had other ideas.
At the beginning of the video, you can see the wondrous device respond with an annoying, “Could not activate cellular data network” popup. Jobs tried breaking the ice with apologies and a little humor. He later “found out why my demo crashed,” telling the audience there were “570 Wi-Fi base stations operating in this room…We can’t deal with that.”
He then requested everyone to turn off their Internet connections so he could run the demo. Jobs did much better handling this tech meltdown than Michael Bay, though we still like to pretend he found someone to fire afterwards anyway.
4. AP Twitter Feed Hacked
While distrust of the media is at an all-time high, most people still expect to hear truth from news organizations like the Associated Press. If that describes you, then this little tweet from April 2013 raised your blood pressure a few points:
“Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.”
Of course, they were hacked, but seconds after the post was issued, the Dow Jones industrial average plunged more than 128 points. As a result, the AP temporarily suspended its account and issued a retraction.
5. Apple Maps Botch-Job
September 19, 2012, is a day that Scott Forstall, former senior vice-president of iOS and the point man on Apple Maps (emphasis on former), probably wants to forget. That was the day Apple Maps rolled out for the iPhone and became the technological laughingstock of the year. The app was plagued from the beginning with many users and commentators complaining of issues ranging from improper labeling of places to unmapped roads. Some of the more face-palming mishaps included showing the wrong location of the Sydney, Australia, Apple Store; marking an entire city as a hospital; mislabeling a nursery as an airport; and identifying the nearest gas station to be as far as 76 miles away from the user’s location. Nine days later, Apple CEO Tim Cook issued a letter advising Apple users to use third-party apps instead. In the company’s defense, the program has improved greatly in the last two years.
6. This Man has a Presentation in 10 Minutes
We can debate the authenticity of this meltdown all day – some on YouTube already are – but as far as we know, it’s the real deal, and many of the customers in the coffee house where it all went down seemed to think so as well. Some have noted that the police arrived too quickly, but between the time the cops arrive and the point where the YouTube poster catches them on video, there is a pretty clear stoppage in the recording. We don’t know how much time elapsed from that point to the time filming resumed. Real or not, this is epic, hilarious, and we can completely relate.
7. The Tech Press: Screw Them All
Michael Arrington wrote the above title on a reaction to criticism he was receiving from around the tech press for actively investing in some of the companies he was covering. In launching a counterattack against some of his adversaries, Arrington had this to say:
“[Kara] Swisher [of AllThingsD] doesn’t get to complain about my investment policy when she is married to a Google executive, and when we can’t figure out whether or not one of her writers owns Facebook stock through her husband. And don’t even get me started on the time her employer, the WSJ, killed a story that was critical of its sister company MySpace, and then denied it. [Tom] Foremski [of ZDNet] doesn’t get to tell me my policy is unethical when he has financial conflicts all over the place and seems unconcerned with proper disclosure and transparency. And major media doesn’t get to preach to me about their ethics policies when they kill stories because their editor wants to keep Arianna Huffington squirming.”
Arrington continued: “Before I started TechCrunch I never understood how screwed up this whole news world was. It’s ugly as hell out there, people. These people, the tech press, just disgust me.”
8. Navy Blasts Its Own Ship
On November 16, 2013, the USS Chancellorsville was accidentally struck by a target drone during a training exercise, resulting in damage to the ship and the injuries of two sailors. The mishap was noted in an official press release, though as Medium points out, it left out a crucial detail that should terrify most Americans.
“The detail is that a Phalanx point-defense gun aboard Chancellorsville tried to shoot down the apparently malfunctioning BQM-74 target drone-and missed,” Medium noted. “The 270-pound drone, built by Northrop Grumman, is essentially an anti-ship cruise missile without a warhead. If the Navy can’t shoot down a BQM-74, it could be equally likely to miss a real cruise missile with a live warhead during some future shooting war with, say, China.”
9. Apple Store Outburst
On June 21, 2013, recording artist and TV host Porsche Coleman happened upon this customer outburst in the middle of an Apple Store. The Vine video went viral, which is pretty impressive considering this customer only had six seconds to make her mark on the Internet. While the words are a simple, “I was told by AppleCare that I could walk in the store and get some parts,” this young lady proves it’s not necessarily about what you say as much as it is how you say it.
10. Modern Warfare 3 Freakout
This video shows a gamers combination of frustration and enthusiasm for Modern Warfare 3 and a woe-is-me whininess whenever something doesn’t go his way. It culminates in a pretty funny payoff (listen for what sounds like a younger brother laughing as he records it).
11. Ashlynn Hobbs Wants Her IPad
The behavior of little Ashlynn Hobbs, taken viral thanks to People Magazine, will probably make you think twice about giving your two-year-old an iPad. Ashlynn has a meltdown when she is sent to bed without her tablet. The parents eventually cave, but that only seems to partially console the youngster.
12. WGN Morning News – No Audio
What’s a morning show to do when the audio goes out in the studio? First, you try about 10 minutes of commercials and hope you can get it fixed before the audience gets frustrated and goes away. If that doesn’t work, you come back from break and leave it to your broadcast team’s sense of humor. In WGN’s case, that paid off as the anchors created a number of cue cards to make the best of the situation. Mission accomplished!
13. Amanda Bynes On Twitter
Over the last couple of years, actress Amanda Bynes’ Twitter feed has been the home of some cringe worthy outbursts. Probably the most heinous was directed at singer Rihanna, who was the victim of then-boyfriend Chris Brown in a brutal domestic abuse case.
Bynes actually told Rihanna, “Chris brown [sic] beat you because you’re not pretty enough.” As Bynes continued to act out on the social media platform, the chaos spilled out into her normal life.
She was eventually admitted for psychiatric care and released to the conservatorship of her parents. Thankfully, recent reports have found her doing much better as she continues to recover from mental health treatment.
14. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer
Those who know former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer personally would agree that he could probably make up a whole list of tech meltdowns by himself. For example, Techworld shares this story of Ballmer, who when told by employee Mark Lucovsky that he would be defecting to Google, threw a chair across the room and shouted, about Google’s Eric Schmidt: “I’m going to [bleep]ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I’m going to [bleep]ing kill Google.” Ballmer also said (in 2004) that “Google’s not a real company. It’s a house of cards.” However, our favorite example of Ballmer losing it would have to be in this video.
15. Yep, Ballmer Again
Microsoft, please put this man in charge of all your shareholder meetings and PR appearances. Sure, the company lost billions on acquisitions and Surface under his leadership, and it’s true that Microsoft stock recovered upon his announcement that he was stepping down, but “developers, developers, developers, developers” is a line in this video we just can’t hear enough!
At Intertech we’ve been known to get a little excited ourselves but NOTHING like these examples. Which of these 15 Epic Tech Meltdowns did you think was the most shocking? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.